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Lobo men’s players MacDougall, Simmons to transfer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico men’s basketball players Connor MacDougall, a senior, and junior Jachai Simmons will transfer from UNM prior to next season, the program announced Tuesday. Both have been granted release by head coach Paul Weir.

MacDougall sat out this past season after suffering an ankle and foot injury in the Lobos’ exhibition game against BYU on Oct. 27. He ultimately decided to take a redshirt season instead of playing a partial season by returning late for the Lobos.

MacDougall will receive a degree at the end of the semester and can play elsewhere next season as a graduate transfer.

“We wish nothing but the best in the next chapter of Connor’s journey,” Weir said in a statement provided by the school. “His graduation from The University of New Mexico is an amazing accomplishment and I hope it is just the beginning of a terrific future ahead.”

MacDougall, 6-foot-9 and from Tempe, Ariz., competed for the Lobos in just one season, 2016-17, in which he appeared in 27 games averaging 4.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. He had come to UNM from South Mountain Community College after one season (2014-15) and six games at Arizona State.

Simmons, 6-7 and from Plainfield, N.J., had come from Midland (Texas) College to UNM after originally signing with New Mexico State when Weir was the coach there. He will have one year of eligibility remaining.

Simmons appeared in 25 games this past season, starting in 10, and averaged 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. His father passed away in February, and after Weir said Simmons and the team were “still kind of working through some things,” Simmons sat out the final six games of the season.

“Jachai has had a challenging past few months,” Weir said in the UNM statement. “We both agreed a fresh start would be in his best interests and we will support him every which way we can in that endeavor.”

UNM is not saying how the departure of those two will impact the program’s scholarship numbers. But Tuesday’s announcement means five players are leaving and are vacating scholarships, and those five scholarships are spoken for — three players have signed, one is committed but unsigned (6-10 Isaiah Maurice, formerly of Kansas State), and one (Kansas transfer Carlton Bragg) is enrolled but not yet on scholarship.