LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – Former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Casey Owens is currently overseeing what remains of the 2022-23 New Mexico State men’s basketball program, the school confirmed to KTSM on Wednesday.

An NMSU graduate and Las Cruces resident, Owens’ role is to facilitate voluntary workouts and consult with players on the 2022-23 Aggies team that have been cleared by the university to participate in those activities.

University officials stopped short of terming Owens’ role that of an interim coach and there is no timetable for an official resumption of the program under a new regime. The university is still in the early stages of hiring a new men’s basketball coach to replace Heiar and at this time, there have been no indications that Owens will get the job. The school still plans on conducting a full search.

The 2022-23 NMSU men’s basketball season was officially canceled on Feb. 12 with six games remaining after serious hazing allegations levied against three players by one of their teammates surfaced in an NMSU campus police report. Head coach Greg Heiar was fired for cause on Feb. 14; his eight assistant coaches have been placed on paid administrative leave since Feb. 10.

Owens went to the university and offered to help. He is being paid a small stipend by the university for his work with the players who the university is allowing to participate in the workouts, which KTSM has learned began March 1.

Owens was New Mexico State’s Director of Basketball Operations from 2018-2021 under former head coach Chris Jans. He has been an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the head coach of the LA D-Fenders, the Lakers’ G-League team.

He’s also coached around the world for a plethora of overseas teams, most recently a team in Kuwait during the 2021-22 season.

Not every player from the 2022-23 team has been cleared by the school to participate in Owens’ voluntary workouts. The school would not reveal how many players – or which players – are not allowed to participate, but they are not allowed due to multiple ongoing investigations the school – and law enforcement – are currently conducting.

The school cited federal privacy laws and the ongoing investigations with regards to why they could not reveal who was – or was not – participating in the workouts.

New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia also hinted during a Feb. 15 press conference about Heiar’s firing that some of the NMSU players were taking online classes and may have left Las Cruces to return home and finish the semester there.

An external investigation by the Rodey Law Firm at the request of NMSU into a deadly Nov. 19 shooting involving Aggies basketball player Mike Peake should be completed in about two weeks, according to an NMSU spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the school has also contracted the Florida-based Greenberg Traurig law firm to investigate the hazing allegations. That investigation is underway and is happening concurrently with NMSU’s own Title IX investigation into the hazing incidents. No timeline was provided for the completion of that investigation.