The 2023 Hall of Honor inductees include a star-studded list of athletes who have played for University of New Mexico.
Small forward and NBA veteran Danny Granger and tennis player Matthieu Amgwerd are a few of the names included on that list.
Granger originally played his first two seasons at Bradley University before transferring to the University of New Mexico to play under then Head Coach Ritchie McKay. Granger said a big reason for his transfer to UNM specifically was the connection he had with his former coach from Bradley who raved about McKay.
“When I fell out with my old school, I had a few other options, but I wanted to go where I had someone who cared about me and knew who I was as a player and a person,” Granger said.
Granger had an amazing two seasons with the Lobos – leading the team in points, steals, rebounds and blocks per game. He also played and started in all 52 games as a Lobo.
In his second year, he and his team had a NCAA Tournament appearance. Granger had an amazing experience playing for the Lobos.
“It was awesome. It really was amazing – the New Mexico fans, the students, everything. When you play a sport in college, it is an experience like no other,” Granger said.
After his time at UNM, Granger was selected in the first round of the NBA draft and 17th overall to the Indiana Pacers. Granger credits UNM and Mckay for helping him prepare for the transition to the NBA.
“(In) the NBA, it is different. Everyone is working for their livelihood and it is a business, but what we learned in college – the practices, waking up at 6 a.m. and running until you’re throwing up – all those things trained you. So once I got to the NBA, I was fully prepared,” Granger said.
Granger had a very proficient NBA career playing 10 seasons – eight with the Pacers and one each with the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat. During his career, he was named to the NBA all-rookie second team, the NBA All-Star (in which he played in 2009) and Won the Most Improved Player award in that same season.
Amgwerd played two seasons of tennis for the Lobos and dominated. In 2000, he won the Mountain West Male Student Athlete of the Year award. Amgwerd had a lot of memories come back after being inducted into the Hall of Honor.
“I’ve been back a couple times but this is a special occasion,” Amgwerd said.
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Amgwerd, like Granger, also transferred to UNM. Amgwerd transferred from William Carey University and chose UNM because of the coaching and the opportunity.
“It gave me the best opportunities for my talents and my studies. I had a couple other choices but I felt this was the right place because of the coaching staff,” Amgwerd said.
Along with all that, Amgwerd ranked No. 14 in doubles in 2000 and believes it was an honor being able to play at UNM.
“It was an honor we got great things accomplished, and being able to play the fans with the great atmosphere was a very great opportunity,” Amgwerd said.
Currently Amgwerd is the Swiss Tennis coach for the world university games and has held that title since 2013.
Congratulations to the 2023 Hall of Honor Inductees: Matthieu Amgwerd, Andy Boyen, Danny Granger, Michael Putnam, Bernard “Bernie” Rivers, Tom Daulton, Jill Trujillo, Jadyn Edwards, Amelia Mazza-Downie and Arda Azkara
Rodney Prunty is a freelance sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on twitter @Rprunty05