College Basketball Nation: Dairese Gary

New Mexico learns to speak Australian

October, 5, 2011
New Mexico freshman Hugh Greenwood has an opportunity to make an impact on a team that's in need of a point guard and might have found a good one from Australia. Greenwood signed with the Lobos in the spring, starred on Australia's Under-19 world championship team in the summer, and now could fill the position vacated by stalwart Dairese Gary.

Greenwood's comfort level playing far from home is an important factor given his ability to tip the Mountain West race in New Mexico's favor. According to the Albuquerque Journal, coach Steve Alford has him bonding with the other freshmen and fitting in well with teammates who are learning about his Aussie style.
"I was a little bit worn out when I got here, so the coaches gave me a little bit of time off," Greenwood says. "But I've been living out of home for four years now, so it's made it easier moving away from home. Then again, I’m on the other side of the world; not one plane flight away. That’s hard."

The biggest communication problem Dommo [fellow freshman Dominique Dunning] and Hughey say they have comes over food.

"It's a chicken burger," Greenwood says.

"Which is a chicken sandwich," says Dunning.

A potato gem?

"That's a tater tot," Dunning says he's learned.

"And if we go out and I forget my wallet, instead of saying 'I'll spot you,' he says 'I'll shout you.'"

Greenwood's smooth adjustment thus far is good news for a New Mexico team that is anchored by MWC player of the year candidate Drew Gordon and in need of stability at point guard. For now, it's good that Greenwood has found friendship. After signing with the Lobos, he called it mateship.
"In my short time in Albuquerque, I felt like it was a home away from home for me," he said. "Everywhere my family and I went, whether it was around campus, restaurants or even the mall, everyone was so friendly towards us and passionate about the Lobos. This is also what Australia is all about, 'Mateship' as we call it back in Australia."

New Mexico's incoming Australian shines

July, 11, 2011
New Mexico signee Hugh Greenwood will be one of the top incoming players in the American college game next season, and his arrival in Albuquerque will be highly anticipated after his strong performance in the FIBA Under-19 World Championships.

Australia finished sixth after Greenwood's desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed to give the United States the win on Sunday, but against top American players, his stats should excite a New Mexico coaching staff that will give him every opportunity to be the starting point guard.

Greenwood had 26 points on 10-for-23 shooting, making six 3-pointers and collecting six rebounds and five assists. For the tournament, he averaged 17.1 points, 2.6 assists and four rebounds.

"For Hugh to make First Team All-Tournament is an incredible honor," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said in a statement.

"His experience at the FIBA U-19 World Championships will certainly benefit him down the road."

The 6-foot-3 Greenwood could fit right into the New Mexico starting lineup after Dairese Gary completed his eligibility. The Lobos already have a top shooting guard in Kendall Williams and also are getting Arizona State transfer Demetrius Walker eligible. They should have enough to be a top contender for the Mountain West Conference championship.

Here's Greenwood in action from earlier in the FIBA tournament:

Steve Alford deals with another DWI arrest

May, 10, 2011
New Mexico coach Steve Alford put some teeth into his stance against drinking and driving last week. After reserve Chad Adams was arrested, Alford suspended him for four games next season, removed him from scholarship for the summer, made him issue a public apology, and even took away the sophomore's car keys for the rest of his career.

So news one week later that departing senior Dairese Gary, the team captain and heart and soul of the Lobos, was arrested on charges of aggravated DWI must have deeply saddened Alford. Gary, according to the Albuquerque Journal, was said by police to have crashed his vehicle into some mailboxes early Sunday only hours after attending a Coaches vs. Cancer Gala hosted by Alford.

"I am obviously very disappointed by the news of a charge on a former player for drinking and driving," Alford said in a statement. "This mistake is not indicative of what our program has been about for the past four years. A part of being a Lobo basketball player is understanding the responsibilities that come with wearing the cherry and silver New Mexico jersey. As a program, we will give him our support in helping understand the consequences of his decisions, and we will use this as an opportunity to not only educate our team about the dangers of drinking and driving, but our community as well."

