Suspended Manuel says he's leaving UNM basketball - Albuquerque Journal

Suspended Manuel says he’s leaving UNM basketball

Valdir Manuel, right, sitting by Saquan Singleton while watching UNM’s basketball season opener vs. Florida Atlantic, is leaving the Lobos. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Senior forward Valdir Manuel has decided to move on from the University of New Mexico.

The 6-foot-10 forward who played 20 games for UNM last season but hasn’t played with the Lobos this season has formally entered his name into the transfer portal, indicating his formal intent to leave UNM and giving coaches across the country the green light to recruit him.

News of his entering the transfer portal was first reported by the Ari Rosenfeld and later confirmed by the Journal.

Manuel was suspended indefinitely from the team in the fall after an unspecified incident that occurred last spring was referred to UNM’s Office of Equal Opportunity and has been under review for at least a couple months now by the university’s Title IX Coordinator — outside the jurisdiction of the athletics department.

Both UNM coach Richard Pitino and athletic director Eddie Nuñez have deferred commenting on the matter, referring questions to main campus, who will not comment on pending Title IX matters.

There is no record of any report or indication the matter was ever investigated as a criminal matter, according to both court records checks and inquiries to campus and local police agencies by the Journal.

Manuel, who was not on the team’s bench for Saturday’s game against Montana State, was the third-leading scorer last season for the Lobos, averaging 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over 20 games, including six starts.

Before coming to UNM, the once highly-rated recruit from Angola played for two seasons at Harcum (Junior) College in Pennsylvania and has been committed at different times to five difference major Division I programs.

He said in an interview last season: “My reputation, everybody knows when they see my name, ‘Oh, this kid committed to (a lot of) schools, but people (do) not understand I committed to (a lot of) schools because I was just trying to play college basketball. And I didn’t have the people who had the best interest in me around me. I was feeling like people was benefiting off me – they were making me do stuff that wasn’t really me doing. So it was very hard and I couldn’t say nothing because I was a kid and my parents, nobody was here.”

Per new NCAA transfer rules, Manuel should have two seasons of playing eligibility remaining and would be eligible to play immediately next season for another DI program.


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