Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy holidays

I'm going home for the first time for Christmas since I've been here so I won't be attending the next two games and will return next Tuesday. I'll still check the blog to approve comments but likely won't be posting anything so I encourage you to follow Teddy's blog for hoops the next week. Hope everyone has a merry Christmas

Texas Southern

I was at the women's game and Texas Southern was on the floor after the women's game. They look to have some athletic players so they should be a handful for the Aggies under second year coach Tony Harvey, who is trying to get his own players in after taking the job late last year. The coolest thing about this team is that Nick Van Exel is in his first year on the coaching staff. VanExel is one of my favorite players ever and it was crazy for me to see him at the Pan Am. Harvey said they knew each other from working for John Lucas in Houston developing players for NBA camps. Harvey said his team has liked having VanExel around. He's also excited about getting the Aggies to return the trip next season as he said "I've known Marvin a lot time through the business."

A couple notes from the Aggies side. BJ West is a gametime decision (ankle) and Gomez is doubtful (eye)

Now some quotes

Menzies on Troy Gillenwater
"I'm treating it the same as with Wendell. If the powers that be call me and say Troy is cleared also, that would be great news but I have no expectations one way or the other."

Menzies on what getting Wendell back means
"We want to get him back in the flow thats why I started him. He can propbably play more depending on the success during the game. If he is playing well he will play more. The good thing was getting Kelly and Tyrone minutes at the four. It gave me confidence that those guys are confident at that position when they are called upon.

Wendell on going up against guys in practice
"Tyrone has been here one year less than I've been here so I've seen him play. What he did on the court didn't surprise me. B.J. is going to be good. Bandja is going to be special. They just have to learn the system and keep a good work ethic."

NCAA eligibility

Here are the eligibility standards from the NCAA

First Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must pass 24 hours in the fall, spring and summer semesters
4. Must have an overall GPA of 1.8

Second Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 1.8
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must have completed 40% of credits for degree (roughly 52 credits towards degree)
4. Must have an overall GPA of 1.9

Third Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 1.9
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must have completed 60% of credits for degree (roughly 77 credits towards degree)
4. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0

Fourth Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must have completed 80% of credits for degree (roughly 103 credits towards degree)
4. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0

Fifth Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0
After Second Semester
1. Must graduate

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thoughts on Wendell's return

I'm sure you all have a lot to say now that Wendell is back so here is your forum.

I have a story coming out on him for Wednesday's paper, but I sat with him for 10 minutes or so after the game, and there was humility there. I'm not even disappointed about the technical that he picked up. He said he needed it and I would argue that is what the Aggies needed — toughness and a motor that nobody else in the WAC has.

I saw that GS thought that he shouldn't have started on Monday and I agreed, but then I thought that now that he's back, how much time should he sit? Wouldn't you want him out there? Not only does he make the Aggies starting 5 pretty formidable, but the guys on the bench are where they belong as role players. BJ West, Tyrone Watson, Bandja Sy and Gordo can come in and fill their roles now instead of having to produce night in and night out.

Alcorn St. game

Wendell McKines led the Aggies onto the floor for pregame warmups after he was declared eligible earlier this afternoon. He has been practicing all season so we should see him.

De'Shawn Gomez isnt dressed but he's on the bench. I'll check on that after the game

11-0 NMSU 1557
Not only did he start, but McKines has three assists. One coming off an offensive rebound along the baseline where he threw it out to Gibson for a 3 at the top of the key

18-8 NMSU 1154
There was an intriguing lineup in the game for a second with West and McKines in the game together. It looked like B.J. tweaked his ankle though and had to come out.

52-35 NMSU Half
Young is one point off 1000 with 10 points in the first half. Gibson has 13 and Alcorn is horrible.

McKines is back

I found out that McKines was declared eligible by an eligibility committee on Monday and will be able able to play tonight against Alcorn State.

Both Braun Carwright and McKinley Boston have repeated that all students have the ability to appeal grades and that both Wendell and Troy are going through that process

Wendell McKines

Prior to the Aggies game at UTEP, I asked Wendell about his academic status. He said that he had to appeal a grade and that he was trying to be patient.

