New Lobo Hosey adjusts to mile-high elevation, expectations

First-year Lobo Jordan Hosey appreciates being able to explore the number of ways she can contribute to the UNM team in her senior year. As a Texas Longhorn, she had more of a “robot role.” ( Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Jordan Hosey is setting her sights on a breakout season with the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team.

Fears of a breakdown season are starting to fade.

Hosey, a 6-foot-1 senior forward who recently joined the Lobos as a transfer from Texas, said the transition has been tougher than expected. She is eligible to play right away after sitting out last season, but the time off came at a price.

“My first few days here it was bad,” Hosey said. “I couldn’t breathe at practice and I was asking, ‘What did I sign myself up for?’ Between the altitude and being out of shape, man, it was rough.”

Hosey sought out athletic trainer Andrea Quintana for reassurance.

“Dre told me it was normal and I’d get used to the altitude,” Hosey said. “It didn’t feel normal to me.”

Some six weeks later, Hosey is finally starting to feel like the standout basketball player she’s long been. She is making her presence felt at practice, and Lobos coach Mike Bradbury is confident that trend will continue into the season.

“Jordan was rusty when she got here,” Bradbury said, “but she’s just getting better and better now. You can see why she was one of the top high school recruits in the country. She’s the whole package.”

Hosey attracted plenty of attention at Texas’ Manvel High, where she helped her team to a Class 6A state title and was ranked as ESPN.com’s No. 16 overall recruit in 2015. She played in the McDonald’s All-American Game, was a WBCA All-American and finished as a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy.

Among the slew of schools that recruited Hosey was traditional powerhouse Texas, and she opted to in-state and play with the Longhorns. Hosey enjoyed her time in Austin and was part of some outstanding teams, but she wasn’t satisfied with she saw as a limited role. She averaged 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game as a junior in 2017-18 – numbers similar to those she posted during the previous two seasons.

Lobo Jordan Hosey, left, defends practice player Rafael Hidalgo during a recent UNM women’s basketball practice. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Neither Hosey nor Bradbury choose to predict what her statistics could look like this season, but there are reasons for optimism.

Hosey is one of three former Big 12 players on this season’s UNM roster, joiniing point guard Aisia Robertson (Kansas) and post Bride Kennedy-Hopoate (Iowa State). Robertson averaged 4.4 points in roughly 15 minutes per game as a sophomore with the Jayhawks – then blossomed into an All-Mountain West performer in her first season with the Lobos last season.

Whether Hosey or Kennedy-Hopoate can post similar breakthroughs remains to be seen, but Hosey is eager to find out.

“There’s a different mindset here,” she said. “(Bradbury) allows us to play to our ability. Everyone can score and will score; there’s no block on what you can do. I’m not used to that. (At Texas) it was a little more of a robot role for some people.”

Hosey was seen primarily as a defensive stopper and rebounder coming off the bench as a power forward for Texas. She figures to get more scoring opportunities at UNM and will likely play more than one position.

“She’ll probably play at the 4 (forward) and the 5 (center),” Bradbury said. “It’ll depend on matchups, but Jordan’s strong and athletic enough to handle either one.”

Hosey smiled when asked about playing center.

“I haven’t done it since high school,” she said, “but I’ll play wherever the coaches want me. I’ll figure it out.”

For the moment, Hosey, who spent last year working at a Houston-area elementray school, admits she’s still getting acclimated to New Mexico and learning UNM’s system.

“It’s a little frustrating at times because I feel like as a senior I should know everything,” Hosey said. “Instead it’s kind of like being a freshman again, which is good and bad.”

The bad was evident after practice last week when Hosey had to run extra sprints for missing assignments during five-on-five drills. The good, Hosey said, is a growing comfort level with UNM’s program and its players.

“Everyone’s been caring easy to talk to,” she said. “When I’ve had questions, other players have been really helpful. I feel like this team has a mentality to just win and I’m excited to help with that.”

Hosey says she’s also still getting used to Albuquerque, a place she’d never seen until last spring’s campus visit.

“I love the mountains and I can’t wait to experience the fans here,” Hosey said. “Not a lot of green grass around here, though. It’s a big change for me but so far I’m loving it – even though I’m still acclimating.”

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