Del Norte High hoops star with something to prove will walk on at New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Del Norte High hoops star with something to prove will walk on at New Mexico

Del Norte High School’s Shane Douma-Sanchez is joined by family and friends as he makes his announcement to play for the UNM Lobos basketball team as a preferred walk-on next season at the Albuquerque Basketball Club on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Jon Austria/ Albuquerque Journal)

Brandon Mason can recall a couple years ago walking into the Riverpoint Sports and Wellness gym each morning at 6 a.m. The pre-dawn workouts he conducted with kids were as much about showing a commitment to getting up before their friends and classmates as it was honing their basketball skills.

But he and the kids in his breakfast club were never the first ones there.

“Shane (Douma-Sanchez) would be finishing his workout and leaving,” said Mason, the former New Mexico State Aggie player, UNM assistant coach and now President of the Albuquerque Basketball Club.

“He was already done. I think that says a lot about his work ethic and drive to be the best he can be at his game. He’s legit one of the hardest workers.”

The work ethic led Douma-Sanchez to one of the most eye-popping high school scoring runs in Albuquerque or state history over his now completed career at Del Norte High, averaging 32.5 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds and 2 steals over 26 games this past season. And on Thursday, in the ABC Gym on the edge of Old Town, he announced the next stop in his basketball journey won’t be far from home.

The 6-foot-1 guard is joining the University of New Mexico men’s program, accepting a preferred walk-on spot.

“Really, it’s been a dream of mine to put on the Cherry and Silver (colors of the Lobos),” Douma-Sanchez told the Journal. “I think, in the long run, being able to compete against guys like Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn, Jr., will do nothing but benefit me for the future. Wherever my career takes me.”

While there’s no confusion about his role next season with the Lobos — a team returning three primary guards in All-Mountain West selections House and Mashburn along with rising sophomore point guard Donovan Dent — there’s also mistaking Douma-Sanchez’s plan, either. He has no intention of being a career end-of-the-bench walk-on.

“(UNM coach Richard Pitino) said to come in and push the players (in practice) to be better,” said Douma-Sanchez. “And he said that I have an opportunity every day to show my worth to the team and prove to him that I can play that level. Every practice is an opportunity, and that’s what I’m looking forward to. …

“Ultimately, I want to play. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not gonna go somewhere to just to sit the bench. I want to push myself. I’m gonna use the facilities that they have, the resources to push myself to get better, so hopefully in the next few years, I would get on scholarship. That’d be my ultimate goal.”

Douma-Sanchez said his favorite all-time Lobo is former floor general Hugh Greenwood. With Del Norte, he was known for his scoring, but Douma-Sanchez feels he really showed off a lot more of his game in club basketball against more elite competition. He has played in a few tournaments with the ABC teams.

“I think something that I’m underrated for in my game is my passing,” Douma-Sanchez said. “I’m out here in New Mexico and I score a lot because, you know, it’s really easy, but whenever I play against high-level comp, I can facilitate. I can share the ball. I can move it in ways most people can’t.”

Pitino or Lobocoaches can’t comment on players until they sign a national letter of intent or enroll at the university.

Douma-Sanchez is the all-time leading scorer at Del Norte, passing former Knights great and current overseas professional player Scott Bamforth back in December.

In early January, Douma-Sanchez dropped 60 points in a 72-67 loss to Eldorado in the Albuquerque Metro Basketball Championships. He hit eight 3-pointers and sank 10 free throws in the game.

Per records kept by the New Mexico Activities Association, Douma-Sanchez’s 60 was the most ever by an Albuquerque school player and ranks ninth all time in state history with many of the spots above him coming from small-school stars of the past.

He said at the time, “It feels unreal because I know of all the great players who have played in Albuquerque.”


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