I spoke with McKinley Boston today (Monday), who said that he hadn't heard anything official regarding McKines getting a grade changed and returning to the court sometime this week, either tonight or on Wednesday when the University closes down until after the holidays.

"I haven't heard anything official but I'm hopeful," Boston said.

Boston couldn't get into a specific student's academic situation, but he said "All students have the ability to work with a faculty member to appeal their academic issues. They are in that process as far as I know."

Gillenwater is also involved in an appeal process, but Boston couldn't go into specifics.

The sense that I've had since grades came out is that Troy's situation is more involved than Wendell's. But that's just my opinion.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Alcorn State

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — UTEP led by as many as 64 points Saturday en route to a 101-41 drubbing of winless Alcorn State. The Miners (6-2) went ahead 43-20 at halftime and steadily added to their lead, which reached 101-37 with 2:40 left in the game.
Derrick Caracter scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures for UTEP, which shot 59 percent (38 for 64) from the field. Jeremy Williams added 19 points, followed by Arnett Moultrie and Christian Polk with 13 each, Randy Culpepper with 12 and Claude Britten with 10. JaMarkus Holt had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Alcorn State (0-11), which shot just 30 percent from the field (16 for 54) and committed 27 turnovers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Aggies split in Cali

Good win for the Aggies. I never felt like the Wave would get over the hump and that says something about the Aggies holding them off each time they came back. Young and Gibson did what they needed to do and what they will continue to do. Rahman had a career high 17 boards and Watson continued to play well. Hopefully Watson continues to get minutes because Rahman is eventually going to need some help.

Good win for the Aggies after tuesday night. I guess the road trip was a success, splitting two games, but as GS said in a previous post, the inconsistency is about the only consistent thing about this team so far.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I remember saying that without Troy or Wendell on the team, the Aggies would be 2-5. How is this team going to compete in the WAC now?

Just for argument sake, I'll give Menzies a pass on the in-game side of coaching because it's one part of running a program. Albeit a significant one.

The other big part of being a college coach seems to be recruiting.

I thought it was hard to understand the fire Menzies passions of NMSU fans, but if a bad conference season follows a bad non-conference schedule, how much time does he have seriously? He's not bringing in the talent that can carry a program. The two that he did bring in aren't playing and unless something drastic changes, who knows if or when they will return. He already walked into an APR nightmare and he's down a scholarship. To me, Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater are two of my favorite guys on the team in terms of candidness in interviews and how they play and it's unfortunate what they are going through. Jonathan Gibson and Jahmar Young probably could have left but elected to stay. Hamidu Rahman put in a lot of work to get better and he's posting some good numbers.

But are the rest of the Menzies guys anything to build on once JY and Gibson graduate?
To bring in one or even two project guys such as Sy, N'Doye, Nephawe next year...great. But these are the guys that are being called on to help win games. At a place like NMSU or any other WAC school, I think you need to mix in a JC guy or a D-I transfer to keep a high level throughout, but either Menzies isn't interested in building like that or those players won't play for him. It's unfortunate because it puts a ton of pressure on guys like JY and Gibson and pretty much asks them to sacrifice a year here or there while the younger guys get their feet wet.

There is a third factor to being a good college coach which is leadership. You can't blame a 32 point loss on a lack of prep time nine games into the season because if they are tired now, what is it going to be like in the thick of WAC play?

Monday, December 14, 2009

UTEP wrap

From my understanding, all of the players who played in Sunday's win at UTEP are in L.A. so I don't think the Aggies will lose additional players this season.

Also for those of you who care, the Aggies are 8.5 point dogs at UCLA.

Here are some quotes as I clean out my notebook from the UTEP game:

Marvin Menzies on his reaction to the ejection in the first half
"I can't think of another adjective that would describe my level of surprise but it was heightened."

Menzies on what he did after leaving the floor
"I was on a text-a-thon mission with (wife) Tammy. We were going back and forth texting the score. I listened to the silent cheers. I could tell how we were doing by the lack of noise at times. I could tell when our guys went to the line. You could hear the crowd and then it got silent. We call that the silent cheers and when you go on the road, you play for silent cheers and I was a full participant in that tonight."

