Upon realizing that the potential transfer of Emmanuel Negedu would put New Mexico one over college basketball's 13-scholarship player limit, sophomore forward Will Brown apparently began to get worried he'd be the odd man out.
As a result, Brown penned a hand-written letter to the Albuquerque Journal on Thursday, asserting that he has "no intentions" of leaving the program and pleading with fans to support his quest to return next season. The letter appeared in Saturday's editions of the Journal, two days before Negedu made it official that he was New Mexico-bound.
Although Brown's letter surely won him a few sympathizers among New Mexico fans, Lobos coach Steve Alford probably would have preferred he kept the matter in-house. Now whether it's Brown or another player who leaves New Mexico to make room for Negedu, the perception that Alford forced him out the door will stick to the program on the recruiting trail.
There had already been speculation earlier this month that Brown might be shown the door had Darington Hobson returned to school and put New Mexico over the scholarship limit. The 6-foot-8 Brown was suspended from fall practice for academic reasons, but he played 17.9 minutes per game during the season, averaging 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds and ranking sixth in the Mountain West in blocked shots.
New Mexico hasn't offered any hints how it will rectify its scholarship crunch and get back beneath the 13-man limit. We'll have to wait and see whether Brown's hand-written plea was a success or not.