LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – After New Mexico State’s 95-70 win over UTEP on Wednesday, the Aggies’ players spoke to the media for the first time since a deadly shooting in Albuquerque involving NMSU forward Mike Peake.
Aggies guard Xavier Pinson told the media that Peake called the team at halftime of the game vs. the Miners.
“(He said to) Keep our foot on their neck. We have a lot more in us,” Pinson said.
NMSU head coach Greg Heiar said Peake spoke to the team postgame as well.
“He was just saying he was hopping around on one leg and how excited he was,” Heiar said. “He said I want to give everyone in the room a hug. I’m so proud of you guys and to keep it up.”
New Mexico State has maintained that Peake is still on the team and enrolled at NMSU, despite the shooting and despite potentially breaking a state law in bringing a gun on to UNM’s campus – something that also violates NMSU’s student code of conduct.
On Thursday, NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia addressed Peake’s presence on the phone in the locker room during the game.
“Anybody on the team can call anybody, I certainly wasn’t pleased with the quote that was given from our student-athletes and I have addressed that with our coach,” Moccia said. “They can talk to people, there’s no law against that, however I was disappointed significantly with the quote that was used.”
In recent days, Peake has also taken to social media, posting about the incident on his personal accounts, including a long message on his Facebook page.
“Just up looking through my social media gang and I can honestly say some of you “Fans of Nmsu” wanted a different outcome of that night. Regardless the situation I made a Horrible decision that night by stepping out at 3AM in ALL AGGIE GEAR but do you think I would’ve stepped out if I knew I were to be set up by 4 FRIENDS that knew each other very well And I came ALONE. Some of y’all “Opinions” just sound kindergarten fr but it’s all good fasho imma come back stronger mentally and physically shorty n I stand on my business in every which way#seeyallnextyear,” Peake wrote on his Facebook page.
Moccia wouldn’t comment on Peake’s social media posts, saying that he couldn’t, but also that he hadn’t seen them, either.
All of the turmoil surrounding NMSU basketball has come as a result of a deadly shooting at UNM on Nov. 19 that left 19-year-old UNM student Brandon Travis dead and New Mexico State men’s basketball player Mike Peake hospitalized with injuries. Peake was in Albuquerque for the originally scheduled Nov. 19 game between the Aggies and Lobos at The Pit.
According to police, the shooting was in response to a fight on Oct. 15 at the UNM-NMSU football game in Las Cruces involving Peake, other NMSU student-athletes, Brandon Travis and other UNM students.
Travis and four other UNM students conspired to lure Peake to campus at 3 a.m. Saturday morning and assault him. So far, two of those students have been arrested: 19-year-old Jonathan Smith and a 17-year-old female, both of whom have been charged with multiple crimes, including Aggravated Battery and Conspiracy.
The school says Peake was disciplined for his role in an Oct. 15 fight that was the alleged precursor to the Nov. 19 shooting, but has not detailed what that discipline was.
Moccia was asked by KTSM directly on Thursday what he would say to anyone – fans, outside observers, etc. – that might question Peake’s continued involvement with the team.
“I would say that everyone gets due process, even the situations that we don’t think they deserve due process,” Moccia said. “Obviously we have team standards, we have university standards, but every person in this country has due process and that’s what’s going on right now. That doesn’t mean an outcome is preordained, but as we work through an active investigation and the campus continues to evaluate some things, we’ll still afford people due process, even if the sentiment is not for that by the general public.”