Gary was revered in Albuquerque for his toughness throughout his career and this season led the team in scoring before going down with a season-ending torn ACL in the Mountain West Conference tournament. A drinking and driving arrest shouldn't be the thing that defines him.

That's what Alford appeared to be getting at when he issued his punishment to Adams and made him apologize. In Gary's case, there will come a time when Alford's players no longer fall under his jurisdiction. But while they do, any New Mexico Lobo who gets in trouble can only hope that Alford's penalties are the worst thing that will happen to him.

The results of drinking and driving, a major problem in the state of New Mexico, could be much worse.

New Mexico's spring recruiting went well

April, 26, 2011
New Mexico is expected to enter the season as one of the favorites in the Mountain West Conference based upon the talent of its emerging young guard in Kendall Williams and double-double machine Drew Gordon.

The Lobos are also doing well for themselves to add to the roster this spring, signing a potential starting point guard in Hugh Greenwood from Australia and getting a verbal commitment from small forward Jarion Henry, who's Dave Telep says has top-100 talent.

Greenwood, a candidate to play for Australia in the 2012 Olympics, will compete with Arizona State transfer Demetrius Walker at the point guard position to take over for graduating senior Dairese Gary. He's already led Australia's under-19 team to an international championship, came to New Mexico to play with fellow former Australian Institute of Sport player Cameron Bairstow, and should be instantly notable with his hairstyle.

"He is an exciting guard that will help fill a need that we have for next year, and he should be able to contribute right away for us," coach Steve Alford said in a statement.

Henry, a 6-foot-8 forward from Dallas, is ESPNU's No. 43-ranked small forward and led his high school team to a state championship. He's already made some waves in New Mexico, releasing a YouTube video that proclaimed he would be "one-and-done."

Combined with the fall signing of guard Dominique Dunning from Corona, Calif., the Lobos appear to be prepared for a bounce-back season and for the future of the Mountain West with a fine recruiting class.

New Mexico hopes to grow after losing big

November, 21, 2010

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Losing by 25 might be a tough pill for New Mexico coach Steve Alford to swallow. But for him, it was no wakeup call.

He knew the early part of the season would be tough. The Lobos are coming off a year in which they won the Mountain West Conference regular-season title and an NCAA tournament game. Their challenging schedule was put together with the idea that reigning league player of the year Darington Hobson would be a senior on this team.

But with Hobson leaving for the NBA draft and reliable veteran Roman Martinez also departing, the Lobos are left with young players all over the court being pressed into action.

On Saturday night at Haas Pavilion, California won 89-64 in a game that marked New Mexico‘s first road test, and there could be more results like this one if the Lobos don’t grow up quickly.

“I hate it, but that’s what we’ve been dealt,” Alford said. “We made the schedule thinking Darington was going to be back. It’s a brutal schedule.”

New Mexico’s week of games against Pac-10 schools ended in defeat after the Lobos had a solid 14-point win against Arizona State at the Pit.

Against Cal, UNM got off to a slow start and crawled back to cut it to a two-point deficit at halftime. The Bears are also a young team coming off a regular-season title, but had veterans Harper Kamp and Jorge Gutierrez take over the game.

The Lobos? They’re left with tough-and-talented point guard Dairese Gary and players trying to find their way. With two-year starter Phillip McDonald having been out with an elbow injury and not expected to turn until at least next week, New Mexico started two freshmen -- 6-foot-11 Alex Kirk and guard Kendall Williams.

Sophomores Chad Adams and Jamal Fenton, along with freshmen Cameron Bairstow and Tony Snell, are also still getting adjusted. Forward Emmanuel Negedu is working his way back, playing in his first games since suffering from sudden cardiac arrest last year. And Drew Gordon, a 6-foot-9 transfer from UCLA, doesn’t become eligible until December to give the Lobos a veteran interior presence.

Cal, even in front of a home crowd deflated by the rout of its football team by rival Stanford, played like the more mature team. The result was a beatdown for New Mexico. Of the second half, Alford said that was “as bad as we can play.”

