UNM Player Apologizes for Pregame Punch

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Copyright 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)


Whether or not he plays Tuesday night against Colorado remains uncertain.

But University of New Mexico junior forward Corey Manigault on Sunday evening posted to social media an apology to Lobo fans, the New Mexico State Aggies, his teammates and family for throwing a punch during a pre-game altercation with the rival Aggies before last week's loss in Las Cruces.

"I let my emotions get the best of me and acted impulsively and immaturely," read part of Manigault's apology, as posted on his Twitter account. "Violence should never be an emotional outlet."

His full statement appears at the end of this story.

Though he traveled with the team, Manigault was suspended for UNM's game Friday in Los Angeles against St. Mary's and did not sit down throughout the game, instead standing at the end of the team bench to cheer on players and he carried stools on and off the court for teammates to sit on during timeouts.

As he did with more than one player a season ago, Lobos coach Paul Weir placed Manigault on an indefinite suspension, saying Friday he doesn't like putting a specific number of games on when a player might return because that really has little to do with the player showing any signs of acceptance of growth from the incident.

Instead, he wants to see that a player has accepted what he did was wrong and has made steps toward showing he has grown in some way from the incident before letting him play again.

"I've never really liked, and I dealt with this last year with players we suspended, I never really liked saying so and so has a one-game suspension or two-game suspension or three-game suspension," Weir said. "I like to just allow it to unfold and when I feel as though I sense that person has learned the lesson, then I'm ready to move forward. Right this very minute, I'm not there, but that doesn't mean I won't be there by Tuesday, and it doesn't mean I will be there by Tuesday."

The pregame incident, similar to the Nov. 17 game in Albuquerque when Manigault walked through NMSU players warming up and bumped one player in a pregame warmup, started when the Lobos junior did something similar in the Pan American Center.

As Aggies players got in his face, NMSU senior forward Eli Chuha threw a punch, escalating the incident. As Manigault was being separated, his former junior college teammate, Ivan Aurrecoechea was in his face and Manigault punched the Aggies big man in the jaw.

No game officials were on hand for the incident, though some coaching and support staff members from both teams were seen breaking up the incident in a video of the fight released to media last week.

NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia told the Journal any discipline on the Aggies side of the incident would be handled internally, and no players were held out of Saturday's near upset of No. 2 Kansas in a game played in Kansas City, Mo.

Manigault, who has also been benched twice during the second halves of games this season (vs. UTEP on Jan. 24 and at NMSU last week), is averaging 12.8 points (second on the team) and 5.4 rebounds (third) despite averaging just 17.8 minutes per game.

STATEMENT: Manigault's full statement, as posted to his Twitter account, reads as follows:

"I would like to take the time to apologize to The University of New Mexico, New Mexico State, my teammates, fans, and family. I know that as a Lobo player I am an important figure in the community, and I hate that I have brought any bad attention to the school and to my team. I understand that I must hold myself to a higher standard, and in no way were my actions a representation of the Lobo community.

"I let my emotions get the best of me and acted impulsively and immaturely. Violence should never be an emotional outlet. Moving forward, I will do everything in my power to earn your respect back and prove that I can handle myself in a professional manner, on and off the court."Tuesday

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December 10, 2018


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