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Hoops notebook: Kory Alford notches first win; Greenwood back to basketball?

Kory Alford, the La Cueva High School graduate and son of former Lobos coach Steve Alford, won his first game as a college head coach on Wednesday night, guiding NAIA Huntington University to a 65-63 win over Governors State University in a game played in Huntington, Ind. (Courtesy Huntington Athletics)

Both dad and grandfather — Steve and Sam, respectively — are in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame with more than a few coaching victories through the years under their belts.

But, as of Wednesday night, a new name sits atop the Alford Family Coaching Tree standings for best coaching win percentage.

Kory Alford.

The 27-year-old La Cueva High graduate, former UNM Lobo and UCLA walk-on and new head coach of NAIA Huntington (Ind.) University’s men’s basketball team, led the Foresters to a season-opening 65-63 win on Wednesday night over the visiting Governors State University Jaguars.

The Foresters are 1-0.

“I should retire now,” Kory Alford joked in a text exchange with the Journal.

The reality is, the coaching journey is just beginning for Kory Alford. He said his wife, Eldorado High graduate Haley Alford (formerly Tricarico), and his grandparents were able to be inside Platt Arena for the game while many others watched the online stream on Huntington University’s YouTube channel, which will stream home games all season.

“Unbelievable how many people reached out,” Kory Alford said when asked how many people sent him text messages after the game. “Great to hear from a lot of former teammates.”

One interested onlooker from his home in Arizona said he saw something very familiar on the court Wednesday night.

“I thought they missed a lot of lay ups and made a lot of threes. Very Kory-esque,” said younger brother Bryce Alford in a text to the Journal.

The Foresters on Wednesday attempted more 3-pointers (30) than 2-pointers (26), something that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for those who know Kory’s approach to the game in the past several years on the coaching staffs at UCLA and Nevada with his dad. 

Kory Alford described himself in a Journal article in April when he landed the job at Huntington “very data driven” his team would be one “that shoots quite a few 3s, I can guarantee that much.”

BACK TO HOOPS? Former Lobo Hugh Greenwood, who has played professional Australian Rules Football since his basketball days ended at UNM, is heading back to the hardwood. Sort of.

The Gold Coast Suns star has been getting some offseason hoops work in with the Brisbane Bullets over the past couple of weeks, the NBL’s web site reported Wednesday.

“It’s been a nice change-up, so I appreciate the Bullets for letting me drive up the highway and having a run-around,” Greenwood said in a video interview posed on social media.

“It’s been good, it’s been a bit of a reality check, Greenwood said. “It’s been a few years since I’ve dribbled a basketball, but it’s been good, and it’s been fun.”

Don’t worry, Suns fans, Greenwood doesn’t plan on leaving “footy” anytime soon, but might be interested in basketball coaching one day.

Before his UNM days, was a star with Australia’s junior national basketball program, but returned to “footy” and has been successful in that endeavor with the Adelaide Crows and now the Suns.

Ironically, Greenwood’s name also popped up on Monday when new UNM Lobos Special Assistant to the Head Coach Dave Pilipovich, the former head coach at Air Force, was talking to local media. Pilipovich recounted his memories of some of the best Lobo players he remembers facing. Greenwood was one name that came up.

“I’m a fan of his,” Pilipovich said. “Just how hard he played and what a great leader he was on the floor.”

AGGIES UPDATE 1: The New Mexico State Aggies this week announced the hiring of Rian Stubbs as special assistant to the head coach. Stubbs spent four seasons at Lamar (Colo.) Community College, the past three as head coach.

He played in college at Clarendon (Texas) College and at Hardin-Simmons in Abilene, Texas.

AGGIES UPDATE 2: Out of 118 COVID-19 tests administered to NMSU Aggie men’s basketball players since Aug. 23, there has been one positive result for a 0.8% positivity rate in that sample.

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