New Mexico State hoops


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who should start? Power forward

I would if all things were equal, this spot would be Remi Barry's to lose next season.

But it's not, so this position is easily the biggest question mark in the lineup. But there are certainly numerous players vying for time here.

Barry has always seemed like an offense-first player and at another school, his game would probably be better suited for the small forward. But two years ago, Barry started getting minutes at the power forward position. He had enough size to defend and rebound in the WAC at the four position. Last year, it seemed like Barry had figured it out. He was averaging six points and 3 points in 12 minutes per game and shooting 50 percent from the field. In 9 games he only attempted one 3 pointer before his season ended with a ACL injury against Colorado State. Barry is just now getting back to work and his health is an unknown at this point, but if he's healthy, at least to start the season, I think he's the best option at the power forward position.

After Barry, the experience factor drops to zero. I would put three names here with nobody ever playing a game in college basketball.

Tanveer Bhullar was able to practice with the Aggies last year. The Aggies have experience with two posts with Sim Bhullar and Chili Nephawe. If Tanveer Bhullar is the best option, the Aggies will play him with Newphawe.

Pascal Siakam is a redshirt freshman that coaches and players talked about as impressive in summer workouts. Anthony January was highly recruited, but has played five junior college games in two years and it's unclear if he will qualify academically. Both have been described to me as raw talents with the ball, but their athletic ability and size would fit in well with their ability to run the floor, defend all positions and rebound.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sim Bhullar interview

The Sacramento Kings advanced to today's Summer League semifinals with an 80-61 victory over the Chicago Bulls. Former New Mexico State center Sim Bhullar scored for the first time in Las Vegas and was featured in an on air interview, as was Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, who said Bhullar could have a similar impact in India as Yao Ming did in China.

For what it's worth, he got a lot of airtime on Saturday despite a limited amount of playing time in Vegas. Obviously the fact that the owner is talking about him may mean he intends to keep him, possibly at the D-League level.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who should start? POINT GUARD

The consensus and likely player here is sophomore Ian Baker. For consideration though, I'm going to throw Daniel Mullings out there as well.

Ian Baker showed some promise, standing out to me on the defensive end against San Diego State with 31 minutes, by far his most court time of the season. Baker is a strong guard who showed some potential on the offensive end, but what do we really know about him? Enough to start him likely but I would say that's based just as much on the fact that there is nobody else to really push him at the spot. I like Travon Landry, but he's limited offensively but will be a very nice backup. In 20 games, Baker was 10 of 30 from 3 point range and had nine steals and averaged an assist per game. He certainly passed the eye test, but those numbers aren't overly impressive as he steps into a fulltime starters role.

Daniel Mullings started at point guard for the last six games of the season. It didn't hurt his scoring or shooting percentage. During those six games, he had 25 assists to 14 turnovers, although half of those turnovers were against San Diego State. (Baker had no TOs against SDSU in 31 minutes). Mullings is among the best athletes in the WAC and if he goes on to play professionally, with his size PG could be a likely landing spot. He has said he wants to play the position in the past and I'm sure coaches want to give him a chance to play it.

Point guard has been a weak spot or at the very least a spot of inconsistency since Hernst Laroche. To me, this particular team needs a PG that can provide a consistent scoring threat and the ability to hit open shots. Baker could be the better shooting option, but I'm not one to put him that far above Mullings as an option at point guard. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Who should start?

Now that the roster movement seems to have come to a stand still, I wanted to take an early look at what a starting lineup may look like.

It may not be popular, but I'm going to argue that only two players, Daniel Mullings, and Chili Nephawe, are for sure starters right now. Both should be first team preseason players and Mullings has a good shot at becoming a repeat WAC POY by the end of next season.

In the next week I will look at each position 1 through 5 and throw out two or three names that could be the starter.

But first here is my starting five and I have question marks about all of them except the two names I mentioned before.

PG - Ian Baker
SG - Daniel Mullings
SF - DK Eldridge
PF - Remi Barry
C - Chili Nephawe

Like I said, I will get more into it in the next couple of days. But I wanted to see who you would start for the 2014 Aggies.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sim Bhullar and the Draft

The NBA Draft is Thursday and I believe Sim Bhullar has hopes either Toronto picks him in the second to last pick in the Draft or Sacramento trades to pick up a second-round pick, but that could very well be rumor two days before the Draft.

Bhullar was "Drafted" by the Harlem Globetrotters, but so was Landon Donovan. Not really news but here is the link if you want to read about it. 

Here is an actual link that I found very interesting comparing all of the Centers in Thursday's Draft so you can see where Bhullar compares from a statistical point of view. He doesn't seem to stand out in any category so it will be interesting to see if his size and PR appeal are enough to get him picked.

Bhullar was also featured in a couple videos today, checking in at the No. 5 spot on the YouTube Draft

Friday, June 13, 2014

UPDATED: An extremely early look at some 2014-15 NMSU non-conference opponents

Following is a brief look at the 2014-15 New Mexico State non conference games that I know of and some that I'm fuzzy on at this point.