What he did at halftime
"I met with the staff and covered a few Xs and Os things and then just talked about the emotional piece and about going back out and playing with an even keel and not getting too wound up.

"I'm happy with the way the guys were at halftime and their demanor. It was a real positive step for us in the right direction."

Thoughts on the game
"I guess the key to winning here is to get kicked out of the game. It was Randy (Culpepper) last year and they won and I got kicked out this year.

"We have a lot of talent and that hasn't shown until tonight for the first time. But we hadn't been jelling and our chemistry hasn't been good on the floor. Off the floor, it's been great but there were too many guys trying to carry the team with Troy and Wendell out. It was a good opportunity to share the ball."

On starting Gibson on the bench and his play
"It was a matter of rotaion. I felt like we needed to have more of a defensive focus on Julyan Stone. What we wanted to do was apply more pressure on him consistently. I felt like Gib combined with Hernst could do a good job. Everybody was still in the mix. We have to continue to get those young guys better but that was the role for Gib tonight. Every game is different."

Jahmar Young, who said he was inspired after watching the 30 in 30 ESPN series piece on The U football program
On players reaction to Menzies' ejection
"We had to bring it together as a team. We can't look over at coach and had to run a lot of stuff on the fly because they were denying us. Coach Mick (Durham) would say one play and they took it right away so we jelled as a team on the fly."

On his play in the second half
"The team just trusted me and we knew if we got the big guys out, a big guy can't check me to therefore Hamidu did a good job spreading out on screens. Hernst did a great job of spacing away and Gib did a great job spacing away as well as Gordo so I could find those guys coming off a screen. If not, they had to foul me."

On the team's play, with 12 turnovers
"It's not to say that we don't turn it over because we play fast but knowing that we can play fast without turning it over is always a positive."

Gillenwater, McKines appear to be out for year

From the story to appear on Tuesday
McKines, Gillenwater to miss remainder of season
By Jason Groves
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — According to a New Mexico State official, Aggies basketball players Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater will not return to the court for the second semester.
“We have determined that the status of Troy and Wendell will remain the same as it was in the fall semester,” said Braun Cartwright, compliance officer at NMSU.
Cartwright said that university officials meet on Jan. 12 to certify grades for all student athletes for the spring semester.
“If we need to meet before then for Wendell or Troy before that, we will call an emergency meeting,” he said. “As of (Monday), there is no need to meet after reviewing the information that I reviewed today.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

UTEP game

BJ West and Abdoulaye Ndoye are dressed and went through warmups

Watson and Castillo getting the start tonight

16-9 UTEP 1513
It's been a better start than the last time the Aggies played this team. But UTEP scored on seven of their first nine possessions and the Aggies have turned it over four times.

21-15 UTEP 1154
BJ West checked in at 1224.
The Aggies are in the one and one at this point with Gibson about to step to the free throw line. I'd be worried about Rahman. UTEP has thrown in a number of post players and Rahman just now left the game.

29-28 UTEP 7:55
Menzies was ejected with 9:57 left in the first half after Young was apparently fouled in transition. Menzies was given a technical as players traveled up the court and received an additional as he walked away from the offical.
The Aggies are on a 7-0 run after the four free throws from the double tech put the Miners up nine. Gibson is at the line with a chance to give the Aggies their first lead.

39-33 UTEP 313
NMSU went on a 10-2 run after Menzies was ejected to take their first lead. Mick Durham took over the coaching duties. UTEP's Jeremy Williams hit a couple 3sas the Miners are now on a 8-0 run

45-35 UTEP half
A pretty inspired 5 minute period by NMSU after their coach got tossed, but UTEP closed the first half on a 12 run in the last 432

67-62 UTEP 654
This is probably the best game the Aggies have played. EP Times reporter Bill Knight said its the Miners worst. The Aggies have closed to within 2 and 3 but it seems the Miners have answered each time. Gordo hit back-to-back 3s to make it a 5-point game.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is UTEP the best team the Aggies play this year?

I think so.
I haven't seen all of the NMSU games in person but UTEP has stood out to me. Regardless of the competition they have played, they seem like a team who could do some things in C USA this season.

