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Lobos Pitch In For Ex-Player

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fundraiser will help with expenses related to the death of Emmanuel Negedu’s father

Emmanuel Negedu wanted nothing more than to provide a better life for his family when he came to the United States at the age of 15 to pursue a career in basketball.

Even when the always-smiling 23-year-old from Kaduna, Nigeria, saw his basketball career cut short 10 games into the 2010-11 season because of a heart condition, he decided to remain enrolled at UNM to get a degree and a job that could help him send money back to his mother, father and six siblings in his home country.


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“Everything I do is to help my family out because my family doesn’t have anything,” Negedu, who is on pace to earn a degree in communications this spring, told the Journal in October.

Negedu, who hasn’t been home to see his family since the summer of 2011, learned prior to last week’s exhibition game against Victory University that his father died after a long illness. Negedu will not be able to travel home for the funeral.

Now the Lobo basketball family Negedu embraced the past two years (the NCAA allowed him to remain on academic scholarship despite not being able to continue playing) is being asked to help Negedu out.

UNM will hold a fundraiser – approved by the NCAA – at the team’s Nov. 12 season opener against Davidson to help the Negedu family with burial expenses and other costs related to the death of Negedu’s father.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Emmanuel and family as they go through this difficult time,” UNM head coach Steve Alford said. “I ask all Lobo fans, if they can, to donate what they can to help Emmanuel’s family help defray the funeral and medical expenses. This is difficult situation for Emmanuel being so far away from home.”

Donations will be accepted at the Lobo Ticket Office in the northeast corner of the Pit during the Davidson game, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. The game tips off at 11:59 p.m.

Those not going to the game can donate at the Lobo Ticket Office during business hours Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

MIDNIGHT NO-SHOWS: With the regular-season opener tipping off Monday about midnight, and likely ending around 2 a.m., UNM officials are well aware many of their roughly 11,000 season-ticket holders won’t be attending the game.

Still, UNM officials are hoping to fill the Pit and are asking anyone with tickets who won’t be attending to give those tickets to someone who can or turn them in to the Lobo Ticket office by 5 p.m. Friday. Those tickets will be dispersed to people who can attend the game. Fans are asked to wear red.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: No. 18 UNLV, one of the two Mountain West Conference teams ranked in the preseason AP and USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls, held a private scrimmage Saturday against UCLA. Fans and media were not allowed, and an official score wasn’t kept. Still, reports indicate UCLA beat the Rebels by double figures and UNLV head coach Dave Rice acknowledged his team wasn’t at its best.

“The expectation for our team is we’ll be better,” Rice was quoted as saying in the Las Vegas Sun. “It was just a scrimmage. At the end of the day, our record is still 0-0.”

— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal