Between drills, Richard Pitino’s voice can often be heard echoing off the walls of the Rudy Davalos practice facility off the south end of the Pit.
But when the Lobos are in a drill or scrimmaging each other, there’s often one other voice heard more than any other.
Arizona State transfer Jaelen House, one of several former Power Conference transfers to join the UNM Lobos for the coming season, isn’t afraid to take charge in practice and is embracing the opportunity in front of him to finally take charge and run a team after sitting behind elite-level guards at his previous stop.
The high-energy chatter heard from the 6-foot, defensive-minded point guard mirrors his high-energy, lightning-quick play on the court.
“I’m always trying to pick up and get the energy going,” House told the Journal during a podcast interview that can he heard HERE.
“The ball finds energy, so I’m always trying to have my energy high and get my teammates going so they can have the same type of energy I have when the ball gets to them and they hit shots.”
The son of former NBA champion guard Eddie House, the younger House was a four-star recruit out of Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, where he played for his uncle, former Arizona star and NBA player Mike Bibby. He was ranked the No. 3 prep player in Arizona in 2019 according to 247 Sports. At Arizona State, he averaged 4.5 points, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 51 games.
This offseason, he decided his best opportunity to grow in basketball was by his branching out from his home state.
“I just felt like I kind of needed to get away from home … and just really lock in on what I need to do,” House said.
He’s not the only one branching out for a new-look Lobos roster withe eight new players and a new staff, meaning leadership roles are very much up for grabs.
“In high school I did it, so it’s not really a big challenge for me,” said House. “I think I could take on that role. And not just help the younger guys, but also help everybody.”
Asked last week if the constant chatter from his new teammate ever gets to be too much, Jamal Mashburn Jr. laughed.
“Never too much. He’s a point guard,” Mashburn said. “He’s supposed to be out there talking and communicating with all of us. So him talking is much better for us. The more he talks, the more we get wins, the more we get connected. It’s only going to help.”
House has shown the ability to both get in the lane anytime he wants or knock down outside shots when in rhythm, but defense is his calling card.
“You don’t have to score to have a good game,” said House.
That defense, and the fans in the Pit, he says, were a big part of his decision to come to UNM.
“I like playing in front of people,” House said. “I’m like a showman, if you want to say. I like to play in front of people. I like to feed off their energy and I like to give my energy back to them so they get into the game.”
PITINOS AND THE PIT: Pitino took to social media on Thursday to comment on a Journal story about season ticket sales with the caption: “Let’s bring the magic back to the Pit Lobo fans!”
As sometimes happens, his parents were apparently keeping close tabs on the social media posts of their son. Rick Pitino, Richard’s dad, who some might know is also a college basketball coach, tweeted back to his son’s post, “No Pitino has lost at The Pit since 1980, let’s keep that streak going.”
According to Journal archives, the elder Pitino is 5-1 in the Pit:
• 2-0 as an assistant on Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse team playing in the 1977 Lobo Invitational;
• 1-1 as head coach of Boston University, with a 107-87 loss to the Lobos in the 1980 Lobo Invitational;
• 2-0 as Louisville’s head coach in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.