It seems like both New Mexico and UTEP will have some big question marks next year, maybe even moreso than NMSU. Both teams have added several new players so trying to handicap them in June is difficult but perhaps Aggies fans can hope to catch them before they figure things out.

NMSU students will be in session for three of the four games, although not for the home game against the Lobos.

Outside of that, from what I know thus far, the Aggies schedule is shaping up once again as a quality schedule for the school now they have to take advantage with a win or two.

University of New Mexico:
NMSU at New Mexico; Dec. 3
New Mexico at NMSU: Dec. 20

When I look at New Mexico, it seems Craig Neal is hoping that transfers help his team remain competitive in the Mountain West. After losing the likes of Alford recruits Cam Bairstow, Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams, two of the Lobos best players next year should be junior college transfers Deshawn Delaney and Jordan Goodman. A third transfer, Butler guard Elijah Brown, will join the Lobos next season on the court. Delaney came on last year in the mid-late stages to average five points and four rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Now that the lane won't be clogged up with Kirk and Bairstow, Delaney should have more space to drive. The 6-9 Goodman was a junior college all american out of Harcum Colloge in Pennsylvania. I'm a big fan of senior Hugh Greenwood, not so much on sophomore Cullen Neal, which figures to be the starting backcourt. I'm sure the Lobos will play a faster pace and play considerably smaller next year with a big dropoff in the paint following Bairstow and Kirk.

NMSU at UTEP, Nov. 22:
UTEP at NMSU, Dec. 6:

I think it's possible to sweep the Miners again, unless one of the seven, SEVEN newcomers at UTEP is a stud. Most of them are guards with the top returners to me are Julian Washburn on the wing and Vince Hunter in the post. Aggies fans will also recognize UTEP big men 6-10 Cedrick Lang and 7-1 Matt Willms, who both appeared to me as space fillers last year. I'm sure there is more to the recruited players that Tim Floyd signed, but once again he appears to be rebuilding in El Paso.

Other non-conference opponents
At Wichita State, November 14
Shaky on this one, but if it turns out to be a season opener, it would start what I believe to be the Aggies most solid schedule from a mid-major standpoint. Games at Wichita State, Baylor and St. Mary's will all be extremely difficult, but it's not as harsh as some seasons, and more realistic for an upset than even last year's schedule with dates at Arizona and Gonzaga. Wichita State had four seniors on their 35-1 team from a year ago. They still return a talented group with Fred VanVleet and junior college all american Darius Carter.

At Saint Mary's, TBD ( possibly part of the ESPN 24-hours hoops marathon in mid-November)
NMSU had a nice little series against Saint Mary's in the past. Nice being the fact that Saint Mary's even came to Las Cruces. St. Mary's crushed NMSU in both games. But this is a single game as I understand it.
The best returner on the roster appears to be Brad Waldow, who averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds last year.

At Wyoming, Nov. 29
This is the first of a home-and-home series with the Cowboys slated to return to Las Cruces next year.
The Cowboys were ranked No. 312 in the country with 64.5 points per game. The Cowboys scored 1.03 points per possession last year. By contrast, NMSU averaged 1.12 points per possession. The Cowboys do have one of the better players in the Mountain West in forward Larry Nance Jr., who tore an ACL last year. Guard Josh Gordon is also a top returner for the Cowboys.

At Oral Roberts, December 13
This will be a return game as well for NMSU with Oral Roberts making a return trip to Las Cruces next year. Oral Roberts only had one senior from last year's team that went 10-8 in the Southland

At Baylor, December 17
Baylor was a balanced team last year with Canadian guard Kenny Cherry coming back.
This is a money game for the Aggies, but it's not in the same category as the road contest at No. 1 Arizona or even Gonzaga last year.

vs. Colorado State, December 27
Colorado State returns the Aggies away game from a year ago in which CSU guard Jon Octeus went the length of the court in the final seconds for an 85-83 victory in one of the games on the schedule that NMSU had a realistic chance of winning going into the contest. Octeus left the program, but the Rams return their best two players, JJ Avila, who killed the Aggies with 29 points from the four position, and guard Daniel Bejarano. But like the Aggies, the Rams roster had a lot of turnover in the offseason with five players leaving CSU. Among the new players, the most highly regarded seems to be guard Stanton Kidd, who sat out last year after transferring from North Carolina Central. This should be a winnable game for the Aggies, and to be honest, it needs to be an Aggie win.

Vs. UC-Irvine, January 3
This is a return game with the Aggies playing a game next year at Irvine. This was supposed to be a game featuring 7-5 Sim Bhullar and 7-6 Irvine sophomore Mamadou Ndiaye (7-6, 290 pounds, 8 ppg, 6.2 rpg 3 bpg (8th in NCAA) in 21 minutes per game as a freshman). Fans will have to settle instead for 7-3 Tanveer Bhullar, which I'm sure will suit both schools just fine. Irvine is a fine team at any rate, finishing 13-3 in the Big West last year. A solid home game for the Aggies.

