UW-New Mexico Q&A swap I

As I did during football season, I hope to do question-and-answer swaps with beat writers that cover Mountain West men’s basketball. Since Wyoming opens leauge play with New Mexico Saturday, I got with Mark Smith of the Albuquerque Journal and we both exchanged five questions and answers.

The following are my questions for Mark, who by the way is one of the best in the business, and his answers. See Friday’s blog for my answers to his questions.

Continue reading

Thiam has bruised toe

Wyoming men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer said Thursday senior forward Djibril Thiam has a bruised toe, which he aggravated in the Cowboys 73-60 loss at Colorado State Tuesday.

Schroyer said Thiam hurt the toe last week in practice, and injured it again going up for a layup in the first half at CSU.

Schroyer expects Thiam to start and play Saturday at home against New Mexico. Thiam is UW’s second-leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.7 rpg), but had only five points and three boards in 31 minutes at CSU.

Schroyer held a teleconference with the media in his office Thursday. Here’s some other news and notes from that:

–Sophomore forward Amath M’Baye picked up his fourth technical foul of the season in the second half against CSU. The foul came early in the second half and M’Baye wasn’t much of a factor after that. He finished with four points and six rebounds. Schroyer said M’Baye responded well to the tongue-lashing he gave him after the technical and the next day after the game.

“Amath has to play well for us to have success,” Schroyer said. “We’re putting a lot on him as a sophomore. He’s a very emotional player and sometimes his emotions get the best of him. But he does play with passion and it matters to him, which is a really good thing.”

–Schroyer described New Mexico center Alex Kirk and guard Kendall Williams as the two best freshmen in the Mountain West Conference. The 6-foot-11 Kirk set a New Mexico freshman record with 31 points in the Lobos’ 102-62 home win over Cal-State Bakersfield Wednesday.

“He’s good, but he’s going to be really, really good,” Schroyer said of Kirk. “He reminds me of a (former Utah and current St. Louis men’s basketball coach Rick Majerus) big; a big dude that can score on the block but step out and shoot it. Kind of like a Michael Doliac kind of guy.”

Williams is New Mexico’s second leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and shoots 53.8 percent from 3-point range. Schroyer added he thinks Williams is the most talented freshman in the MWC.

–About New Mexico senior point guard Dariese Gary, Schroyer said: “He’s the most underrated player in the league. His on-ball defense is the best in the conference. He doesn’t make mistakes. He makes his free throws. He’s as good of a point guard as there is in the league.”

–Schroyer also described New Mexico junior forward Drew Gordon, a 6-9 transfer from UCLA, is a future NBA player.

–Junior forward Afam Muojeke (knee) and junior center Adam Waddell (Achilles) were “OK” during Wednesday’s light practice and work-out session. Both are expected to play Saturday, but still are day-to-day.