July 31, 2012
Baskett, a former Lobo first-team All-Mountain West selection in 2005 who went on to play five years in the NFL, was in town Tuesday for the New Mexico High School Coaches Association's 68th annual Coaches Clinic.
During the event, Baskett recalled his first face-to-face meeting with Davie.
"The very first time I got to sit down in coach Davie's office, he told me what he wants to do with the in-state kids and keep the high school talent in the state of New Mexico here in New Mexico when they go college," said Baskett, a native of Clovis, N.M. "I told him right away I was sold."
Baskett, who played at UNM from 2002-05 and recorded 67 receptions for 1,071 yards and nine touchdowns his senior season, was part of an in-state infusion that helped the Lobos to five bowl games from 2002-06. Lovington's Brian Urlacher initially set the standard for in-state players when he played for UNM from 1996-99.
Players such as running back Jarrod Baxter (Albuquerque, 1998-2001), defensive end D.J. Renteria (Roswell, 2000-03), linebacker Nick Speegle and safety Josh Bazinet (both from Albuquerque, 2001-04) followed, paving the way for the 2005 class that included Baskett, center Ryan Cook (a second-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft) and DonTrell Moore (only the sixth player in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons).
"If you're going to shine, you can shine anywhere," Baskett said. "It's all about the work ethic you have, whether it's at a BCS school New Mexico. If you want to make it happen, you can make it happen here. DonTrell Moore, Ryan Cook, Kole McKamey (quarterback, Artesia, N.M., 2002-06), me, we all just wanted to stay here and say, `Let's make it happen.' And that's what we did."
Baskett said Davie's philosophy reminded him of his playing days at New Mexico from 2001-05, when the emphasis on luring in-state athletes was a priority.
"You've got to look at it in the grand scheme of things; if you can't get your own guys to commit here, how are you going to get out of state guys to commit here?" Baskett asked. "New Mexico is a program that is built around a blue-collar mentality, the work ethic of those guys that are from the state. There's a whole different kind of pride and passion about representing your home state."
It was harder to tell who was more popular with the coaches - Baskett or Davie, who reiterated to the group how important retaining in-state players is to the Lobo program.
Davie told the coaches he's a Hank Baskett guy. Baskett is just as big a Davie fan.
"It's in great hands. I want everyone in the community to get out there and support coach Davie and his staff and what they're going to do this season. He wants to build a foundation and watch it grow. That's what happened during my years here."
Baskett, who is co-owner of a strength and conditioning facility in Los Angeles, also is involved in trying to bring national football camps to New Mexico, telling the audience that he attended only one camp during his prep career at Clovis High School.
That's when he's not busy co-starring on his wife's (Kendra Wilkinson's) reality television show, "Kendra on Top," on We TV in Los Angeles.