LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – The exodus from the New Mexico State men’s basketball program amid the team’s turmoil continued on Tuesday, this time from a high-profile recruit.
Lowell Darius Carr, a consensus four-star prospect in the Class of 2023 who signed with first-year head coach Greg Heiar back in November, announced his plans to ask for his release from his national letter of intent on Tuesday.
In an interview with KTSM, Carr cited all of the dysfunction surrounding the program regarding his intentions to ask out of his LOI.
“First off I’d like to say I appreciate the staff and community of New Mexico State for recruiting me and accepting me. I just want to say it’s a crazy situation, coming from my end. I don’t know what’s next or what’s going to happen,” Carr told KTSM. “I find out information day-by-day and it’s come to a point of what’s next? I don’t want to have get there and then I can’t play or some other stuff so me and my family just decided to reopen my recruitment to see other options but I’m still interested in New Mexico State.”
In a statement to social media, Carr also said that his recruitment would be reopened, but that he still had interest in NMSU.
A 6’3, 190-pound guard from Fairfax Senior High School in Los Angeles, Calif., Carr is rated as the 105-best prospect in the Class of 2023 by 247Sports.
When Carr signed with the Aggies on Nov. 17, 2022, he was the second-highest rated recruit in NMSU basketball history. Carr chose the Aggies over offers from Power-5 programs California, UConn, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Washington and Washington State.
Thus far, Carr is the only Aggies recruit to opt out of his LOI or commitment to the program. He joins three players that spent time with the NMSU program in 2022-23 – Kyle Feit, Shahar Lazar and Kent Olewiler – in announcing their intentions of leaving the school.
Carr’s announcement of his intentions to ask out of his LOI come two days after the remainder of NMSU’s 2022-23 season was canceled due to serious allegations of hazing committed by three NMSU players against one of their teammates.
First-year head coach Greg Heiar and his entire coaching staff were still employed as of Tuesday afternoon, but have been placed on paid administrative leave, after the release of a police report in which one NMSU player alleges that three of his teammates sexually assaulted him for over six months, both in the Pan American Center locker room and on the road.
he victim told police he did not want to file charges, but the New Mexico State University police report states the investigation is still ongoing and the offenses described by the victim include criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment and harassment. A lawyer told KTSM on Monday that charges could still be filed, despite the victim not doing so as of now.
“Technically, it’s not up to the alleged victim on whether or not they want to pursue charges. That’s always up to the district attorney on whether or not they want to pursue charges,” said Ramona Martinez, a Las Cruces Defense attorney.
The allegations of criminal sexual contact and other grave offenses in the NMSU locker room are the latest incidents to come to light in a tumultuous 2022-23 season under Heiar that also included: the arrest and firing of an assistant coach; an Oct. 15 fight involving two players at the UNM-NMSU football game against multiple UNM students; and then a deadly shooting in Albuquerque on Nov. 19 involving Aggies forward Mike Peake and four UNM students that was allegedly in retaliation to the fight.
It must be reiterated again that Heiar is still employed and on paid leave as of Monday, Feb. 13. However, the NMSU Board of Regents will meet on Tuesday to discuss personnel matters in a closed session.
The Board cannot make any decision to terminate an employee behind closed doors; it must be done in an open session. However, NMSU’s chancellor does reserve the right to make personnel changes without Board approval, according to an NMSU spokesperson.