The University of New Mexico basketball team announced Monday that senior guard Saquan Singleton, the highest scoring and rebounding returning player from last year’s UNM team, is out indefinitely due to a heart abnormality that was discovered during routine tests after recovering from an illness. Head coach Richard Pitino said doctors told him that the abnormality was not COVID-19-related. It is not yet clear if or when Singleton will be cleared to play basketball again.
Singleton, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches, is an extremely versatile player, particularly on the defensive end, who was expected to play big minutes at multiple positions for the Lobos. The loss is expected to hurt the Lobos defensively; Pitino said that at a recent scrimmage without Singleton, the size differential and its effects on the Lobos’ ability to rebound was noticeable. Pitino added that replacing Singleton until he is able to return will have to be a team effort.
“He’s just so versatile,” Pitino said. “So there’s not just one guy (to fill his role). We’ll probably have to look at playing more traditional 3-guards.”
UNM will have to counteract their losses on defense with added shooting from whoever replaces Singleton in the team’s primary lineup. Options include transfer player Jaelen House, who Pitino said had 30 points in a recent scrimmage against Northern Arizona University, Jeremiah Francis III and KJ Jenkins. Lobos fans will get their first chance to see these and the rest of the team this Saturday at their first public scrimmage.
Matthew Salcido Is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @baggyeyedguy