ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — While the New Mexico men’s basketball team still awaits a decision from recruit Jarion Henry, it is not putting all its eggs into one basket this Easter season.
On Monday, former Utah coach Jim Boylen confirmed that UNM is one of the schools Ute freshman standout J.J. O’Brien is considering.
Boylen, who was fired after this past season, said O’Brien has received his release from Utah so that he can consider transferring and UNM is pursuing the 6-foot-7 guard/wing.
“He’s a big-time player and a big-time kid,” Boylen told the Journal on Monday. “He’s got such great versatility, he will be an asset to any program he attends. And he’s also a great student.”
The Journal has learned Baylor, UNLV and St. Mary’s are also among the top schools that O’Brien is considering. O’Brien has also stated that he is considering staying at Utah, under new coach Larry Krystkowiak.
O’Brien averaged 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds a game last season. He was injured most of the nonconference season, but came on strong during Mountain West Conference play — including having an 18-point, 10-rebound performance in the first of the Utes’ two wins against New Mexico.
Utah finished 13-18 overall and 6-10 in league play, and Boylen was fired after four years as Ute coach.
Like Lobo freshman guard Kendall Williams, O’Brien is from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The two young MWC stars and friends played on the same AAU team.
By rule, a player cannot transfer from one MWC school to another without having to sit out two seasons. But since the Utes leave the Mountain West for the soon-to-be Pac-12 Conference next season, Boylen said it is possible for O’Brien to be granted a waiver to make the move and have to sit out just one season.
The Lobos, meanwhile, continue to wait on word from Henry, a 6-9 forward from Dallas.
Henry took an official recruiting trip to New Mexico the weekend of April 10-11, and said on his Twitter account on April 10 that he would sign a national letter of intent on April 13, the first day of the spring signing period. But Henry did not sign.
Georgetown is also recruiting Henry. On Monday, the Journal asked Henry — via text message — if he was taking a recruiting trip to Georgetown this weekend. Henry’s only response was “Who this? All my numbers got deleted.”
When informed who it was, Henry did not say if he was making a visit to Georgetown.
The spring signing period lasts until May 18, and the Lobos still have at least one scholarship to fill, depending on if any current players leave the program or do not have their scholarships renewed next season.
On Monday, Henry was questioned, on his Twitter account, about where he was signing. He he wouldn’t say.
He tweeted that “Im gods Gift to the Game,” and added that he will announce his decision on Sunday on a national Internet website, and that he will sign next Monday.
He also tweeted “I Want that NBA Life Style Soon.”
Photo Credit – jim urquhart/the associated press
Cutline – Utah freshman J.J. O’Brien is considering a transfer to UNM. He was a former AAU teammate of Lobo Kendall Williams.