With Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams all out of eligibility, New Mexico head coach Craig Neal was already going to have a much different team to work with in 2014-15. And on Friday the program lost another starter, as redshirt junior center Alex Kirk will enter the 2014 NBA Draft. The news was first reported by The Lobo Lair, with Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal confirming the news with Kirk’s father.
Kirk redshirted in 2011-12 after undergoing back surgery and he returned to the court a much-improved player in 2012-13, posting averages of 12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game on a team that won the Mountain West’s regular season and tournament titles.
As a junior Kirk averaged 13.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game, earning spots on the Mountain West’s third team All-Conference and All-Defensive teams. A 7-footer from Los Alamos, N.M., Kirk is currently ranked 28th amongst juniors by Draft Express.
With three starters from this season’s Mountain West tournament champion squad moving on the most experienced Lobos will be guard Hugh Greenwood and wing Deshawn Delaney, with rising junior Cleveland “Pancake” Thomas and rising sophomore Cullen Neal also being rotation players in 2013-14. New Mexico currently has two signees in its 2014 class in forwards Xavier Adams and Joe Furstinger.