Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Men's Basketball: Ex-Iowa Recruit Commits to UNM
By Mark Smith
Journal Staff Writer
He may not know much about the lay of the Land of Enchantment, but Dairese Gary said he knows all about the new guy living in it.
As a result, the Indiana high school standout said he signed a national letter of intent to play for coach Steve Alford and the University of New Mexico men's basketball team.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play for Alford," Gary told the Journal on Tuesday. "He moved schools and was still dedicated to me, so I'll give my dedication back."
Gary, a 6-foot-1 senior at Concord High (Elkhart, Ind.), signed a national letter of intent at Iowa, but was given a release after Alford left.
A player is allowed to sign a second letter of intent, provided he never attended the school where he first signed.
Gary was just a sophomore when he verbally committed to play for Alford at Iowa. He has yet to visit New Mexico.
"I was surprised, because (Alford) left a Big Ten school for there," Gary said. "But after I sat down and thought it through, I wasn't disappointed. It sounds like a better deal.
"I don't know much about (New Mexico). I know it's warm. Coach has told me about the facilities, they can have 18,000 at the games. He's breaking it down for me."
Gary averaged 22.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.8 steals a game last year for Concord (13-7). He shot 56.3 percent from the floor, 34.7 percent from 3-point range and 69.0 percent from the foul line.
"He has great leadership and court-awareness skills," said Concord coach Ryan Culp. "He was a four-year starter for us, and the last two years we moved him from point to shooting guard. Defensively, we've used him all four years to stop the opponent's best scorer.
"He's a pretty thick kid, very strong. He ends up guarding people 6-6 or 6-7."
Culp said Gary, who weighs about 205 pounds, always draws a lot of attention on the floor and off of it.
"Kids just love him," Culp said.
Brett Eldridge, owner of Elkhart Sports Center, agreed. Gary has worked for Eldridge for more than three years.
"You're getting a good kid and a great person there in New Mexico," Eldridge said. "I'm going to miss him a lot. But things happen for a reason, like Steve leaving.
"Everywhere Gary goes, young kids are all over him. We have him coaching kids and they all listen and respect him so much. He has a way of really getting his message through."
VISIT: Decatur (Ill.) Christian High's 6-7 Darrington Hobson is set for an official visit today in Albuquerque.