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Lobo starters Carlton Bragg, J.J. Caldwell suspended

The UNM Lobos have suspended senior starter and team captain Carlton Bragg Jr. and junior starting point guard J.J. Caldwell indefinitely.

The university confirmed the Journal’s initial report of the suspensions prior to Sunday’s game against Houston Baptist, but would not say why or for how long the suspensions will last. The Journal has confirmed the suspensions are not related to one another.

“Carlton Bragg and JJ Caldwell will not participate in today’s game versus Houston Baptist,” UNM released in an email prior to the game. “They are being withheld from competition and team activity until further notice. The athletic department has received information that requires further review. In the meantime, there will be no additional comments from anyone at UNM until that process is complete.”

Neither were in the arena for the game and were not made available for comment but are, as of Sunday, still considered on the team.

After the game, UNM head coach Paul Weir said he would let the school’s statement stand and he would comment further.

“Honestly I will probably refer all questions to Eddie,” Weir said. “Eddie is in charge of this right now. I’m the basketball coach I’m gonna coach the guys that I have and I’ll pretty much forward everything directly to him. And you guys know I’ve always been a very forthcoming, transparent person. If that moment presents itself, I have no problem commenting but at this very moment I am going to refuse to comment.”

He also did not comment when asked about his recruiting approach to giving so many transfers with troubled pasts at previous schools a second chance to play at UNM.

The Lobos had used just one starting lineup all season prior to Sunday. Zane Martin and Corey Manigault starting in place of Caldwell at point guard and Bragg at forward, respectively.

Bragg is a team captain along with fellow senior, and roommate, JaQuan Lyle, and is the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week. The 6-foot-10 former McDonald’s All-American from Cleveland started his career at Kansas and has played 37 games at UNM since being cleared by the NCAA 13 months ago.

This season, the 6-foot-10 power forward through 13 games is averaging 13.5 points per game, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 55.0% from the floor and a team-best 81.5% from the free throw line.

Caldwell through 13 games is averaging 5.8 points per game and led the Mountain West Conference in assists (5.7 per game) and steals (2.2 per game).

Caldwell, a 6-1 junior point guard from Houston, started his college career redshirting at Texas A&M for the 2016-17 season after the NCAA ruled he was academically ineligible to play. In the 2017-18 season, he played 16 games before being dismissed for a violation of team rules.

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