ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team appears to have wrapped up its 2014 recruiting class, landing Butler transfer Elijah Brown.
The 6-foot-4 guard announced Saturday evening he would play for the Lobos. Brown was concluding a recruiting visit to UNM with his father, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown.
On his Twitter account, Brown wrote: “I appreciate all of the schools that showed interest in me in this process but I’m PROUD to say that I’ll finish my career up as a LOBO!”
Brown will have to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules then will have three seasons of playing eligibility remaining.
He averaged 6.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game coming off the bench this past season at Butler, where he was the Bulldogs’ fourth-leading scorer and shot a team-best 85.4 percent from the free-throw line. Brown was considered a key part of the program’s future, but said he wanted to pursue other options. Brown had season highs of 19 points and four 3-pointers made against then-No. 11 Villanova on Dec. 31. He also scored 15 points against then-No. 5 Oklahoma State on Nov. 29.
He played high school basketball at California prep powerhouse Mater Dei High School.
He and sophomore-to-be Lobo Cullen Neal once planned on being roommates together at St. Mary’s when both were being recruited there in high school, but both took different paths. Mike Brown and Lobos head coach Craig Neal have known each other for years and are close.
UNM lost seven players (six on scholarship) from its 2013-14 roster: Cameron Bairstow, Kendall Williams and Chris Perez (walk-on) to exhausted eligibility; Alex Kirk, who left with a season of eligibility remaining to pursue an NBA career; and Cleveland “Pancake” Thomas, Nick Banyard and Tim Myles to transfers.
Elijah Brown would make the sixth scholarship player to join the 2014 Lobos recruiting class to go along with preferred walk-on Tim Jacobs, a point guard from Cochise College in Arizona who led the Oñate Knights to the 2011 New Mexico Class 5A state basketball championship.
The Lobos have also locked up for the 2014-15 season high school seniors Xavier Adams, a 6-5 guard from Flower Mound, Texas, and Joe Furstinger, a 6-8 forward from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; junior college All-American Jordan Goodman, a 6-9 small forward from Harcum College in Pennsylvania; J.J. N’Ganga, a 6-10 center from Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa junior college; and Monday signed 6-9 New Zealand power forward Tohi Smith-Milner.