“We’re athletic and pretty skilled, but we’re not a thinking team yet,” said Alford, whose team committed 18 turnovers and shot 38.8 percent from the field. “We’re not a very smart team.”

New Mexico did get a ray of light from Fenton, however briefly it shined. Cal fans chanted “Gary Coleman” at the quick 5-9 guard, but he came off the bench to score a career-high in points by halftime with 13 and found himself starting the second half. He finished with 14 points.

“I don’t care about that,” he said. “I want the win.”

A Houston native, Fenton represents the Texan that Alford had success in luring to Albuquerque along with recruits from the West Coast. To Gary, it’s not a talent issue the Lobos are facing here.

“We have all the talent in the world,” Gary said. “We just have to learn from our mistakes.

“We have to take baby steps. We have to crawl before we can walk.”

Fredette likes San Diego State's chances too

July, 21, 2010
San Diego State returns nearly its entire Mountain West Conference tournament championship team, earning a No. 24 national ranking from Andy Katz and even respect coming from a rival player who Aztec fans love to taunt.

BYU star Jimmer Fredette told the Las Vegas Sun's Ryan Greene that if he couldn't pick his own team to win the MWC, he'd go with San Diego State.

There's certainly reason to be high on the Aztecs. Steve Fisher's team has an emerging star in conference freshman Kawhi Leonard while returning all five starters and eight of its top nine scorers.

San Diego State has won at least 20 games in each of its past five season and might very well be the best bet to return to the NCAA tournament as it plays in what's expected to be a strong conference once again.

Defending regular-season conference champion New Mexico behind the strength of point guard Dairese Gary should get better as the season goes along, having to incorporate transfer Drew Gordon and Emmanuel Negedu while losing player of the year Darington Hobson to the NBA draft.

BYU has conference scoring champ Fredette leading the way, but backcourt sidekick Tyler Haws is off to serve his Mormon mission and once-emerging guard Michael Loyd Jr. is stunningly expected to transfer to a Division II school.

UNLV has a major question mark as well as star guard Tre'Von Willis faces a felony battery charge (one other charge has been dropped).

All that quite possibly leaves San Diego State as the team to beat in the MWC.

Nate Garth transfers to UC Santa Barbara

May, 18, 2010
Former New Mexico point guard Nate Garth is transferring to UC Santa Barbara, where he will have two years to play after sitting out a redshirt season.

It's a good get for the Gauchos. The defending Big West champions return all five of their starters next season.

"Nate is a highly skilled, extremely quick, and very athletic point guard," UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams said in a statement. "He is a leader and should be a great addition to our program."

Garth averaged 4.1 points in 34 games for the Lobos, but the native Californian sought more playing time closer to home instead of backing up Dairese Gary.

UC Santa Barbara is the second Big West contender to recently receive a potential impact transfer at point guard.

According to the Stockton Record, Pacific is bringing in Andrew Bock, who played in 21 games as a freshman for Creighton.

Source: Demetrius Walker to visit New Mexico

April, 14, 2010
Freshman Demetrius Walker, who once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the nation's best eighth-grade player, has received his scholarship release from Arizona State and is scheduled to visit to New Mexico this weekend, a source close to the situation told me.

A 6-foot-2, 195-pound guard, Walker showed flashes of his scoring ability while averaging 4 points and 10.5 minutes in 23 games for the Sun Devils, but was limited in playing time late in the season.

Walker could be a good fit for New Mexico, as he could sit out a year due to transfer rules while guard Dairese Gary plays his senior season.

Arizona State has also granted releases to sophomore Taylor Rohde and freshman Brandon Thompson.

