Talking Grammer podcast: Conversations from the sports beat

Journal staff writer Geoff Grammer shares some of the conversations he has on the beat covering a wide variety of sports in New Mexico, primarily UNM Lobos basketball, through his Talking Grammer podcast. For those fans of the written word, check out Geoff’s articles published in the Journal.


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Here is a list of past episodes of the Talking Grammer podcast with most recent episode at the top.

Talking Grammer, Episode 37: UNM Lobo assistant coach Ralph Davis

In Episode 37, I catch up with Lobo basketball assistant coach Ralph Davis, in his third year with the program but first as assistant coach. We recorded this podcast last week as the team just returned to Albuquerque allowed for the first time this season to practice in the state due to the public health order. We talked about him enjoying being home for trash day, winning the 2003 New Jersey high school triple jump state championship, he asked about my love of the movie La Bamba and, of course, we talk Lobo hoops and whether his time as a junior college coach prepared him for this season. (Posted Feb. 1, 2021)

Read more about my conversation with Ralph Davis.

Talking Grammer, Episode 36: Lobos special assistant Dave Pilipovich

In Episode 36, I catch up with former Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich about his new role as special assistant to the head coach for UNM Lobo men’s basketball in what has been a crazy season of relocation, on-court struggles and having to find quarters for washing machines on the road. Dave talks about the new perspective he’s getting from outside the head coaching spotlight and how he hopes to help Lobo players and Lobo coach Paul Weir in any way he can. We also talk about the Mountain West overall and how many teams he thinks might get into the NCAA Tournament. Hope you enjoy. (Posted Jan. 25, 2021)

Read more about my conversation with Dave Pilipovich.

Talking Grammer, Episode 35: Lobo assistant coach Scott Padgett

In Episode 35, I catch up with former Kentucky Wildcat national champion, former NBA first round draft pick and current UNM Lobos assistant coach Scott Padgett. We talk about the craziness of this season, the unique time to move a family — his wife and three kids — to New Mexico where schools haven’t been open for in-person learning and what he uses as a coach from influences like playing for Rick Pitino and Jerry Sloan or as a teammate alongside guys like John Stockton, Karl Malone and later Yao Ming. Fun trip down memory lane. (Posted Jan. 18, 2021)

Read more about my conversation with Scott Padgett.

Talking Grammer, Episode 34: Former Aggie player/Lobo assistant Brandon Mason

In Episode 34, I catch up with former NMSU Aggie basketball star and former UNM Lobo assistant coach Brandon Mason trying to figure out what he’s been up to since resigning in August. Has he been watching the Lobos, many of whom he recruited to Albuquerque? What’s next for him wit basketball in the state? And how’s that Lobo alumni team coming along for this summer’s TBT (The Basketball Tournament)? (Posted Jan. 11, 2021)

Read more about my conversation with Brandon Mason.

Talking Grammer, Episode 33: UNM Asst. Dan McHale on pressing

In Episode 33, I catch up with UNM assistant Dan McHale about what makes a good press defense? How often with the Lobos press this year? What are the pitfalls of pressing? The product of the Rick Pitino coaching tree walks me through some of the basics on what to look for in a press and why the Lobos will do more of it as the season goes on. Also, there’s some sound from NMSU coach Chris Jans about telling his team about their recent game cancellation in California as he found out during a practice and how he handled that, all before his team found out later (after I posted the pod) that they would go on pause for the second time this season. (Posted Jan. 4, 2021)

Read more about my conversation with Dan McHale.

Talking Grammer, Episode 32: NMSU Aggies coach Chris Jans

In Episode 32, I catch up with NMSU Aggies coach Chris Jans about life as a program relocated out of New Mexico due to the public health order, what he did on the team’s recent COVID pause (spoiler alert, we talked streamed shows and Christmas movies) and what he knows about his team so far in this crazy season as games are (finally) about to start again for his team. (Posted Dec. 26, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Chris Jans.

Talking Grammer, Episode 31: La Cueva/UCLA graduate Bryce Alford

In Episode 31, I catch up with La Cueva High and UCLA graduate Bryce Alford about his participation in TBT (The Basketball Tournament), his take on what his older brother will be like in his first head coaching job at an NAIA school in Indiana, his dad’s return to he Mountain West with Nevada, what his own basketball future may bring and plenty of other things. (Posted July 9, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Bryce Alford.