Speaking to Tony Barbee prior to the first NMSU/UTEP game, he talked about how it takes time to build the kind of team he wanted. He said that it's hard to get the support and patience that it takes to build a program. That is a comparison to NMSU, but Barbee's teams have improved throughout his three years while the Aggies have been up and down.

Barbee wanted to build a team where you couldn't focus on one particular player and despite losing Stefon Jackson, the Miners are better.

The Miners have six players who average at least eight per game. Their best player and leading scorer, power forward Arnett Moultrie, didn't even need to have a good game against the Aggies on Dec. 1 but he is leading the Miners with 13 and 6 per game. I believe that Moultrie and UTEP point guard Julyan Stone are the best players the Aggies will play against at those positions this year. With the possible exception of Luke Babbitt, who has a better perimeter game and shooting touch than Moultrie right now.

Some of UTEP's stats that stood out to me:

Second in C USA with 80.2 ppg, second in scoring margin, beating their opponents by 19.8 per game, first in field goal percentage, shooing 49 percent before adding Derrick Caracter and field goal percentage defense at 36 percent.

I think UNM is having a good year and would love to see the two regional teams play this year, but even though the MIners' schedule hasn't been that tough, they are athletic, talented and deep and their early schedule has given them some confidence early, which can't be understated.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nothing yet

As of 5:20 p.m., there wasn't enough documentation to make a decision regarding Wendell and Troy. I'm not really surprised since things tend to move slowly here. What this does mean is that neither can play on Sunday, which also shouldn't come as a total shocker. I hope to talk with Coach Menzies this evening and will let you know if I'm able to get a story online before Saturday practice. In addition to B.J. West earlier this week, redshirt guard Jacoby Patton and center Abdoulaye N'Doye were cleared.

Monday, December 7, 2009

There is one rule for posting on this blog entry

Normally I publish all comments. I don't like anon posts but I do like that people like posting here.

For this particular subject, you have to sign your name. Since everyone seems to know if Troy or Wendell will or will not return, consider this your place on this blog to discuss this topic. If you're a student, professor or someone with some actual knowledge on the topic, I don't think asking for a name behind your comment is too much to ask but everyone seems to know for sure and I don't even know.

Getting the grades for students is impossible, and I think it's illegal but I'm not sure. I do know that asking Coach Menzies consistently, he finally said on Monday that both guys are 50-50 to return and since professors aren't required to turn in final grades until Tuesday I believe, assuming they will be on the court on Sunday is a huge leap of faith.

West cleared

I learned the BJ West was cleared to play on Monday and is expected to practice when the Aggies return to the practice court on Tuesday. I will have a story later this afternoon.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rock bottom?

After the game, Menzies said that it was possible that Troy and Wendell could play on Sunday at UTEP. How much difference will it make? 58 points for the second straight game. Teams are zeroing in on JY and Gibson and Hamidu was off tonight. It just seems like there is too much one-on-one going on in the halfcourt. I'm all for it and the Aggies guards can do it but they seem predictable to me right now. That's all I have right now. I have to drive home after being in Albuquerque for 12 straight hours after driving up for the state championship football game earlier in the day. I'll post some quotes sometime Sunday. Now some notes:

The Lobos have defeated the Aggies five straight, the longest run since winning seven straight from 95-99

UNM has defeated NMSU seven straight times at the Pit, their longest streak in the series since 10 straight from 41-51

UNM's 15 steals were a season high, led by Roman Martinez's five

NMSU was the second team this season to outrebound UNM (36-32)

UNM is 45-2 in its last 47 non-conference games at the PIT where they won for the 15th straight time on Saturday


UNM apparently sold this game out from what I've been told. of course there are less seats with the renovation project

Tyrone Watson in the starting lineup for Lumpkins....I know some of you have been calling for that

11-5 UNM 11:48
The Lobos are playing zone of course....Hamidu has had a couple looks but hasn't had anything fall and the Lobos are getting open 3s against NMSU. They just havent started falling yet.