Monday, May 26, 2014

More on the latest three Aggies additions

The Aggies were busy in the last two weeks of the college basketball regular signing period.
New Mexico State had three players sign scholarship agreements, with Bakersfield, Calif., high school player Braxton Huggins signing a national letter of intent on the final day of the signing period on May 21.
“It’s unreal,” Huggins said. “I never thought that I would be signing to a Division I school. New Mexico State reminded me of home. There are not that many distractions. I can just focus on school and basketball. They said I would have a chance to play but it depended on how hard I work and how it goes in practice.”
Five NMSU players from last season’s NCAA Tournament team left the program for various reasons, and the status of former OƱate star Terrel de Rouen is still unclear moving forward. Sim Bhullar left the Aggies after two years to pursue a professional career and seniors Renaldo Dixon and Kevin Aronis finished their eligibility. Point guard K.C. Ross-Miller (Auburn) and Matej Buovac (Sacred Heart) each transferred.
Huggins, a 6-foot-3 guard, as well as 6-foot-1 Toronto, Ontario point guard Rashawn Browne and 6-foot-8 New Orleans, La., native Harold Givens joined the Aggies during the regular signing period between April 16 and May 21.
The latest three additions join Matt Taylor, Jaylyn Pennie, Jonathan Wilkins and Pascal Siakam, who were all on campus last season, as well as Tanveer Bhullar, Sim Bhullar’s younger brother to reload the NMSU roster.
Of the three latest additions, Huggins has the best opportunity to earn a roster spot for 2014-15 season as a player who is already qualified academically. Browne and Givens are already in Las Cruces set to begin the first summer session on Tuesday. Browne said he came to NMSU with the intention of redshirting this year as the Aggies roster already has two sophomore point guards in Ian Baker and Travon Landry. Givens is an intriguing prospect who committed to Florida International in 2013.
Huggins was the prep Player of the Year in Bakersfield last year after averaging 32 points per game and shooting 36 percent from 3-point range for Mira Monte High. Aggies fans can compare Huggins to current Aggies senior DK Eldridge in size and athletic ability. Huggins cleared 6-feet, 9-inches in the high jump of a track meet this season.
“I play quick with a lot of energy and like to get up and down the court,” Huggins said.
Although higher level  schools showed interest throughout the past two years, Huggins ended up going with NMSU over Texas-Pan American and Bakersfield.
Mira Monte coach Scott Smith said schools would offer Huggins but go with another recruit and pull the scholarship offer.
“I just wanted to go somewhere at the end of the day where I was comfortable and New Mexico State gave me a chance to make that a reality,” Huggins said.
Huggins said the Aggies entered the picture in the past month and Huggins and Smith made a visit to Las Cruces a week ago.
“I want to be a part of a winning program and go earn my minutes and work hard,” Huggins said.
Huggins will likely enroll in the second summer session, but Givens and Browne are currently roommates on campus.
Browne played at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Toronto and played for Grassroots Elite, the same AAU program that produced Dixon and former Aggie guard Christian Kabongo.
Browne said NMSU assistant Paul Weir first reached out last summer at an AAU event in Las Vegas. Browne said he had played with Taylor and Tevoun Jackson, the younger brother of NMSU senior Daniel Mullings.
“I knew some of them personally and knew of others who were from my City so I knew it was the place for me,” Browne said. “There is not a lot of NCAA basketball in Canada, but I saw some games. I like the offense, but players get a chance to do their thing in the offense.”
Browne and Givens committed to NSMU without making a visit to Las Cruces. Brown said he had received interest from a number of small schools including Appalachian State, Florida Gulf Coast and Colgate.
“New Mexico State was the most competitive team and successful team that was recruiting me,” Browne said. “That helped in my decision.”
Givens has played different levels of basketball in Georgia, North Carolina and most recently Florida at Faith Baptist Christian, a prep school in Florida, making qualifying a challenge. He committed to Florida International with offers from Louisiana Tech and Murray State after receiving interest from high-major schools early on. Givens averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and five blocks per game at Faith Baptist, he said.
“The competition level was great,” Givens said. “We were playing against schools from California and all over. It was a different experience but it helped me grow as a player.”
Givens moved from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina for the Atlanta area. Givens said grades contributed to de-committing from FIU, but if he is cleared at NMSU, he provides length on the wing at 6-foot-8, who has a game similar to former Aggie Bandja Sy.
“My strengths are my athletic ability,” said Givens, who said his vertical leap has been measured at 46 inches. “My shooting is good but I’m in the gym every day working on shooting, ball handling and awareness.”
Minutes will be hard to come by on the wing behind seniors Mullings (Last year’s Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year) and Eldridge, but whatever production NMSU gets from it’s group of newcomers will be important next season and moving forward.