Presented by Yashta The 10 Best UNM Lobos Men's Basketball Players By fbihop 10/13/2013 Albuquerque News New Mexico doesn’t have any pro sports teams. But the enthusiasm that fans have for University of New Mexico Lobos basketball more than makes up for that. The Pit has been home to dozens of iconic basketball players -- but only a few have made the leap to the NBA and had success. Others remain heroes in Albuquerque for their play in front of the large crowds at The Pit. Michael Cooper Michael Cooper had arguably the best pro results of any Lobos basketball player on the pro level. The defensive specialist had the good fortune to play along all-time greats like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As a result, Cooper won five NBA titles. Individually, he was named to the All-Defensive First Team five times and the Second Team three times -- winning Defensive Player of the Year in 1987. As a Lobo, he was a first team All-Western Athletic Conference player in each of his two seasons with the team. Presented by Yashta Needing a website for your business? Want to increase your revenue potential? If you answered yes to these questions, sign up today for the Website Workshop for Beginners. In one hour, you will have a website, mobile site, social media set up and much more. This workshop is FREE and is presented as a public service to small businesses around Albuquerque. Call us at 505-273-2519 to secure your spot now. Space is limited. Yashta 505-273-2519 Mel Daniels Pacers.com Mel Daniels may not get the full recognition he deserves because he spent virtually all of his career in the American Basketball Association. Daniels was one of the stars of the ABA, winning three titles and two ABA MVPs while a member of the Indiana Pacers. Daniels has his number retired by the Indiana Pacers.While at UNM, Daniels was a consensus second-team All-American (the consensus first-team All-Americans? Lew Alcindor and Wes Unseld). He was a two-time WAC first-team All Conference player. At one point during his collegiate career, the Lobos were ranked third in the nation. Danny Granger Danny Granger’s stock has fallen with the Indiana Pacers since the emergence of Paul George, but the NBA All-Star (2009) was a leader for the Pacers in his first few years in the league. Granger has made the playoffs three times in his career, including in 2012 when the Pacers fell in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the eventual champions, the Miami Heat.As a Lobo, Granger led the Lobos to two-straight NCAA tournaments and was named Mountain West Conference tournament MVP as well as First Team All-Conference in 2005. Kenny Thomas Kenny Thomas led the Lobos to some of their best results in the recent era. After that, he went on to have a pretty successful career as a power forward. Though he was undersized, Thomas was still able to average nearly 7 rebounds per game for his career.As a member of the Lobos, Thomas was a three-time First Team All-WAC honoree and two time conference tournament MVP. He also made the All-Defensive team twice and was named Freshman of the Year. Thomas graduated as the second all-time leading scorer for the Lobos. Luc Longley Luc Longley is probably best known as one of the centers that played alongside Michael Jordan when Jordan was the best athlete on the planet. As such, Longley is a three-time NBA champion. The 7’2” center is a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and has one of the longest NBA careers of any UNM alum. At UNM, Longley was a two-time first-team all conference and made the all-defensive team once. Ira Harge While not a household name like some of the others on the list, Harge played for a number of American Basketball Association Teams in the late sixties to early 70s. He won two ABA championships (with the Pittsburgh Pipers and the Oakland Oaks) and ended up as one of the top rebounders in the league’s history.At UNM, Harge was a two-time All-Conference player in the Western Athletic Conference. Harge played in the era before The Pit. Harge led the Lobos to a finals appearance in the 1964 NIT tournament, where they lost to Bradley. Charles Smith GoLobos.com Charles “Spider” Smith didn't have the pro accolades of many others on this list, but he still ranks as the Lobos’ all-time leading scorer. He was picked in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. He ended up bouncing around the league and in Europe.But it was in college, where he excelled. The Lobos only lost three home games during Smith’s entire college career. He was a two-time All-Conference first team selection and helped the Lobos to a 1996 WAC championship. Smith gets bonus points for sinking three free throws to force a second overtime in an eventual win against Fresno State in 1996, arguably the greatest Lobos game in the history of The Pit. Willie Long Willie Long scored more than 1,500 points in three years for the Lobos despite playing in the pre-shot clock era. This is the most for any Lobos in this era, just five points ahead of Daniels. Long was a two-time All-WAC selection and was the first Lobo to score average more than 22 points a game in a season.Long was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but played just three seasons in the ABA, never averaging more than 13 points a game.. Marvin Johnson Wolf-bytes.com Marvin Johnson’s big claim to fame as a Lobos is his 50-point performance against Colorado State in 1978. Johnson was drafted by the Chicago Bulls, but never played professional basketball.But as a Lobo, he was one of the most prolific scorers in team history and even led the conference in scoring one year, one of just eight Lobos to pull off the feat. He racked up more than 1,200 points in just two seasons. He was an All-conference selection in 1978 along with Cooper. Ruben Douglas GoLobos.com Ruben Douglas transferred from basketball powerhouse Arizona to New Mexico. The Wildcats’ loss was New Mexico’s gain, as Douglas would end up as the only Lobo to ever lead the nation in scoring. Douglas averaged 28 points per game in 2003, tying Kenny Page for the Lobos’ season record. Douglas won Player of the Year honors that year to go along with two all-conference selections. Honorable Mentions Tony Snell; JR Giddens; Darington Hobson; Petie Gibson; Royce Olney; Roman Martinez; Clayton Shields; Ron Nelson Subscribe to get the best Albuquerque stories delivered free right to your inbox. 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