Some transfers are expected.
Others catch fans off guard, maybe even hurt a little.
Such was the case for an awful lot of Lobo followers last week when starting power forward Josiah Allick, a fan favorite who many assumed would be back in the frontcourt for Richard Pitino’s team next season at UNM, put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, announcing his intention to play his final collegiate season elsewhere.
He is the fourth Lobo to announce he is transferring since the season ended, but easily the biggest shocker of the bunch. And whether it be the program’s past decade of struggles and drama or maybe a new college basketball era where Name, Image and Likeness allows players to get paid while still in school, many fans jumped to a lot of conclusions about what could possibly be behind the 6-foot-8 power forward’s decision.
Instead of a simple social media post thanking fans and saying he’s moving on, Allick sat down with the Journal for a wide-ranging conversation about his time at UNM and what was behind his decision to play elsewhere for his final collegiate season. The more than 30-minute interview can be heard in its entirety in Episode 61 of the Talking Grammer podcast on ABQJournal.com/Sports.
Here are just a few of the many comments Allick had:
“One of the biggest things was I just kind of wanted to go find somewhere where I would be utilized in a little bit more consistent and bigger role, and be able to do more within that role,” said Allick, adding he did think when he transferred to UNM a year ago from Missouri-Kansa City he’d be a bigger part of the offense.
“For my last year, I just wanted to be somewhere where I knew for sure how it was going to be.”
There wasn’t any drama with his UNM coaches or teammates, Allick assured, and he realizes he’s probably leaving more money from NIL on the table at UNM through the 505 Sports Venture collective than wherever he may be heading.
“Everything off the court was perfectly fine,” Allick said. “No one fighting in the locker room, no mistreatment or abuse by Pitino in any degree.
“It’s probably hard for people to really consider that or take it legitimately considering the current climate of it all. There definitely are people that, when they’re looking for a spot or they leaving a spot, it really is just, ‘OK, where can I go make the most money?’ It’s fair, you know? People have different obligations. I’m lucky. I’m not in a position where I, having to support a family or take care of people back home. … For me, I’m in a position where I can just try to find what I feel is the best basketball fit without having to really worry about that.”
As for the fans, Allick says he was blown away by the Pit and the support of the Lobo faithful. He doesn’t yet know where he may play next, but Allick realizes matching what he had in terms of fan support will be difficult.
“It’s a phenomenal experience,” Allick said of the Pit experience. “… It’s a level of energy and crowd that I’ve never experienced in my (first) three years of college basketball. Getting to be able to have that on a consistent night, it’s definitely unforgettable and I think it’ll be very hard to replicate no matter where I go.”
AS FOR THOSE STAYING: It used to be the decisions of players leaving was the only offseason news. Now, it’s news even when a player decides to stay.
Saturday, news broke that Lobo guards Donovan Dent, Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Jaelen House would be returning next season. The reality is only House, who is a senior but has the option to play a fifth year due to playing through the COVID season of 2021, had an actual decision to make, and has done so.
Mashburn had even already announced after the team’s NIT loss 10 days prior that he was staying.