Talking Grammer, Episode 30: Albuquerque Academy graduate Cody Toppert

In Episode 30 I catch up with Albuquerque Academy graduate Cody Toppert, former NBA assistant and current Memphis Tigers assistant about his upcoming gig as a coach in TBT (The Basketball Tournament), the Elam Ending, coaching with Penny Hardaway, basketball analytics and whether or not his team has a shot at winning $1 million. (Posted on July 3, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Cody Toppert


Talking Grammer, Episode 29: Lobo seniors Makuach Maluach, Keith McGee

In Episode 29 I catch up with UNM Lobo basketball rising seniors Makuach Maluach and Keith McGee (the team’s third senior, Zane Martin, was not available). They talk about the odd offseason being away from teammates, expectations for next year, who is the best at video games and what they’re learning watching ‘The Last Dance’ documentary on the Chicago Bulls. (Posted April 29, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Makuach Maluach and Keith McGee.


Talking Grammer, Episode 28: UNM Lobos assistant Brandon Mason on ‘The Last Dance’

In Episode 28 I checked in with Lobo assistant coach and former NMSU Aggie player Brandon Mason to get his perspective on ‘The Last Dance’ documentary on the Chicago Bulls. Mason was a junior playing basketball in Chicago during the 1997-98 Bulls championship season, wore 23 throughout his career due to Michael Jordan and I ask him what if a 5-star recruit wants to play for the Lobos but thinks LeBron is better than MJ. There was also an accompanying video of my Zoom meeting interview with Mason HERE. (Posted April 21, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Brandon Mason.


Talking Grammer, Episode 27: UNM Lobos assistant Dan McHale

In Episode 27 I catch up with Lobo hoops assistant coach Dan McHale to see what the heck college basketball coaches who aren’t allowed to be on the road recruiting or in the office due to coronavirus concerns are doing this time of year. Turns out, they’re still busy as ever. Dan walks us through his Rick Pitino coaching education, how UNM is recruiting now and some thoughts on next year’s team. (Posted on March 22, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Dan McHale

Talking Grammer, Episode 26: UFC fighter Holly Holm

In Episode 26 I veer off course a bit from the usual college basketball topic to share with you a conversation I had with New Mexico’s own Holly Holm ahead of UFC 246 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nev. Holly is in the co-main event of UFC 246 against Raquel Pennington and while we touch on that some, the main hope was to talk with Holly in the time we got with her away from the rest of the media about her connection with the fans of New Mexico who love her so much and her sense of obligation to never let them down. (Posted on Jan. 17, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Holly Holm

Talking Grammer, Episode 25: Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich

In Episode 25 I talk with Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich about coaching at a service academy and how good, at least offensively, his Falcons are this season. He also shares some memories about games coaches against the UNM Lobos, about Lobo superfan Snake, and about how he keeps up with some of his past players, not in the NBA or playing overseas, but who are all serving in the Air Force now in various roles around the globe. (Posted on Jan. 11, 2020)

Read more about my conversation with Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich and an update on Lobo hoops


Talking Grammer, Episode 24: Lobo PG J.J. Caldwell, MWC talk and my daughter

In Episode 24 I talk with Lobo point guard J.J. Caldwell about his fast start to the Lobos season, the winding road that got him to Albuquerque and who his favorite teammate to pass to on a fast break is. I also give a quick run down of my Mountain West power rankings heading into a rare early week of conference play before wrapping up the podcast with an interview of my 10-year-old daughter, who is ready for another season of picking games head to head with me by flipping a coin and, likely, picking more games right than me anyway. (Posted on Dec. 4, 2019)

Read more about my conversation with JJ Caldwell, my early December Mountain West power rankings and an interview with my 10-year-old daughter


Talking Grammer, Episode 23: Former Journal staffer Andy Katz from Legends Classic in Brooklyn

Episode 23 includes a conversation with one-time Albuquerque Journal staffer Andy Katz, the former Lobo hoops beat writer who went on to the Fresno Bee, ESPN and now spreads his work around with, Turner Sports, The BigTen Network, Fox and elsewhere. We talked from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn where the UNM Lobos had just beat Andy’s alma mater Wisconsin Badgers. Andy talks Lobo memories, current state of the UNM program and his ties to Albuquerque. (Posted on Nov. 27, 2019)

Read more about my talk with Andy Katz and some thoughts from Brooklyn on the Lobos in the Legends Classic.


