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Friday, October 31, 2008

Game 1

It looks like the starting five is
C — Hamidu Rahman
PF —Wendell McKines
SF — Jahmar Young
SG — Gordo Castillo
PG —Hernst Laroche

Don't expect this one to be used much, but good opportunity for Laroche and Castillo to be on center stage and prove themselves.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guards

First off I want to correct a mistake that I have made a couple times leading up to the season. I refer to Robert Lumpkins as a redshirt freshman. Ya, he's not. He's a sophomore transfer from Kilgore College.
That said, that's about all we know about him entering Friday's exhibition game, but he is intriguing at 6-6. If he can shoot as good or better than Paris Carter in his brief stint last year, he would be pretty productive since I think Lumpkins is more athletic and more versatile off the dribble.
We ended up running a breakdown story of all the positions in Thursday's paper:

http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_10856528

But I think the key for this group of guards and something to watch in their exhibition games is how the perimeter players are able to guard the ball. It seems like it takes college players a little longer to catch on defensively so the backcourt players better improve quickly. Menzies and Jahmar Young have each talked about the need to shut down their man either in half court or when they press so its obviously a point of emphasis early on.

I'm also curious to see how Gordo Castillo is used early on. If he knocks down shots, I think he could play a bigger role this season than perhaps people think. I'm glad we will finally have a game to talk about, even if its an exhibition.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Positions

I am going to try to break down every position on the Aggies men's team in the next week.
I wrote a story on the center position where I thought I would start.

http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_10818376

To me, the two question marks entering the season are at the point guard spot and the center position. But it's the center spot that would concern me the most. The Aggies have a number of guards who can play the point if Terrance Joyner or Hernst Laroche take longer to develop, but Hamidu Rahman and Chris Gabriel are all they have at the 5 spot.

The glaring negative to both players is their inexperience, as Rahman sat out last year and Gabriel was in high school. They will both be thrown into the fire this season. As Menzies said in the story, Rahman's strengths are shot blocking and defense. He is extremely long, but will have to get stronger and play stronger in the post. Gabriel seems like a more complete player and a probable starter to me but that's just based on what he did in high school because I haven't seen either of them in action.

Menzies has also talked about playing the two bigs together in some situations this season as both will learn the power forward spot as well. The Aggies would have a pretty solid 3-5 in that case with Gillenwater playing the small forward at 6-8.


There are some solid post players in the WAC at Utah State and if the Louisiana Tech big men are as advertised, all of whom are more experienced than Rahman and Gabriel. Luckily though, both centers know their roles and wont be forcing shots up. If they rebound and defend the paint, that's all you can really ask for at the point.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Women's schedule

Coach Spence and the NMSU sports information department told me that the Aggies have secured a home and home with Michigan, set to begin at home next year during the Thanksgiving Classic, which means non conference home games next year against UNM, Kansas, UTEP and Michigan. Pretty solid

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Key losses

There have been a couple of key losses in wac basketball in the last few days. First, Boise State senior guard Jessica Thompson will reportedly miss the season because of a knee injury, possibly sitting out this year and redshirting Here is a story about her.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/bsusports/story/537274.html


And then I'm sure you know thatthree Nevada players, including Brandon Fields, were suspended by the team late in the week for petty larceny.

Thompson's loss seems like the bigger loss to her team, diluting their backcourt a little bit. I hope that Fields and company are able to come back and was curious what you thought about the situation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What to look for

There are obvious things to look for in Friday's scrimmage...ie. point guard play, center play, wendell mckines.

But I'm also curious to see what Robert Lumpkins is like. I have only seen him shoot around and I know Coach Menzies likes his ability to shoot the ball. His height can help him perhaps play on the wing as well as the shooting guard so there is some versatility there. The bottom line is the team will need another guard who can score I think, even if it's someone coming off the bench, because as much as I like Gordo Castillo, I think his role is to come off the bench for spot minutes strictly as a shooter and Lumpkins seems like more of a complete player.

I'm also curious to see what the game will look like with the new 3-point line. I don't know if a scrimmage will show much, but i'm interested to see if moving it back will open up the paint as much as you hear coaches talk about. There is no doubt the Aggies have shooters who wont be bothered by the further line, it will help separate great shooters from average shooters if anything.

Hamidu Rahman vs. Chris Gabriel. I know i mentioned this at the beginning, but it seems like these two will be battling all season for minutes. It will be interesting to see them if they are matched up against each other.

One thing you won't see for the men's scrimmage is point guard Terrance Joyner. As of Thursday, Joyner was the only player who had yet to be cleared by the NCAA, but I believe the rest of the players will all be on the practice court.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WAC Polls

Here are the official polls
Men's coaches poll
Nevada
Utah State
New Mexico State
San Jose State
Boise State
Louisiana Tech
Hawaii
Fresno State
Idaho

First team
Jonathan Gibson, NMSU
Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech
Armon Johnson, Nevada
C.J. Webster, San Jose State
Gary Wilkinson, Utah State
Second team
Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Brandon Fields, Nevada
Anthony Thomas, Boise State
Tai Wesley, Utah State
Jahmar Young, NMSU
Player of the Year
Armon JOhnson, Nevada


Media
Nevada
Utah State
New Mexico State
Louisiana Tech
Boise State
San JOse State
Fresno State
Hawaii
Idaho

