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Women’s basketball: Recruits make good impression at UNM

Officially it was just another September weekend for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team.

When all is said and done, it could be one to remember.

The Lobos hosted a pair of high school senior recruits — Alaskan guard Chasity Horn and Texan post Nevaeh Parkinson — for official campus visits. By the time they left Albuquerque, the vibe around the Davalos Center was decidedly upbeat.

Horn is a high-scoring 5-foot-7 combo guard at Chugiak High School in Eagle River, Alaska. She averaged 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 steals last season and was a first-team All-State selection.

Parkinson is a 6-3 forward/center at John Paul II High School in the Dallas area. She helped Parish Episcopal High to a Class 6A private/parochial school state title in 2017-18 before transferring to John Paul II for her junior season. Parkinson also plays club basketball for highly regarded DFW Elite, which posted a photo Monday of Parkinson posing with UNM players during her weekend visit.

Neither recruit had publicly announced a verbal commitment on social media as of Monday, and NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting on unsigned players. Lobo coach Mike Bradbury confirmed UNM is recruiting Horn and Parkinson but had nothing further to add Monday.

Still, Bradbury and one of his assistants, Symone Denham, put up positive-if-cryptic Twitter posts over the weekend.

“BOOM 2 times. Great Weekend. Have a great day Lobo fans,” Bradbury posted Sunday.

Denham’s post featured a GIF with the flashing word, “Yes!”

In Horn’s case, New Mexico holds a significant recruiting chip. Lobo freshman post Azaria Robinson, also from Anchorage, is one of Horn’s best friends. Horn conceded that Robinson played a role in convincing her to visit Albuquerque.

“(Robinson) said she loved it here,” Horn said during her visit. “At first I didn’t believe her. I thought she just wanted me to come join her so she could have more fun. Now that I’m here, though, I see what she means. I’ve never been anywhere like this. It’s beautiful.”

Horn and Robinson were AAU teammates with Alaska Stars, allowing UNM’s coaches to recruit them simultaneously. They often squared off on high school courts, however, as Chugiak and Robinson’s West High School were among the state’s top contenders.

“We came up against each other three, four times every year,” Horn said with a smile, “and we got pretty tired of seeing each other. We play different positions but I’d purposely go down and guard her whenever I could. There was definitely some talk going on.”

Horn described herself as a scorer who is adept shooting from 3-point range but prefers to attack the basket. In addition to Robinson’s influence, she found UNM intriguing because of the coaching staff, the fan base and because, “a hot place is where I want to be.”

If they choose to make it official, Horn and Parkinson would be UNM’s first commitments for 2020-21. The Lobos hosted posts Abby Muse and Elodie Lalotte in late August, but Muse announced her commitment to Boise State via Twitter over the weekend. Lalotte had not announced a commitment as of Monday.

New Mexico has 14 players on its current roster including four seniors (Aisia Robertson, Najala Howell, Bride Kennedy-Hopoate and Jordan Hosey). Bradbury said he hopes to sign four to five freshmen for next season.

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