New Mexico State hoops

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Standouts

Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson showed that they will be as advertised so I'm not going to go too much into their performance. All I will say for those who were not in attendance is if they take better care of the ball on the perimeter early and Gibson logs as many minutes as J.Y. and it would have been a massacre. (By the way, Menzies said Gibson was slated to start, but apparently missed a team obligation earlier in the week so hence the limited playing time)

The two players that impressed me were Troy Gillenwater and Hamidu Rahman. I saw Justin Hawkins play on a couple of occasions as a junior and his entire senior season. Some people on the message board were asking if Gillenwater is better than Pope, but I think Hawkins is a better comparison and wanted to see what you thought. I'm not saying right now, but I wonder if Gillenwater as a freshman is comparable to Hawkins his first year. Both are long and I'm sure four years in the weight room and Troy will get stronger as he gets older. Troy may even be better than Hawk in the post because he seems to have a couple inches on Justin. Both can handle the ball, although Troy needs to improve there and Gillenwater seems to have a midrange jumper and a decent stroke from long range. Even the laid back and calm demeanor is similar. Just a thought, but I'll stop there because Gillenwater has a long way to go to become the player Justin was, but physically I saw a lot of similarities.

Hamidu Rahman may have gotten tired toward the latter stages, but he got up and down very well early, outrunning more athletic posts to the spot in the paint and finishing around the basket. He also seems like a good free throw shooter, as did Chris Gabriel, but the centers impressed me, but they still don't know where to throw the ball if they get doubled in the post, but Menzies said that will be addressed in practice this week.

Other notables, Hernst Laroche showed that he can get to the basket and create, but he was also solid on the defensive end. very quick. Wendell McKines will push for a school rebounding record if he puts up numbers like Friday over the next three years, 14 points, 11 boards. Also had four assists and three blocks and he knocked down a couple of jumpers. It was good to finally see the team in action.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like McKines, Young, and Gibson will be better than last year, but remember that we were playing a team that won one game last year. So this will influence the evaluations. I agree with you about Gillenwater, but why are you so surprised? Did you not read the book "The Assist" that Felix recommended last year? Although he did not have a prevalent role in the book, Gillenwater's talents were being raved about in that. Personally, I think he is better than Hawkins already. Both centers are inexperienced, but tag teaming them can make a pretty good center. Lumpkins also had a few moments. The two surprises for me were Laroche and Merker. Laroche is very, very fast and if he continues to drive the lane like he did late in the game, good things will happen. Once the refs give him time to do the practice free throw move(all Canadian point guards must have this, but I actually only know of two such players), he will also be effective at the free throw line, and we do need a point guard. Merker, the senior from tryouts, just seems to know what he is doing and where to be, is willing to set picks against anyone, and looks like he knows the plays better than anyone out there. You can tell he has been schooled well on the playgrounds and it will be a bonus to have him on the team. Castillo and Britt seem to be about the same as last year.
So lets continue to watch and see what happens as they move up into more challenging competition, but it was good to see them playing. I might also point out that Highlands had two standout players, Andrande from Albuquerque and Markevicius from Lithuania. That geographic combination is something you do not often see.

Anonymous said...

NMSU beat highlands last year 110-73, but highlands is going to be a better team this year. They have Chris Dunn who played at Hobbs who signed with Arizona out of high school. NMSU beat them last night 98-73, but remember Gibson, and Gillenwater didn't start, so NMSU could of scored close to what we did last year.

Anonymous said...

I noticed Highland has a freshman shooting guard from Europe who scored 16 points. Is that kid any good?

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Highland other than former LCHS standout, Ladrice Smith. Gillenwater showed some skills. Wendell was great. JY killed. We looked pretty good I'd say.

Corn Dog said...

With this year's youthful look comes a hunger. The 07-08 team at times took "nonchalance" to new heights and it came back to bite at the end. Friday you began to see the O8-09 team's desire to prove themselves, build an identity different from last year's seniors, and make personal improvement to compete in the conference this year or next. No doubt they'll get a taste of defeat and we'll see how they handle adversity as a team, but against this youthful optimism I don't think the WAC teams will be able to hold the Aggies down for long. Call it a rebuilding year if you want to, but you won't convince any of these guys that they're not as good as the rest of the WAC... JG, I'd say Gillenwater might have better pins under him than J Hawk, but I wasn't sitting too close? Justin had that Rick Majerus schooling on spacing and timing, so Hawkins mentally and physically was the complete package. The game might seem too "fast" for Troy until he becomes able to anticipate like J Hawk can. And I agree that Rahman was covering 94 feet surprisingly well for a guy, 6' - 11". Hustle from this year's group in the first exhibition game hints at the underlying attitude that they have something to prove and know it won't come as easy as it did to last year's version. Jimmy likes!

Anonymous said...

Also Note: Nevada, and Utah State both have a lot of new players as well.

Anonymous said...

Crack Corn... good post. I agree completely. It seems as though Menzies is also getting out of that shadow that Reggie cast when he left. This is his team now. The Aggies have a sense of "new life" from a team who under-achieved last year but still won 20 games.

Anonymous said...

Gillenwater better than Pope?
Hard to tell in just one exhibition game, but TG looked more comfortable in his own skin. I wouldn't say Pope had "hands of stone," but the team overall last year had turnover problems and failed to finish many, many easy shots. Maybe it was the pressure Herb felt with all the build-up to him being finally cleared to play? He wasn't the only one missing layups, either. The mentality this year seems to be that there aren't high expectations to live up to and the kids don't feel that they are in the spotlight so much when out on the floor in front of the fans (not like it was packed on Halloween or anything)? Herb was very good and never came anywhere close to his true potential while we saw him play. I predict no upset by WNMU tomorrow night...

Anonymous said...

Good Jack Nixon offering in the Bulletin about Becca Galves' base of operations in the Fulton Center. Coach McCarthy's program might have been saved by this approach? Hopefully future comparisons between Gillenwater and Pope will include GPA! Every program faces attrition due to academics, homesickness, etc. and the Aggies shallow bench leaves no margin for flagging final exams after the tough road trip to Long Beach, Lawrence and Denton. Jack is right to turn the spotlight on "hitting the books" right now, although the hoopsters are never the prime example. What else are you going to do after running suicides at the gym....oh, yeah, play Guitar Hero!! Go 'Becca (no pressure).