By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
The news will surprise few, if any, but on Friday the University of New Mexico announced 6-foot-8 junior forward Karim Ezzeddine has left the Lobo men’s basketball team.
The school’s official UNM announcement came on Friday:
“Karim Ezzeddine informed Lobo coach Paul Weir yesterday of his decision to leave the program immediately and pursue professional basketball opportunities overseas. He will withdraw from classes this semester and intends to sign a contract as soon as possible.”
Ezzeddine’s name has already been removed from the team’s on-line roster.
The big question, is whether Ezzeddine will return his scholarship, something that Lobo coach Paul Weir said, on Thursday, was a possibility and he was hoping would be the case.
J.J. Caldwell, who was dismissed from Texas A&M during the 2017-18 season last February has announced he is transferring to UNM, was admitted by the school on Thursday. So far this semester, the Lobos don’t have a scholarship to give Caldwell.
However, if Ezzeddine’s scholarship is now available –voilà!
It would make sense if Caldwell gets a scholarship for this semester, or by the spring. But is that a possibility?
In recent years, the NCAA has changed the rules of scholarship players who transfer. On Friday, Enchantment Sports asked the UNM communications department if Ezzeddine’s scholarship had been returned.
Chelsea Pitvorec, the assistant director of communications, said, to “My understanding (the scholarship) is not (available) during this academic year, because, the semester has already started.”
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in the state’s history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmesportsNM@gmail.com.