ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Craig Neal has coached just one game for the Lobos.
Today, he’s expected to land letters of intent for his fourth and fifth recruits as head coach.
Prep seniors Xavier Adams of Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus High School and Joe Furstinger of Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic School told the Journal on Tuesday they plan to sign and fax to UNM their letters of intent early today, the first day of the early signing period for Class of 2014 recruits.
Both players are rated by several recruiting services as three-star prospects.
“I just love New Mexico,” Adams told the Journal in an October interview when he attended the Lobo Howl along with UNM’s Class of 2015 verbal commit Dane Kuiper of Arizona and then-recruit Zylan Cheatham of Arizona, who has since committed to play for San Diego State.
“New Mexico was the first place that believed in me, showed that they believe in me,” Adams added. “All the other schools, the bigger schools (hesitated), but New Mexico believed in me early, so any of them that come after me now after I’ve already committed. Sorry, but I’m a Lobo now.”
UNM coaches are not allowed to comment on specific recruits until receiving a signed copy of their letter of intent.
Adams, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 21.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game last season for Alvarado (Texas) High, transferred this past offseason to Marcus, the same high school as current Lobo sophomore forward Nick Banyard. Adams and Marcus play their first game of the season Friday night.
Adams gave UNM his verbal commitment last January when on an official recruiting visit.
Furstinger is a 6-9, 210-pound forward who gave his verbal commitment to Neal and his staff while on an official recruiting visit Oct. 6.
“I really liked the facilities, the players and they were my favorite coaches recruiting me,” Furstinger told the Journal on Tuesday night. “It was the right place.”
Furstinger’s high school coach is former UNM player Jeff Reinert (1980-82), although the senior post player said that had nothing to do with his decision. His senior season begins Dec. 7.
Furstinger describes himself as “a face-up four, probably best on defense right now, and I get a lot of rebounds.”
Last month, Fox Sports and Scout.com recruiting analyst Josh Gershon told the Journal of Furstinger: “He should end up being able to defend either post spot at the next level, and you could make the argument that he’s more of a four (power forward). But I think at the end of the day athletically he’s probably best defending the opposing five (center).”
Furstinger, who averaged 16.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game last year, said he thinks he’s about done growing at 6-9.
Unlike Adams, Furstinger has not attended a Lobo basketball game or the Lobo Howl, but hopes to attend UNM’s March game at San Diego State.
Craig Neal locked up Class of 2013 recruits Cullen Neal, his son, and junior college transfers Deshawn Delaney and Arthur Edwards last spring. (Freshmen Tim Myles and Obij Aget were already signed to play for UNM when Craig Neal was hired.)
UNM has already received verbal commitments from two Class of 2015 players in shooting guard Dane Kuiper of Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol and point guard Jordan Hunter of Beaumont (Texas) Ozen High School.
NCAA allows 13 scholarships per season for Division I men’s programs. UNM has two seniors on this season’s team in Kendall Williams and Cameron Bairstow. Three juniors who will be seniors next season include Hugh Greenwood, Alex Kirk and Delaney.