Maybe it’s just a formality at this point.
Maybe there will be a surprise decision.
Either way, the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team will know Wednesday – officially – whether rising senior point guard Jaelen House will stay in the NBA Draft.
The 6-foot House, who was selected by media and coaches as a third-team All-Mountain West guard this past season for the Lobos, was one of 283 NCAA underclassmen who formally filed paperwork in March to declare for the NBA draft. Those players – many who went through with the process more for feedback from NBA teams than for the actual intention of leaving college and turning pro – have until 9:59 p.m. MT Wednesday to formally withdraw their name from the draft if they want to return to college for the 2022-23 season.
That, from the start, has been the expectation of House among the Lobos coaching staff, though until the paperwork is filed, nothing is official.
“After talking with my family and coaches, I have decided to test the waters and see where I stand in the NBA Draft process in order to make the most informed decision possible, but also leave my options open to returning to UNM,” House wrote both his Instagram and Twitter accounts in March.
House averaged 16.9 points, 4.5 assists and 2.2 steals this past season after transferring from Arizona State.
The NBA draft is June 23.
He isn’t the only All-Mountain West player who has a Wednesday decision that will have a huge impact on the league this coming season.
Colorado State star forward David Roddy is still in the draft, and his decision will likely determine whether the Rams are considered a preseason title contender and potential preseason Top 25 team or not.
FOR STARTERS: The Lobos appear to be a road game away from finalizing their non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
UNM last week signed a contract to host Southern Utah on Nov. 7 – the first night of NCAA Division I games.
The Thunderbirds are coached by Todd Simon, the former UNLV assistant turned interim head coach in 2016. They finished in the Big Sky Conference this past season.
The season opener will be one of 10 home games in the Pit in the 13-game nonconference slate.
The three road games will include one at New Mexico State University on Dec. 3, another at Southern Methodist University in Dallas at a date to be determined, and a yet to be determined road “buy” game, meaning the Lobos will play one game at a school that is paying them to play. The NMSU road game is part of the annual home-and-home series between the two rivals and the SMU game is the back end of a two-year home-and-home series after the Mustangs played in Albuquerque this past season.
PURPLE SNOW: Former UNM men’s assistant coach and former New Mexico Highlands University head coach and athletic director Craig Snow is returning to college hoops – and returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach with the Evansville Purple Aces.
It is official! @CoachRagsUE has made the first hire to his staff!
Help us welcome @Coach_CraigSnow back home!
— UE Men's Basketball (@UEAthletics_MBB) May 28, 2022
Snow had spent the past two years in medical sales based in El Paso after serving one season as special assistant to the head coach for the Lobos – working primarily in an offensive advisory role – in the 2019-20 season.
Snow also served as head coach at NMHU, where the Cowboys won a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title under his guidance and made the program’s second-ever Division II NCAA Tournament appearance. His first stint at UNM prior to that was on the coaching staffs of both Craig Neal and Steve Alford.
Snow and newly named Evansville head coach David Ragland, most recently an assistant at Butler but also an assistant at Mountain West member Utah State prior to that, have known each other for many years.
The school’s news release announcing Snow’s hire called him a “program legend” and noted his 1,530 career points scored for the Purple Aces and his role in leading the team to the 1999 NCAA Tournament.