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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Could UNM's Twitter ban affect recruiting?

By Diamond Leung

New Mexico coach Steve Alford recently banned his players from tweeting, causing one Twitter-happy rival Mountain West Conference coach to poke fun at the rule and 710 ESPN radio host John Ireland to put himself in the shoes of a recruit.

"If I had to pick from various schools and I like to Twitter, I would say, 'Hey man, what's up with this ban on Twitter?'" Ireland said. "I like to keep up with what my friends are doing. I like to tweet. They like to tweet."

But apparently New Mexico fully understands how the Twitter ban can effect recruiting and is absolutely fine with that, as Lobos assistant coach Ryan Miller indicated to the Argus Leader.
"Our program is followed by the media quite regularly, and we want to make sure the kids are protected," said Miller, who was recruiting in Las Vegas on Saturday. "There might be some kids who say they don't want to go to a place where they can't do Twitter, but those aren't the kind of players we want."

In other words, if Twitter is actually factor in a recruit's decision-making process, chances are he wouldn't fit in well at New Mexico.

The Lobos of late have been hoping to capitalize on recruiting momentum gained when they won the Mountain West Conference title and earned a No. 3 seed in the 2010 NCAA tournament. Alford has been doing well with a mix of high school recruits, transfers and international players who have come to Albuquerque and found success.

But at a school where the basketball program has the following of a pro sports team, Alford found it necessary to stop his players from making poor decisions. It was shortly before Jarion Henry committed to the school that the recruit managed to cause a stir in the media with some of his tweets. Alford ultimately decided that players enrolled in school would not be allowed to tweet at all.

Henry has yet to qualify academically and continues to be active on Twitter since he has not enrolled, so the Lobos will celebrate if and when he does gain the privilege of being forced to shut down his account.

For now, the war on Twitter in Albuquerque is real. Recruits who not only love tweeting, but also aren't so sure they could give it up need not apply with Alford.