Talking Grammer, Episode 22: UNM staffer Ralph Davis on coaching NMSU star Trevelin Queen in junior college

Episode 22 covers a lot of ground. I interview UNM Director of Operations Ralph Davis for a new angle on getting insight on New Mexico State star Trevelin Queen when he played for Davis in junior college two years ago at New Mexico Military Institute. After the interview, I also take your questions about the Lobo basketball team and use sound from a Paul Weir press conference after the Nov. 19 loss at UTEP and offer my own analysis to answer those reader/listener questions. (Posted on Nov. 20, 2019)

Read more about Ralph Davis on Trevelin Queen and some post-UTEP analysis of the team.


Talking Grammer, Episode 21: A conversation with Lobos hoops staffer Craig Snow

Episode 21, in his second stint with the Lobos basketball team, now as the special assistant to the head coach, Craig Snow talks about the road that brought him from being a four-year starter in college at Evansville to coaching high school basketball in Albuquerque then getting into the college game with the Lobos before being a Division II head coach and athletic director at New Mexico Highlands before his return to UNM. He talks about the potential of this year’s team and even indulges me with some random analytics talk at the end. (Posted on Nov. 13, 2019)

Read more about Craig Snow and his role with UNM hoops.


Talking Grammer, Episode 20: A conversation with Lobos captains JaQuan Lyle and Carlton Bragg

In Episode 20, the long-awaited return of the podcast, I talk with JaQuan Lyle and Carlton Bragg, the 23-year-old team captains who have taken an unlikely path from being two of the highest recruited players in the country in the Class of 2015 to being teammates in the 2019-20 season in Albuquerque. They talk about their journey, their expectations, what it’s like being roommates and some teammates Lobo fans should look out for. (Posted on Nov. 6, 2019)

Read more about JaQuan Lyle and Carlton Bragg as the season begins.


Talking Grammer, Episode 19: Part 1 of a conversation with UNM Lobos coach Paul Weir as season begins

In Episode 19, I ask Lobos coach Paul Weir for a state of the program assessment as the season begins on Tuesday in California. What has he learned in one season as coach, what might he change, and what can fans expect from him and his team? I split my interview with Paul into to parts. This is the first. (Posted on Nov. 4, 2018)

Read more about part 1 of my conversation with Paul Weir.


Talking Grammer, Episode 18: A conversation with new UNM Lobos point guard Keith McGee

In Episode 18, new UNM Lobo point guard Keith McGee talks about his growing up, what got him to UNM and he’s remarkably open about some insecurities he’s had as a player, saying he had to overcome confidence issues both at the junior college he played at last season and earlier this semester at UNM when he started playing with the Lobos. (Posted on Oct. 31, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Keith McGee.


Talking Grammer, Episode 17: A conversation with Dick Hunsaker, a Clovis High graduate and college basketball coaching veteran

In Episode 17, I had a long talk with the man I consider the New Mexico coach that never was. Dick Hunsaker is a Clovis High graduate who has played for or coached with the likes of Don Haskins, Neil McCarthy and Rick Majerus while also having connections with Steve Alford and Craig Neal (heck, he was even once a part of a summer camp with Bob King and Norm Ellenberger). Hunsaker talks about all those connections and spending a week observing this year’s UNM Lobos and head coach Paul Weir. (Posted on Oct. 14, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Dick Hunsacker.


Talking Grammer, Episode 16: A conversation Lobo teammates Vladimir Pinchuk and Makuach Maluach

In Episode 16, I have a conversation with Lobo sophomores Vladimir Pinchuk and Makuach Maluach. The two have a unique bond as they were not only the only two freshmen on last year’s team but were both living in the United States for the first time. They talk about their transition to a new country, college basketball and even interview each other about guilty pleasures like Pinchuk’s love of watching hundreds of episodes of Family Feud. (Posted on Oct. 4, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Vladimir Pinchuk and Makuach Maluach.