33-13 UNM 349
JY and Gibson are the only Aggies with a field goal ... The Lobos pushed out to 33-10 with a 24-7 run, basically just rebounding Aggies misses and limiting them to one shot

18 points!!!
The NMSU men's basketball team scored 18 points in the first half. Only two players had field goals. 41-18 UNM at half

63-45 UNM 758
NMSu made it a 15-point game. Their offense is predictable and if they arent making shots or running, they dont have much of a halfcourt game either....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's getting rough

The Aggies were beaten to the ball, outrebounded by 10, seven on the offensive glass and UTEP scored 27 points off turnovers.
Menzies did put this one on his own shoulders, which was interesting to see because I can't remember him doing that...and making it a point a couple times to back it up.

To add insult to injury, Tuesday was the Miners biggest victory in Las Cruces since a 70-51 win in 1963. The previous big win at the Pan Am was 75-59 in 1972. And the Miners did it without Moultrie, their best player, not really even engaged once the Miners pulled away.

Tonight showed that if the Aggies have any hopes of having a good season, JY and gibson can't have a bad night, which they did tonight and probably will again.


Some comments from Aggies assistant Mick Durham
On Moultrie
"I think he is the featured guy now, not to take anything away from Culpepper. Last year as a freshman he wasn't too much of a factor but now with a year under his belt, his game is expanding. They do a lot of dribble drive motion that comes from Memphis. He is on the perimeter handling the ball but he is still around the high post and the low post. I think his shooting will get better as years go on."

It also sounds like the Aggies will play more man this year and that slowing point guard Stone is important. Off the bench, the Miners have jc transfer Jeremy Williams (6-7, 215) at power forward and Isaac Gordon as a guard off the bench. Gabriel McCulley, a wing, has been injured and 6-7 freshman guard Marcus Ruppel will also get some minutes.

"They spread you out and try to penetrate. We didn't play man last year but we might mix it up more this year. DJ (graduated senior guard Stefon Jackson) scared us last year so we played more zone."

UTEP 11-2 15:23
Aggies still havent had a field goal or even a clean look. UTEP's pressure is impressive so far

NMSU made it 3-point game and started shooting freethwos with 13 minutes left in the first half

UTEP 33-19 339 Stone is a tough matchup for NMSU. hes scored the last six points. NMSU closed to within two but a 10-0 utep run opened it back up

UTEP 39-24 at half
UTEP outscored NMSU 22-9 in the last eight minutes...NMSU was 28 percent in the first half

UTEP 71-47 5:15
JY and Gib are struggling....not a good night for NMSU. And Bandja Sy still has a lot to learn...apparently about the game as well after trying to save a backcourt violation, even though it was on an inbounds

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Randy Culpepper led Texas-El Paso with 18 points in a 79-58 victory over New Mexico State on Tuesday at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M.
UTEP junior guard Julyan Stone added 17 points and Chrisitan Polk added 11 to help UTEP start 5-0 for the first time since a 6-0 start in 2000-01.
Jahmar Young led the Aggies with 17 points.
UTEP (5-0) never trailed and led by as many as 18 in the first half. The Miners outscored NMSU 22-9 in the last eight minutes of the first half, including a 19-5 run where the Aggies (2-4) didn’t score a field goal.
The Aggies closed to within 13 early in the second half, but the Miners extended their lead to 21 with 13:27 left after outscoring NMSU 13-9 in the first 6:30 of the second half and led by 27 late in the second half.
The Miners shot 44.3 percent for the game, holding the Aggies to 28.6 percent.
UTEP outrebounded NMSU 48-38 and scored 27 points off 17 NMSU turnovers.

Babbitt, Johnson to stick around

RENO, Nev. — Nevada basketball coach David Carter says he anticipates sophomore forward Luke Babbitt and junior guard Armon Johnson will be back with the Wolf Pack next season. But Carter told about 250 boosters in Reno on Tuesday he doubts Babbitt will stay for his senior year and he thinks there’s a chance Johnson will bolt for the NBA at the end of this year. He says Johnson is going to evaluate his situation at the end of the season and if he looks like he would be a first-round pick, will probably try his luck in the draft. Carter says he’d love to have Babbitt back for two more seasons but would be very surprised if that happened.

Monday, November 30, 2009

UTEP notes and quotes

First of all, the Aggies are 1.5 point underdogs on Tuesday so perhaps the folks in Vegas aren't sold on the Miners' competition yet either.

