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Friday, November 28, 2014

Former Lobos make NBA picks

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By Sergio Jiménez / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Former New Mexico forward Cameron Bairstow and center Alex Kirk take their final walk off the Pit floor during the last home game on March 5 against Air Force. Bairstow and Kirk signed with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively, over the summer.

Both halves of last year’s strong New Mexico backcourt reached the NBA ranks over the summer.

Cameron Bairstow signed a professional contract with the Chicago Bulls, the team announced on July 21. The Bulls drafted Bairstow with the 49th overall pick just one year after taking another former UNM player, Tony Snell.

“Appreciate all the support from everyone throughout this process!!” Bairstow wrote on Twitter. “Excited to be a part of the Bulls!!”

On Aug. 11, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced they signed former Lobo center Alex Kirk to a contract as an undrafted free agent. Kirk left New Mexico with one year of eligibility left.

“I want to thank the @cavs for this opportunity and making my dreams come true,” Kirk tweeted.

Neither the Bulls nor the Cavaliers disclosed contract terms, citing team policies.

Kirk and Bairstow participated in this year’s NBA Summer League along with former Lobos Snell, Kendall Williams (Chicago), Darington Hobson (Toronto) and Drew Gordon (Philadelphia). Kirk recorded 5.2 points and 3.4 boards in 15.4 minutes of summer league action, while Bairstow averaged 10.2 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes.

“We like Cameron’s combination as a player with his size, energy and physicality,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement. “He is a hard worker who will only get better with time.”

In addition to his contract with Chicago, Bairstow earned a spot on an Australian National Team that will compete in the FIBA World Championships, which take place Aug. 30 through Sept. 14 in Spain.

Williams signed a contract to play for an Italian team, Victoria Libertas Pesaro. His contract runs from July 1 through June 30, 2015, according to the team’s website.

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