ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow became quite the dominant duo in the paint this past season for the New Mexico Lobos.
This summer, they may end up banging against each other.
Kirk and senior guard Kendall Williams learned this week that they’ve been invited to try out for the USA Basketball Men’s World University Games team that will compete July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia.
The two made a list of 48 invitees to participate in the June 24-July 1 training camp and tryouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Bairstow, meanwhile, will return to his homeland after next week’s final exams at UNM to try out for Team Australia’s Men’s World University Games team to compete in the same July tournament.
“I’m really happy for our three student-athletes,” UNM coach Craig Neal said through a school news release. “All of their hard work has paid off, and it’s great publicity and exposure for our program. It’s a well-deserved honor for all three of them, and hopefully all three of them will get to compete in Russia.”
The U.S. team is coached by Davidson’s Bob McKillop, with John Beilein of Michigan and Frank Martin of South Carolina as his assistants.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim signed off on the final list of invitees as chairman of the USA Junior National Team Committee.
The University Games are every two years and open to university-enrolled players between the ages of 17 and 24.
RECRUIT TO VISIT: DeShawn Delaney, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard/small forward from two-year Vincennes University in Indiana will make an official recruiting visit to UNM next week.
Delaney, who is from Chicago and is one of the highest-rated junior college recruits still available for 2013-14, has already visited Bradley University.
UNM has one scholarship available for the 2013-14 season.
According to NJCAA.org, Delaney averaged 15.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this past season, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
MOVING ON UP: UNM coaches have for a long time said they don’t care about how many stars are next to a recruit’s name on various recruiting service websites. But one list that came out Thursday has to put a smile on Neal’s face.
ESPN.com released its final rankings for the Class of 2013 basketball recruits and Eldorado’s Cullen Neal, Craig’s son and future Lobo, was ranked as the No. 87 recruit in the nation this season with a four-star rating. He was ranked outside the top 100 on the service’s last recruiting update during the high school season.
That gives the Lobos their third top-100 recruit in the past five recruiting classes according to ESPN.com’s rankings, including Phillip McDonald, who was rated as the No. 42 recruit out of Cypress (Texas) Springs High School in the 2008 recruiting class, and Alex Kirk, the No. 99 recruit out of Los Alamos High in the 2010 class.
LOBOS AT ISOTOPES: Craig Neal will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and will be joined by the entire team on the field prior to Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. home game against New Orleans, the Isotopes announced. The Lobos will also be available for a limited time during the game to sign autographs on the concourse.