UTEP forward Arnett Moultrie continues to be a NBA Draft prospect. This board has him as high 10th ahead of some big names including Luke Babbitt, Paul George, Magnum Rolle, Sylvester Seay and Roderick Flemings.

While speaking to UTEP coach Tony Barbee today, he compared Jahmar Young to former UTEP star Stefon Jackson. I think it's a good comparison. Maybe Jackson had a little more athleticism but JY is a better shooter in my opinion.
"Neither was a great shooter but they are both just scorers. He is just like Stefon because he has an ability to create fouls on whoever his opponent is and that reminds me of DJ."

Here is JY's response
"I thank Coach Barbee for the accolade. I'm an east coast guard and so is DJ. He is from up the street 45 minutes away. Just that east coast toughness."

Here are some thoughts from Marvin Menzies
UTEP point guard Julyan Stone is a triple double waiting to happen. He's averaging 11, 7 and six assists per game with just a handful of turnovers. It will be interesting to see how his size (6-6) gives the Aggies any problems since Laroche and Gib are both at 6-foot.
"He's long and very athletic. It's not just having big point that can't maneuver defensively. He's a very good defender. In that sense it could cause problems on the defensive end but I think we will be OK. Our offense is really based on defensive reads anyway so depending on how they play us, we will hopefully make the right decisions."

I asked coach about playing man-to-man, which they have looked good in at times recently, although not against teams as talented as UTEP.
"We got to get better at it so we have been playing it. It's something we plan on doing a lot this year so we have to keep doing it to get better at it."

Hamidu Rahman on the UTEP rivalry
"I feel that this is going to be bigger than the UNM game. They are our next door neighbors so we have to get ready for it."

Rahman on how good UTEP is
"They are not taking crazy shots like they were last year. They were taking shots from halfcourt last year. Moultrie is better. They iso him on the top of the wing in the film that I watched."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another perspective on the A&T game

This one from The Mid-Majority, an awesome blog you probably know about but if you don't, check it out. Interesting note that NMSU is 11th nationally with 79.9 possessions per game.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


well there weren't many people there so I don't know who saw the Aggies 84-68 victory on Thursday. But here is what I noticed.

First the bad I guess. A&T somehow found a way back into the game, but before you get worried and start calling for another Menzies firing, they just got hot from 3-point land for a stretch of about nine or 10 minutes. The bottom line is A&T isn't a good team at all. They just rely on the 3. I don't know if it's their coaching style or what, but it's horrible to watch.

The good thing about it was unlike the Fullerton game, the Aggies didnt get caught up shooting the 3 quickly. They still shot 30 but they were all open looks. But when they needed to score, they either gave Rahman a touch down low to run some clock, or pushed the pace and got open in transition.

I also wanted to mention a couple of role players who will eventually have a say in how the Aggies do this year.
Gordo struggled tonight, shooting 1 for 9 from long distance. Coach Menzies said that he told Gordo to keep shooting it though so hopefully he comes out of his slump soon.

DeShawn Gomez got some good minutes in the first half. He finished with a triple , two rebounds and two assists and two turnovers (in the second half) in eight minutes. He found Gibson on penetration and knocked down an open 3 of his own. He is going to have to continue to play well because Laroche (2 points, five assists 0 TOs) can't play 40 minutes a night

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Numbers don't lie...here are some that proved to be truthful.

40 — the point turnaround on Tuesday. NMSU led 25-3 with 9:58 left in the first half. They led by four at halftime but trailed by 18 at 60-42 with under 13 to play. Here is what it sounded like the Aggies offense was going during the 26-7 Fullerton run in the first 7:30 of the first half. Titans score (they scored on 11 of their first14 possessions in the second half). Aggies come back, put up a shot in the first 8 seconds of the shotclock, miss.

19 and 12 - Hamidu Rahman's point total and rebounds at Fullerton. Rahman was too much for the Titans it sounded like, fouling out their starting center. He scored seven straight points for the Aggies helping the Aggies pull to within four late in the second half. He got the Aggies back into it...with the help of the 3-point shot, but then was quickly forgotten as the Aggies got 3 happy.