Here's the latest edition of the West Coast transfers list:

Arizona: D.J. Shumpert

Arizona State: Demetrius Walker, Taylor Rohde, Brandon Thompson

Cal: D.J. Seeley

Fresno State: Brandon Sperling

Montana State: Austin Brown

Oregon: Drew Wiley (reportedly)

San Francisco: Kwame Vaughn

Santa Clara: Troy Alexander

UCLA: J'mison Morgan (dismissed), Mike Moser

UC Riverside: Dwight Gordon

USC: Leonard Washington (reportedly dismissed)

Utah: Carlon Brown, Marshall Henderson, Jordan Cyphers, Matt Read

Washington State: Xavier Thames, Michael Harthun, Anthony Brown, John Allen

UNM's dream season comes to an end

March, 20, 2010

Kyle Terada/US PresswireNew Mexico guard Dairese Gary is one of a handful of players providing a bright future for the Lobos despite their loss Saturday.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sitting away from his teammates in the postgame locker room, Darington Hobson cut the tape off his ankles and began flexing his wrist.

With his head bowed, the New Mexico star opened and closed his hand, trying to make a fist, only to watch it quiver.

"It hurt a lot," Hobson said quietly after letting out a long sigh. "No excuses. They beat us. They played the best game of their life tonight."

New Mexico, after winning 30 games and their first NCAA tournament game since 1999, was routed by Washington, 82-64, and largely unrecognizable playing a Pac-10 team that ran away from them, muscled up, and dominated.

Hobson, the Mountain West's Player of the Year, filled up the stat sheet with 11 points and nine rebounds, but also found passing lanes closed and didn't look himself playing with a sore wrist on his shooting hand.

"This morning at breakfast, that thing was swollen," Lobos coach Steve Alford said.

Roman Martinez, New Mexico's lone senior, had to leave the game briefly needing four sutures about his left eye after colliding with his own teammate.

The team's heart and soul was left with blood on his uniform and returned to play his final minutes as a senior wearing a new jersey with a number that wasn't his.

So woozy was Martinez that he headed to the opponent's bench after getting hit, and by the end of the game, he went down his own bench giving long hugs.

"They looked like San Diego State and ran like BYU," Martinez said of the Huskies.

Alford called Washington not only the best team New Mexico faced all season, but also the fastest. The Lobos weren't able to penetrate the UW defense like they had hoped.

"No penetration, no easy shots," Martinez said.

In the end, New Mexico struggled a bit down the stretch. When the Lobos were upset by San Diego State in the semifinals of the MWC tournament, it was their first loss in more than two months. They were slow to close out Montana in the first round and were out-matched against Washington.

But the future is bright. New Mexico is bringing in what Alford has said is his best recruiting class, including transfer Drew Gordon from UCLA to provide another post presence. And The Pit will reopen with $60 million worth of renovations.

The team would be highlighted by guard Dairese Gary, who scored 25 against Washington. And it gets even better if Hobson, an NBA prospect, returns for his senior season as well.

Asked after the game if he was coming back next year, Hobson gave an answer that many Lobos fans will echo when asked how the game today went:

"No comment."

Halftime: Washington 44, New Mexico 32

March, 20, 2010
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Quick thoughts from the Pac-10 vs. Mountain West game...

  • Washington is off to a fast start, with Quincy Pondexter scoring 10 points and Isaiah Thomas scoring nine. All of Thomas' points have come on 3-pointers. The Huskies as a team are shooting 51.5 percent from the field.
  • New Mexico is struggling by shooting 38.9 percent from the field, 3-for-12 from beyond the arc and 1-for-6 on free throws.
  • Elston Turner knocked down two more big 3-pointers for Washington. One came while he was fouled, but the free throw missed on what would have been a 4-point play. But that 3 gave the Huskies a 41-27 lead.
  • Dairese Gary has a game-high 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Darington Hobson has three points, five rebounds and two assists playing with a sore wrist.

Previewing Saturday in San Jose

March, 20, 2010
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Today's second-round action at HP Pavilion features two games that could result in Sweet 16 spots for some surprising teams.

