Lobos get House call: ASU transfer is first recruit of Pitino era

Geoff Grammer, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
·2 min read

Apr. 15—Richard Pitino has kept the recruiting news close to that customary vest he's fond of wearing in his first month on the job as University of New Mexico men's basketball coach.

Thursday, he got a House call.

Jaelen House, a 6-foot-1 guard who played the past two seasons at Arizona State and is the son of Sun Devils all-time scoring leader and former NBA player Eddie House, announced on social media Thursday that he will transfer to UNM to play for the new Lobos head coach.

"Ready to get the Pit rockin," House posted on his Instagram account along with a photo of himself in a turquoise Lobos uniform with the Pit in the background.

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House becomes the first new recruit of the Pitino era at UNM. Some fans of the program hope for a domino effect leading to more transfer news coming soon for the Lobos. But the new coach has declined to comment on players he is recruiting, even though the NCAA allows a coach to confirm who is being recruited, but they are not allowed to talk beyond that about potential recruits.

With the NCAA not counting the past 2020-21 season against a player's eligibility, House still has three playing seasons of eligibility remaining.

House was a four-star recruit out of Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, where he played for his uncle, and former Arizona star and NBA player Mike Bibby. He was ranked the No. 3 prep player in Arizona in 2019 according to 247 Sports.

House averaged 4.5 points, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals in the 51 games he played over the past two seasons for the Sun Devils, including a pair of 20-point games as a freshman.

The NCAA allows for 13 scholarship players per roster. UNM, like all programs, is trying to figure out its roster while it navigates a college basketball landscape that not only is being more lenient on transfers during the COVID era, but is about to adopt legislation to allow all players to make a one-time transfer anywhere without having to sit out a season.

On top of that, since the past season did not count toward player eligibility, the Lobos are still awaiting a final decision from 2020-21 senior leading scorer Makuach Maluach about whether he might return for one last season.

Lobo players in the transfer portal expected to leave include guard Isaiah Marin, guard Nolan Dorsey (left in January and has transferred to Holy Cross), guard Keith McGee (left the team in January), forward Bayron Matos, and non-scholarship walk-ons Logan Padgett and Daniel Headdings.