Most astounding.... 7 of 35 — The Aggies 3-point shooting (20 percent) After Gibson hit the triple to make it 74-70, the Aggies shot and missed from long range on the next three possessions. The Titans meanwhile, outscored NMSU 10-3 in the last 1:46, hitting 6 OF 10 at the line during that stretch. Live by the 3 die by the 3 I guess.

25-10 — The Titans assists advantage and the 3-point stat bears that out. There wasn't patience on the offensive end in a game that was winnable.

Watson situation wrapped up

Tyrone Watson will be able to play in games again next week I found out. NMSU discovered that Watson only played in three city league games in August so the NCAA said he would be suspended for three games in a one-for-one situation, which means he will be able to play next Tuesday against UTEP.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Here is my story on Tuesday's game at Fullerton.

I was just hoping to hear what you would like to see from the Aggies. Personally, I'm not expecting a win. Tyrone Watson will not play on Tuesday, cutting even more into depth and it sounds like this front line is even better and more experienced than the Lobos, which gave the Aggies trouble. Hopefully the Aggies can find someone else to score, maybe Laroche, who seemed like he's looking for and more confident in his shooting thus far. Obviously defensively there is room for improvement. I don't think it will be a blowout, but I would imagine fans just want to see a better effort level?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Okla. Pan handle vs NMSU

45-35 Aggies at half
Gibson is on pace for a career game with 21 points in his 100th game at NMSU

Gibson scores 30 in 83-73 win for New Mexico State
Eds:APNewsNow. New Mexico State 83, Oklahoma Panhandle State 73.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Jonathan Gibson scored a career-high 30 points Saturday to lead New Mexico State to an 83-73 victory over Division II Oklahoma Panhandle State.
Gibson, a senior playing in his 100th game at New Mexico State, became the 25th player in school history to top the 1,000-point mark for his career.
New Mexico State (1-2) led by 10 at halftime and extended the lead to 56-41 with a 9-4 run early in the second half. New Mexico State led by as many as 20 in the second half and shot 47 percent from the floor in the game.
Reggie Lassiter led Oklahoma Panhandle State (0-3) with 17 points. Panhandle State stayed close in the first half with five 3-pointers, but shot just 41.9 percent from the field in the game.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Watson to sit

Redshirt freshman forward Tyrone Watson will not play today after NMSU ruled him ineligible on Friday afternoon.
NMSU officials were alerted to Watson’s participation in a non-sanctioned summer league in Las Cruces. The violation required NMSU to act immediately pending NCAA review.
The violation was submitted on Friday and the Aggies are hopeful Watson can play on Tuesday when the Aggies travel to Cal State Fullerton.
“If we find out he is OK on Monday, then he has already had his suspension,” Menzies said. “He could be good to go Tuesday or not. We don’t know right now.”
Basketball players need written permission from NMSU and the league needs to be sanctioned by the NCAA. NMSU is hoping the NCAA will consider and rule on Monday so Watson could easily be available on Tuesday at Fullerton.

Aggies should get first win

The Aggies should get a win against a sub-par Division II Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday. Some weaknesses have certainly been exposed but I think the biggest thing the Aggies can get from Saturday's game is a lot of minutes for guys like Bandja Sy, Tyrone Watson and Gomez. Those three will have to give NMSU quality minutes from here on out with or without Gillenwater or McKines.

Menzies believes the Aggies defensive woes are three-fold.
"One is that we played two really good teams. Two is that we haven't done a good job at all of following the scouting report. Three, our fundamentals, which we have actually been working on extremely hard and have actually looked pretty decent in practice at times haven't carried over into the games yet. You have to keep working on them. We've added more things and placed more of an emphasis on defense. We were already on the heavy end of it. I don't have a lot of offensive stuff in at all right now. We knew that coming into the year so it's disappointing to go out and not perform better defensively. It's already disappointing to lose but then when you lose because you're not doing a good job at what you have been working on, that's disheartening. I do think we will get better at it. We are quick and athletic but you have to bring a lot more to it than that."

