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Carlton Bragg assures Lobo fans he’s staying put

Carlton Bragg took to social media on Monday to say he isn’t going anywhere and will play for UNM this upcoming season. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Like many of his teammates did shortly after the season ended one month ago in Las Vegas, Nev., University of New Mexico Lobo power forward Carlton Bragg on Monday took to social media to announce he’s not going anywhere.

While he hadn’t entered the NCAA’s transfer portal or declared he wanted to test the NBA Draft waters as teammate Vance Jackson said he will do, Bragg still seemed to make the social media portion of the Lobo fanbase happy with his posts, which included one post on Twitter that was an attached image of him holding a basketball in a Lobos uniform with the accompanying text:

“I would like to thank God for blessing me with a gift. That gift has given me an opportunity to play basketball on the collegiate level for the past 3 years. The University of New Mexico is a great school that prides itself on academics & supports the student-athletes to the fullest. The city of Albuquerque has embraced me with open arms! And after careful consideration I have decided to stay in school, graduate, and finish what I started. I’m excited to get back in the gym with my teammates and coaches and win the MW! #GoLobos. #Bmase”

Bragg, the 6-foot-9 former McDonald’s All-American from Ohio who started his college career playing two seasons at Kansas, averaged 10.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots in 24 games played this past season for the Lobos, who finished 14-18 overall, 7-11 in the Mountain West Conference and earned a No. 7 seed in the league tournament, where UNM won its play-in game against Wyoming before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Utah State.

Bragg’s best statistical game came March 9 in a loss at Wyoming when he had 22 points, 21 rebounds and three steals.

Despite many Lobo fans publicly discussing on social media in February and March their opinion that the roster would likely feature plenty of transfers, thus far the team has no player who has requested a transfer from UNM, which actually may need one or two to move on as the team has recruited as though players would do so, as has become the norm for all Division I programs in the past decade.

UNM has three scholarships opening up with the departures of seniors Anthony Mathis and Dane Kuiper and with the early January departure of Karim Ezzeddine, who quit the team to play professionally overseas.

UNM has commitments or signed letters of intents for the coming season from four players – two transfer guards in J.J. Caldwell (Texas A&M) and Vante Hendrix (Utah) and two high school players in guard Daniel Headings (Wasilla, Alaska) and wing Emmanuel Andrew Kuac (Kearns, Utah).

That would put UNM at 14 scholarship players, one over the NCAA limit, unless one player joins as a walk-on or another scholarship opens up.

Jackson is testing the NBA waters, but doesn’t appear on any mock drafts and is fully expected to return to UNM.

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