(5) Butler vs. (13) Murray State

Butler coach Brad Stevens said the difficulty that comes with preparing for Murray State certainly isn't the result of unfamiliarity with the Racers. "The irony is they’re better than a lot of teams that are on TV sometimes," Stevens said. "A very very scary team to prepare for." Murray State has five players who average at least 10 points per game and is riding high after Danero Thomas hit a game-winning jumper at the buzzer against Vanderbilt. But while the Racers are looking for their third NCAA tournament win, Butler is searching for it's third Sweet Sixteen in eight years. Shelvin Mack hit seven 3-pointers, scoring 25 points in an 18-point win in the first round against UTEP. The Bulldogs will now be looking to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 22 games. Another streak they've built up? Butler is 3-0 playing as the higher seed in NCAA tournament games.

(3) New Mexico vs. (11) Washington

Darington Hobson underwent an X-ray exam that revealed no breaks in his left wrist and despite appearing gimpy after hitting his tailbone on the fall as well, he's planning on playing against Washington. "It's tournament time," Hobson said. "It's not going to affect me." That's great news for the Lobos, who are trying to advance to their first Sweet 16 since the NCAA tournament went to at least 64 teams. Washington's Quincy Pondexter compared Hobson to Evan Turner, and coach Lorenzo Romar used him in the same sentence as Penny Hardaway. The Huskies hope to make their third Sweet 16 under Romar and count on Pondexter to carry them once again after the senior hit the game-winner against Marquette. Look for New Mexico's Dairese Gary and Washington's Isaiah Thomas to square off, and also watch for the Huskies' Elston Turner, who hit four huge 3-pointers to spark the first-round comeback.

Previewing first-round games in San Jose

March, 18, 2010

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Previews for today's slate of games at HP Pavilion.

Vanderbilt (4) vs. Murray State (13)

Murray State coach Billy Kennedy said Picasso Simmons, whose mother died in a car crash Monday, didn't want this tournament to be about him, so the team declined to answer questions. We can only guess how emotional a game this will be for the Racers, who saw their grieving walk-on guard make the trip. The Ohio Valley Conference champs are winners of 21 of 22, but the program's only NCAA tournament win came in 1988. Murray State and Vanderbilt are about a two-hour drive from each other, and the proximity is so close that earlier this month, the 30-win Racers practiced on the Commodores' practice floor in preparation for their conference tournament. Of course, Vanderbilt is unlikely to underestimate a No. 13-seeded team considering the Commodores were routed only two years ago by No. 13 Siena.

Butler (5) vs. UTEP (12)

Butler is the nation's hottest team, having won 20 straight games without even having lost a single time in 2010. Gordon Hayward is the Horizon League's MVP as the Bulldogs hope to justify their high seed. UTEP, meanwhile, has Conference USA player of the year Randy Culpepper. Center Derrick Caracter is the only Miner who has NCAA tournament experience since transferring from Louisville. Many have UTEP picked in the early game to pull the upset, considering that the team might be underseeded. "I was a little shocked by the seeding we got," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. "I thought we had a season that deserved a little more respect."

Marquette (6) vs. Washington (11)

Marquette is focused on controlling the tempo in this one. "If Washington is playing us, then I like our chances," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "If we're playing Washington, it will be a blowout. Part of the problem with the Golden Eagles will be containing Washington senior Quincy Pondexter. Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar is impressed by Marquette on film, expressing admiration for their grit during the season. Look for Washington guard Venoy Overton to try to disrupt the Golden Eagles' offense in which all five players in the lineup can hit from long distance, led by Darius Johnson-Odom. And down low, Washington's Matthew Bryan-Amaning, at 6-foot-9, will do his best against a tough but small lineup for Marquette.

New Mexico (3) vs. Montana (14)

New Mexico hopes to prove itself on the national stage and make names for guys like Darington Hobson, Roman Martinez and Dairese Gary. The Lobos certainly don't want their dream season to end in the first round, and to prevent that from happening, you can bet they'll key on Montana guard Anthony Johnson, who put up 42 points in the Big Sky championship game. Johnson said he's used to teams focusing on limiting his production, and the Grizzlies had better find some other options to go to. Will New Mexico's lack of NCAA tournament experience hurt it? The Lobos already are coming off a loss to San Diego State and also squeaking out a win over lowly Air Force in the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Montana provides New Mexico with bulletin-board material

March, 17, 2010
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The underdog isn't normally the one doing the talking, but Montana star Anthony Johnson did make this comment in a video on the team's Web site.

