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Lobos work to keep social media from dividing team

Paul Weir deleted his social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook before the season began.

The way things have gone for the Lobos, maybe that wasn’t a bad idea.

But his players did not follow suit. And with those struggles for the Lobos (10-13, 4-7 Mountain West), the inevitable “noise” that comes from social media has been growing louder and louder around the program.

It was a theme asked about at a Monday press conference with Weir and also discussed by the coach with players after a two-hour practice on Bob King Court.

“Unfortunately I’m numb to a lot of it because I really don’t know or pay attention,” Weir told reporters. “And that might be a weakness. Maybe I should do more and get into more. I talk to them all the time about blocking those things out. … Maybe I need to get into more of that to learn how to get them to turn it off or view it in a different way.”

The growing social media discourse of late has seen an increased number of Lobo fans and friends or family of players not only exchanging in the dialogue, but often openly comparing players performances, which at times pits them against each other.

And while fans telling players they are better than their coach allows them to be on the court is not new — it happened plenty to Craig Neal and more than a few Lobo fans do it now telling players the struggles aren’t their fault, but their coach’s — the mixed messages players at the college level now receive is something that is a growing concern for coaches.

But it isn’t something that is isolated to basketball, Weir emphasized.

“I think that’s where not just maybe our basketball program is going, but just where society is going in general,” Weir said. “I think it’s becoming very angry or polarizing the way we discuss our sports teams, our politics, our social issues, our religions. Whatever it may be, it’s obviously come that way and I think this basketball team is inevitably going to be a byproduct of that as well.”

Weir said he doesn’t think the outside noise has yet led to problems in the locker room, but he and his staff are aware of this being a growing issue in the game.

And Weir also admitted that, even without social media, this has been a learning experience season for him in terms of the amount of parental interaction he’s had with this year’s team.

“I will say it’s been a unique year for parents,” Weir said. “It’s been a very unique year for me as far as just my own dealing with some of them. And that’s something probably I have to adjust to as well. I was probably parented a little bit differently and maybe earlier in my career had different types of relationships with parents that are a little different now. I’ll continue to work through those as best I can and be the best coach I can be of this basketball team and coach I can towards the young men and their parents at the same time.”

MATHIS OUT (OF PRACTICE): UNM’s leading scorer, senior shooting guard Anthony Mathis, missed his second consecutive practice on Monday with a bruised tailbone. He suffered the injury last week, but played against both San Diego State and Nevada. Weir said he’s been told by the team trainer that it’s not an injury that will get worse if Mathis plays, but Weir still feels it’s best to give the senior rest after watching him appear to play stiffer than normal in the past week.

“His status long term is fine,” Weir said. “Short term, over the next week or so, is something I’m going to have to monitor. … I think we can all see as he’s out there he just doesn’t look the way we want him to.”

It is unclear if he will play in Wednesday’s game against San Jose State.

MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Nevada senior wing Jordan Caroline on Monday was named MWC Player of the Week for the fourth time this season and seventh in his career. He had 40 points (30 in the first half alone) in last week’s win at Colorado State and then had 13 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday’s win over UNM.

The Wolf Pack on Monday actually dropped from No. 6 to No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings despite the two wins.

1,000 POINT CLUB: In Monday’s weekly notebook sent out by the Mountain West, it noted Nevada having seven players with 1,000 career points scored at the Division I level being more than twice as many as any other team in the country (other teams have three). As previously noted in an online column on ABQJournal.com, the Lobos don’t have one player at 1,000 points. In fact, two of the three closest, aren’t even playing this season.

• 872 points – Mathis

• 815 points – Zane Martin (sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules after scoring 815 points in two seasons at Towson)

• 743 points – JaQuan Lyle (sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules and is out this season with a ruptured Achilles, but scored all 743 of his points in two seasons at Ohio State).

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