Talking Grammer, Episode 15: A conversation with Indiana Pacers scout and Run & Stun press architect Kevin Mackey and Lobos coach Paul Weir

In Episode 15, I have a conversation with Indiana Pacers scout and former Cleveland State coach Kevin Mackey, the architect of the Run and Stun press that UNM Lobos head coach Paul Weir is trying to implement with his program. Mackey flew to Albuquerque a year ago to help the Lobos coaching staff with the system. He’s back a year later. What did he see with the Lobos using the press in Year 1, what started his use of the Press in the 1980s and what is Paul Weir’s level of commitment to it moving forward? (Posted on Sept. 19, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Kevin Mackey and Paul Weir.


Talking Grammer, Episode 14: A conversation with UNM hoops assistant Jerome Robinson

In Episode 14, I have a conversation with UNM Lobos basketball assistant Jerome Robinson about his path to coaching. From a Jamaican family and growing up in Toronto, not only how’d he get into hoops, but how did he become one of Canada’s best? He was roommates with Steve Nash on the Canadian National team, once guarded a kid named Manu Ginobili long before he became an Olympic gold medalist or joined the NBA and became a four-time world champion. We talk about those things, how he got into coaching and what game brought a tear to the eye of the Lobos assistant last season? (Posted on Aug. 29, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Jerome Robinson.


Talking Grammer, Episode 13: A conversation with longtime Journal preps editor James Yodice

In Episode 13, I sit down with longtime Journal prep sports editor James Yodice. We talk about the high school football season ahead, what it means to be the prep editor at the state’s largest paper (for my money, as tough a gig as there is in journalism), the time his computer caught fire, some of his favorite places to cover a game in the state and how much he enjoys having a colleague who sings the Alamogordo High School fight song during the hectic Friday nights. (Posted Aug. 24, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with James Yodice.


Talking Grammer, Episode 12: A conversation with UNM seniors Dane Kuiper and Anthony Mathis

Monday is the last first day of school for Dane Kuiper and Anthony Mathis. The two seniors on the Lobos basketball team sat down to talk about the journeys at UNM so far, the season ahead and the legacy they hope to cement in their final year at UNM. They also talk about when they first played each other in the 6th grade when Anthony was living in Oregon and Dane in Alaska, who talks more trash, is Dane really a good fisherman just because he has tattoos of fish and what are their memories of the run the team went on to finish last season? (Posted Aug. 20, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Anthony Mathis and Dane Kuiper.


Talking Grammer, Episode 11: A recruiting conversation with Lobos hoops coach Paul Weir

Now that the July recruiting period is over, I sit down with Lobos hoops coach Paul Weir for some stories from the recruiting trail, and more. What does the intense July recruiting period really even mean anymore for a program like UNM? Is it even the best use of time and resources for a program like UNM (or others in the Mountain West) that seem to be made up of as many or more DI and junior college transfers than high school kids anymore? Plus, how his dad’s accordion playing helped send Weir down a path of coaching, the team’s locker room library and a plea for season ticket holders. (Posted Aug. 2, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Paul Weir.


Talking Grammer, Episode 10: A conversation with former Lobo Alex Kirk

I talk some Lobo hoops after UNM coach Paul Weir held a mid-week press conference on the offseason state of the program and we hear from him on scheduling thoughts. The main guest is Los Alamos High and UNM graduate Alex Kirk. How is the former Lobos’ professional career progressing? Why isn’t he playing this weekend in the $2 million TBT event in Atlanta? Who won those heated pickup games in the Pit during his sophomore year rehabbing back from injury? And how in the world did he get lucky enough to date an Olympic volleyball medalist? (Posted July 27, 2018)

Read more about my conversation with Alex Kirk.


Talking Grammer, Episode 9: Rus Bradburd, Shawn Harrington and “All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed”
I veer off course from the usual Lobo hoops podcasts and talk to the author of “All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed” and the central figure of that book, former NMSU Aggie point guard Shawn Harrington, who in 2014 was shot while taking his daughter to school on the West Side of Chicago. Rus Bradburd, an NMSU professor and former Aggies coach who recruiting Shawn to Las Cruces in the 1990’s, talks about why he wrote the book and his relationship with his former player. Shawn walks us through that tragic morning and talks about what he hopes people take from the book. (Posted May 3, 2018)

Read more about the conversations with Rus Bradburd and Shawn Harrington and the book “All The Dreams We’ve Dreamed.”


