He won’t try to be something he’s not.
First-year University of New Mexico men’s basketball coach Paul Weir says there is a simple approach he’s taking to forge an identity for his team and get fans back into the Pit. That’s after average home attendance dropped out of the top 25 nationally this past season for the first time in a half century.
“I’m just a regular guy,” Weir said Thursday at a state-of-the-program style press conference called by UNM. “At the end of the day, I really want our team to feel that way. The city of Albuquerque is our team.”
And how does Weir go about getting those fans around Albuquerque to feel as much a part of the Lobos as they once did when the Pit was selling out game after game?
“We have to make sure we’re connecting and resonating with them,” Weir said. “This really isn’t just about the suite holders. This really isn’t just about the people that give a lot of money. We need them. I’m very thankful for them. But that’s not Albuquerque, and that’s not UNM.
“We’ve got to make sure that our brand and our team resonates with those people. We’re blue collar. We’re going to work our butts off. We’re going to give it every single thing we’ve got. … The last thing I want is for our team or our program to be thought of as entitled or better than anything or anyone. We’ve just got to put our boots on and go to work every day.”
ANOTHER TRANSFER: Aher Uguak, a 6-foot-7 freshman wing from Edmonton, Alberta, announced Thursday he is transferring from UNM.
He played in 19 games last season, starting two, and averaged 1.2 points, 0.7 rebounds and 7.4 minutes per game.
On Twitter, he thanked fans and former coach Craig Neal for giving him a chance to play at a Division I level. He did not say where he might transfer.
Weir said Uguak told him late Wednesday. He is the fourth Lobo from the 2016-17 roster to transfer from the program this offseason, joining Elijah Brown (Oregon), Jalen Harris (Arkansas) and Xavier Adams (Division II Pittsburg, Kan., State).
Weir also said the roster is “still in a state of flux, as you can see.” While he had hoped to have the roster set by June 5, he now says there are still discussions about roles and decisions being made. Other players might still decide to transfer, he acknowledged.
UNM now has two open scholarships.
NEW COACH: Jerome Robinson rounds out the Lobos’ coaching staff. He was officially announced Thursday as the last assistant coach on Weir’s staff.
Robinson said he is excited to be at UNM and “really likes the vision” Weir has for coaching and for the program.
Robinson, like Weir a Toronto native, last coached at St. Bonaventure and has also worked at Eastern Michigan after a professional career overseas.
He played collegiately at Bradley (1998-2001), where he was recruited by former UNM and current UCLA assistant Duane Broussard. Robinson was the 2001 Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an all-league first-team selection.
SEASON TICKETS: While the schedule isn’t yet set, season tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.online at UNMTickets.com, at the UNM ticket office or by calling 925-LOBO. All past season tickets will be reserved through the July renewal deadline.
Most prices will remain the same as last season, though some sections near the concourse will drop. Full pricing can be viewed online Monday.
The lowest-priced single-game tickets for most games this season will be $15 for adults and $10 for children, though the Dec. 16 Arizona game is considered a premium game and cost an additional $5 per ticket.
OH, CANADA: If Weir, Robinson and Uguak didn’t provide enough for your fill of Canadian news Thursday, the Lobos head coach added another nugget.
Weir has been invited to spend time working this summer working with the Canadian junior national team. He said it won’t so much time that it cuts into his obligations with the Lobos.
College coaches across the country often work with national teams, something considered by many to be a recruiting advantage.
CAMPING: Like classes for the players, Lobo basketball camps for kids across the state start next week at UNM.
Run by current and former Lobo players and current staff members, the individual skills camps for boys in grades 1 through 8 have sessions running Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. or a package for all-day sessions. There are about 200 signed up so far for those camps, according to Director of Operations Ryan Berryman.
Weir said there is a record-high number of teams (75) already signed up for the team camp, which will have games in the Pit, Davalos practice center and Johnson Gym from June 15-18.
An “elite” camp for boys grades 9-12 runs June 9-10.
Sign up for all camps is still open at www.CoachPaulWeir.com. You can also call (505) 925-5750.