Player of the Year
Gary Wilkinson, Utah State
Newcomer of the Year
Luke Babbitt, Nevada


WOMEN'S COACHES
Boise State
Fresno State
Louisiana Tech
Nevada
New Mexico State
Utah State
Hawaii
San Jose State
Idaho

First team
Dellena Criner, Nevada
Shanavia Dowdell, La. Tech
Tasha Harris, Boise State
Hayley Munro, Fresno State
Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State
Second team
Brandi Fitzgerald, Nevada
Danyelle Snelgro, Utah State
Madison Spence, NMSU
Natalie White, SJSU
Tarkeisha Wysinger, La. Tech

Player of the Year
Criner, NEvada

Women's Media
Boise State
Fresno State
La. Tech
Nevada
NMSU
Hawaii
Utah State
Idaho
San Jose State

All league
Criner, Nevada
Dowdell, La. Tech
Harris, Boise State
Ross, Fresno State
Spence, NMSU

Player of the year
Harris, Boise State

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gabriel cleared

Freshman center Chris Gabriel was cleared on Friday. There was some question as to whether he would be, not because of his grades, but because of moving around a bit. That just leaves Terrance Joyner, who Coach Menzies expects to be able to practice and be available before the semester.

I appreciate the comments regarding the poll, but I'm also curious what you think about the all-league team. You get to pick one MVP, four additional players and a newcomer of the year

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Men's poll

Is there usually this much turnover in a league? Just talking scorers, 11 of the top 15 scorers last year were seniors. Only La. Tech guard Kyle Gibson (7th) and Utah State center Gary Wilinson (13th) return this season. Jordan Brooks isn't on Idaho's roster and JaVale McGee is in the NBA. Well here it goes

Nevada, Love their guards, don't know much about their frontcourt guys though
Utah State, Love their frontcourt, don't know much about their guards though. Wilkinson, Tai Wesley and Tyler Newbold. Wesley is althletic for a 4 and Newbold proved to be a solid shooter (52 percent from 3)
San Jose State, This pick probably won't be popular. All five starters return with a little bit of everything to offer. Tim Pierce is an athletic wing who can take over a game, Chris Oakes an dCJ Webster may be undersized but they are both great rebounders and Justin Graham was injured early last season as well as late. They also beat Utah State last year and played everyone pretty tough at times. It seemed like they kind of ran out of gas though.
New Mexico State. I don't know if everything can come together or not. If it does, they can move up to second, or they can finish lower than fourth. Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson have already proven themselves as scorers and I think Troy Gillenwater is the real deal, but we will have to see.
Louisiana Tech. This could be high, but Rupp has put together a formidable front line with some mammoth transfers that will join guard Kyle Gibson. If it pans out, that's a pretty good start.
Boise State Great point guard. Jamar Greene has potential...another Baltimore guy....and Paul Noonan can shoot the ball, but their lineup isn't as impressive as it was last year
Fresno State
Hawaii
Idaho

Player of the Year Wilkinson. Utah State. Not the most exciting pick, but he could have a field day against some of the interior defenders in the WAC and playing at USU for his second year, I'm assuming he has only gotten better

Newcomer of the Year Luke Babbitt. Nevada. It could also be a La. Tech transfer or even Troy Gillenwater at NMSU, but how many McD's All Americans have come to the league and he has enough talent around him he should be able to be productive.

All WAC
Brandon Fields, Nevada
Jahmar Young, New Mexico State (Could also be Jonathan Gibson, pick one, I think both will have big years)
Kyle Gibson, La. Tech. pure scorer, fun to watch
C.J. Webster, San Jose State. Good around the basket both offensively and on the boards

Women's poll

I believe the preseason media poll/all-conference teams are going to come out next Tuesday but here is the poll that I sent in.
I think 3-5 could have gone in any order and perhaps Utah State and even San Jose State could jump up in the mix. I'm interested to see what changes you would make

Boise State, I think they might have the two best guards in the conference.
Fresno State, Their best players are young. I don't know if they can shoot the 3 at the same pace as they did last year (262 3s) though
New Mexico State, Talented but young. Tyshae Walton is a key I think. We know what she can do in transition but i think she will need to be able to knock down open shots consistently. Madison Spence should also carry more of the scoring load. Newcomers Tabytha Wampler and Areyal LeDeatte and sophomore Danisha Corbett should contribute.
Louisiana Tech, I remember that Shanavia Dowdell was hard to guard in the WAC Tournament, but now she will be without JoKeirra Sneed in the paint. I remember Tiawana Pringle as being a capable guard.
Nevada. Guard Dellena Criner was second in the league in scoring last year.
Hawaii
Utah State
San Jose State
Idaho. I would have picked Idaho higher, but Katie Madison took her 14 points and seven rebounds elsewhere.


Player of the Year Tasha Harris, Boise State
All WAC team
Dowdell. La Tech
Criner. Nevada
Ross. Fresno State
Madison Spence. New Mexico State

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Final offseason move

Well Mick Durham was made official today (Sunday), wrapping up what was another busy offseason at NMSU. Help me out with this, but Herb Pope, Jaydee Luster, Deangelo williams, chris cole, paris carter, johnnie Higgins and Matt Grady left the program in the offseason and Wendell McKines left but came back.

Anyway, there will be a story in Monday's paper and I hope to speak with Durham in the next day or so.