Arthur Edwards

New Mexico guard will leave the program and become a graduate transfer

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source: AP
(AP)

New Mexico head coach Craig Neal announced during his end-of-year press conference that junior guard Arthur Edwards is leaving the program. The 6-foot-5 Edwards played for two seasons at New Mexico after transferring in from NW Florida State.

Because the Maryland native is graduating this spring, he becomes the valuable graduate transfer who is immediately eligible to play next season. Edwards started two games in place of injured point guard Cullen Neal, but later dealt with his own hand injury.

By the time Edwards returned, he’d fallen out of the rotation a bit and only averaged 12 minutes a contest. Edwards played in 22 total games and averaged 3.9 points and 2 rebounds per game for New Mexico this season.

Neal said the transfer was mutual and Edwards should get a shot to play more minutes elsewhere in his final season of college basketball.

Ankle injury to sideline New Mexico’s starting point guard three to five weeks

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As difficult as New Mexico’s trip to Puerto Rico was last week, with the Lobos dropping two of their three games at the Puerto Rico Tipoff, what made things even worse was the fact that they returned to Albuquerque at less than full strength.

Starting point guard and leading scorer Cullen Neal suffered a right ankle injury early in the second half of New Mexico’s loss to Boston College. And on Sunday the player who replaced him in the starting lineup, Arthur Edwards, suffered a dislocated finger (and a broken bone) on his right hand in a loss to Texas A&M.

With both players undergoing further examination upon their return to New Mexico, how much time they’ll have to sit on the sidelines was finally learned Wednesday. According to Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal, an MRI of Neal’s ankle revealed some ligament damage but not enough to require surgery.

As a result Neal is expected to miss anywhere from three to five weeks, with Edwards’ dislocation/fracture expected to cost him four to six weeks of action. The timeline for both players lands close to the start of Mountain west play, with the Lobos opening with Fresno State on New Year’s Eve. Yet while the Bulldogs have struggled thus far, it should be noted that New Mexico’s next two conference games are Colorado State (January 3) and No. 15 San Diego State (January 6).

With Neal and Edwards sidelined New Mexico will continue to use senior Hugh Greenwood, who was supposed to spend the majority of his time off the ball, as the starting point guard and Deshawn Delaney will need to be an even more consistent offensive option for the Lobos. After scoring eight points in the loss to Boston College, the senior wing tallied 16 in a win over George Mason and 13 against Texas A&M.

New Mexico guard breaks bone in his hand during loss to Texas A&M

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With leading scorer and point guard Cullen Neal sidelined with an ankle injury that will be reevaluated when the team returns to Albuquerque, New Mexico head coach Craig Neal has been forced to make a couple adjustments to his lineup. One was to have senior Hugh Greenwood spend more time initiating offense as the point guard, and the other was to move Arthur Edwards into the starting lineup.

Edwards made his second start Sunday in the Lobos’ 64-51 loss to Texas A&M, and with just over four minutes left in the game injured his hand in a collision with Texas A&M’s Jalen Jones. Edwards broke a bone in his hand, and the details of the injury are a bit gruesome. Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal wrote the following on the situation:

Craig Neal said after the game a bone in Edwards’ hand had broken and was sticking out of the skin as he walked toward the end of the bench. Like Cullen Neal, more details on that injury and a timetable on how long he’ll be out of the lineup will be known later this week.

New Mexico dropped two of its three games at the Puerto Rico Tipoff, but what’s of greater concern is the team’s health as they return home. The hope is that they receive good news on both Edwards and Neal, with their next game scheduled for Sunday, November 30 against USC. If those two have to sit out an extended amount of time, players such as Deshawn Delaney and Jordan Goodman become even more important than they already are.

Delaney’s averaging 11.2 points per game this season, and in the last two games he’s averaged 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. As for Goodman, after scoring 19 points in New Mexico’s win over George Mason he accounted for just five on Sunday. He’ll need to be more consistent as the Lobos look to string together some wins heading into the start of Mountain West play.