"We feel strongly about what we can do," he said. "We're happy about being a 14 seed. I'm glad we don't have to play one of these huge, Big East teams. My heart was kind of pumping a little bit for that."

Asked about the comment today, Johnson said he wasn't trying to disrespect No. 3-seeded New Mexico from the Mountain West Conference in saying that, but added, "I don't think we should look past them, and I don't think they should look past us."

New Mexico guard Dairese Gary was not amused by the implication that the Lobos would be any easier of a match-up for Montana than a Big East team.

"You have to pay attention to stuff like that, that's a slap in the face," he said. "I mean, a Big East school, they're good, a lot of good teams in there. But we have a good record. We've been proving all year that we can beat good teams.

"So we're thinking about it. I'm sure he didn't mean anything about it, but at the same time, that's the kind of momentum to stay focused and go out and play hard."

Only a 'matter of time' for Hobson

March, 16, 2010
LAS VEGAS -- Darington Hobson first started hearing the MVP chants a little more than two weeks ago after he blocked a shot to seal a Mountain West regular-season title for New Mexico.

He skyed high to meet a BYU player at the rim, screamed through his red mouthpiece as he and a teammate rolled around hugging on the floor, and eventually snagged the MWC's player of the year award.

[+] EnlargeHobson
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesDarington Hobson and the Lobos face Montana in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Hobson, who leads the No. 3-seeded Lobos in points, rebounds and assists, had to take a circuitous route to find a home in Albuquerque. Yet the basketball vagabond, who by age 22 had attended five high schools and a junior college, said he could have seen all this coming.

"Yeah. Of course," Hobson said. "I never doubted my talents. I always knew I could play at this level. I always knew I was capable of doing this at this level. It was just a matter of time."

The 6-foot-7 left-handed point-forward is graceful on the court as he averages 16.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists. The junior in his first season at UNM is expected to finish the season as the first player in school history to lead his team in all three categories.

"Even when he's not doing something, he's creating for others just by being on the floor," Lobos coach Steve Alford said. "He makes everybody else around him better.

"Where he's come in the last three months, just with his maturity as a basketball player, has been amazing. And we wouldn't be in the position we're in right now without Darington Hobson maturing and growing as a player and as a person over the last three months."

Hobson's arrival at UNM was a longer and bumpier ride than expected. He originally signed on with the Lobos coming out of high school, but couldn't slash his way past the NCAA Clearinghouse -- not with his history of hop-scotching across the country from prep school to prep school, with a mess of documentation to boot.

The Las Vegas native grew up playing guard even after experiencing a 6-inch growth spurt shortly before high school, but the tool he lacked at the time was that he "just wasn't into school," according to his father, Reggie Hobson.

So Darington moved to Houston, where his mom lived, to get a fresh start at a charter school and ultimately picked up the nickname "Butta" while playing pick-up at the park.

"He's tall and light-skinned, and his game is real smooth," explained Reggie, a former football player at UNLV. "He was like a tall stick of butter. Long and skinny."

(Read full post)

San Diego State stuns New Mexico

March, 12, 2010
LAS VEGAS -- Judging by the shirt-popping and dance moves that San Diego State players exhibited after the game, it appears the Aztecs think they might have unofficially punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament.

Taking down New Mexico, the No. 8 team in the nation, and snapping the Lobos' 15-game winning streak with a 72-69 win in a Mountain West Conference tournament semifinal could very well do it.

Billy White scored 28 points and led the celebration afterward, as the No. 4-seeded Aztecs survived a length-of-the-court driving layup attempt from Dairese Gary with .7 seconds left.

Kawhi Leonard added 15 points, including the final two free throws. He got San Diego State started quickly, knocking down back-to-back three-pointers to help the Aztecs score the game's first 11 points.

The Lobos went to the hot hand at the end of the game, as Gary finished with 17, and his desperation heave at the buzzer fell short as well.