Talking Grammer, Episode 8: Lobo transfers JaQuan Lyle and Vance Jackson
In Episode 8, I talk with Lobo basketball transfers JaQuan Lyle, the former two year starter at Ohio State, and Vance Jackson, who started as a freshman last season at UConn. The two sat out this season for UNM per NCAA transfer rules so we talked about how hard it was to watch their teammates, how hard UNM’s conditioning program is, the future of Lobo basketball and who actually won more games when the two played one-on-one over the past six months. (Posted March 24, 2018)

Read more about the conversations with JaQuan Lyle and Vance Jackson


Talking Grammer, Episode 7: Lobo coach Paul Weir and Lobo seniors — Antino Jackson and Joe Furstinger
Three Lobos play their final home game off the season March 3 in the Pit — Joe Furstinger, Antino Jackson and Sam Logwood. I talk with two of those three (Logwood couldn’t make the interview) about their memories and the legacies they hope to leave. I also talk with Paul Weir about the foundation these seniors have helped leave for not only the longterm, but just over the next week or so this season and how grateful he is for them taking a chance on him in his first year coaching the team when they could have moved on. (Posted March 3, 2018)

Read more about the conversations with Weir and the Lobo seniors


Talking Grammer, Episode 6: Former Lobo Danny Granger and my 8-year-old daughter, Jaedyn
Former NBA All Star and Lobo legend Danny Granger checks in on the podcast to talk college hoops, the FBI investigation into the sport, lots of Lobo memories and stories and what it’s like now working with the CBS Sports Network covering the game as an analyst. I also chat with my daughter, Jaedyn, about how she’s been beating me picking college basketball games all season by flipping a coin and how coaches and fans all across the conference now ask me all the time who she’s picking rather than who I think will win games. (Posted March 2, 2018)

Read more about the conversations with Danny Granger and my daughter


Talking Grammer, Episode 5: Lobo associate head coach Chris Harriman
Chris Harriman, the third season Lobo associate head coach and the one assistant coach hold over from the Craig Neal era, dishes on his time learning from Rick Majerus and Tim Miles, his addiction to coffee and the perspective gained from watching his 10-year-old son, Avery, battle cancer since the age of 2. (Posted Feb. 18, 2018)

Read more about the conversation with Chris Harriman


Talking Grammer, Episode 4: Lobo strength coach Tyler Stuart
The Lobos basketball team insists it’s all about hard work and intense conditioning enabling it to press for 40 minutes and run throughout each game to wear down opponents. Who’s the man behind the Lobo conditioning and what is his approach to getting the team in top physical shape? (Posted Jan. 30, 2018)

Read more about the conversation with Tyler Stuart


Talking Grammer, Episode 3: Lobos junior shooting guard Anthony Mathis
UNM junior Anthony Mathis, fresh off his heroics in helping the Lobos rally in the final minute to beat UNLV on the road, talks about his decision to remain with the program after first wanting to transfer before Paul Weir was hired, getting into shape and shooting with confidence. (Posted Jan. 20, 2018)

Read more about the conversation with Anthony Mathis


Talking Grammer, Episode 2: UNM staffers Brandon Mason and David Chiotti
Brandon Mason, the former Aggies basketball star and now UNM Lobos assistant, and David Chiotti, the onetime Lobos great now breaking into the coaching profession as a support staff member on Paul Weir’s Lobos’ staff, talk about this year’s team, playing professionally overseas and some battles against each other in the Rio Grande Rivalry between UNM and NMSU. (posted Aug. 23, 2017)

Read more about the conversation with Brandon Mason and David Chiotti


Talking Grammer, Episode 1: Weir’s Science
On the heels of the Journal publishing a four-part series called Weir’s Science laying out some of the major building blocks first year Lobos basketball coach Paul Weir has in mind for the program, Weir sits down with us to talk about his philosophy for building the program. (posted Aug. 16, 2017)

Read more about the conversation with Paul Weir