It's possible BJ West could redshirt
"We are trying to make it happen. The longer it takes it makes it more challenging for him to contribute. We haven't got to that point yet so I'm not worrying about it right now."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another loss to UNM

I can very easily see New Mexico State going 2-5 before Troy Gillenwater or Wendell McKines return. We have heard about depth on the team but I don't see it after the first two games. Rahman can only play so many minutes and right now Bandja Sy isn't ready to contribute. I could see how at some point he could but not this year. His length bothered Roman Martinez for about 10 seconds on one possession in the first half before Martinez took him down low and got fouled. Lumpkins played better but he missed some shots and got lost on some key defensive possessions in the second half.

UNM has better athletes on the front line right now with more length. The Aggies held their own on the defensive boards with the Lobos winning 29-26, but UNM had 12 offensive boards, including Will Brown's over the back follow that made it 86-78 with 3:13 to play. Hernst (who played great) missed a 3 the next time down. NMSU made it 86-80, but McDonald tapped in another follow with just over two minutes.

Again, I'm not calling out Sy, Lumpkins or Watson. They are D I role players right now. With Wendell in the game, Martinez doesn't get to the basket that easy and those offensive boards don't happen. I hope they can come back because if they don't, as great as JY and Gibson are (and for 10 minutes they were unguardable) it won't be enough.

The Aggies have a road game at Fullerton a team that is better this year, UCLA, at the Pit, where no current Aggie has won, and two games against UTEP, who I believe were picked third in the C-USA and have real depth in the post. It's hard to ask the starters to do much more, all five played at least 24 minutes. Hernst can't come out of the game. At one point, Teddy asked me why Jonathan was out in the second half. I told him he can't play 48 minutes. He may have to in order to keep the Aggies in games until.....


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Not much of a crowd 20 minutes before tip but the students are here.

30 Martinez
00 Hardeman
1 hobson
23 mcdonald
5 gary

32 rahman
24 Lumpkins
1 Young
22 Gibson
13 laroches

UNM 14-8 1527
UNM on a 9-3 run, mcdonald has got some good looks in trans, mcdonald hit a 3 from the corner just before the timeout to score five straight. nmsu started in its zone. we will see how long that lasts

UNM 21-13 11:51
Mcdonald has scored 10 already, mostly in transition and mostly open. Hamidu Rahman has some offensive boards but he cant hit a free throw.

UNM 31-20 716
The Aggies talk about challenging shots, but the Lobos hit 8 of 12 to open the game and Dobson just beat them down the floor for an and-1 to try to open the biggest lead of the game out of the timeout

UNM 41-27 347
Hamidu Rahman isn't getting any help from his guards. Rahman leads NMSU with 12 in the first half. UNM is shooting 61 percent and have hit seven 3s

UNM 52-36 half

59-48 1542
After scoring four points in the first half, JY has woken up with a pair of and-1 in the first four minutes. maybe some easy buckets and free throws will get him going.

UNM 68-67 1034
Young and Gibson woke up. aggies on a 30-15 run, young has scored 14

UNM 75-73 7:53
The Agggies took a brief four point lead which was just their second since first two minutes of the game. Martinez has answered everytime the Aggies want to take control

UNM 82-76 3:47
Young just picked up his fourth foul so the Lobos are going to the line with 347 to play

97-87 Lobos

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving right along

A couple notes about Tuesday's game.
First of all, Menzies said it's possible that Robert Lumpkins will start at the four spot. I think Sy will be better coming off the bench right now anyway but he could end up being the guy if once he finds his comfort zone. The bench will be important for the Aggies this season and Sy adds some athleticism and length off the bench.

Teddy Feinberg is going to be on here during the game with updates so check that out and comment during the game if you can't make it to the Pan Am.

For those of you that I know will ask, BJ West and N'doye won't play and have not been cleared.

On paper, it seems like the Aggies have the experience and size edge, but Menzies says not so fast.

"When we sub Hamidu out, we really take a hit at the five in terms of size and they have an advantage. You have to look at the whole 40 minutes, not the 27 that Hamidu is going to play. There is an opportunity for us to go head to head and see who wins. But it's like that every position. From the point guard, where they have a very good point guard, to the four man where we don't have a lot of experience and they have a senior who is an all conference player. It's going to be a good matchup because all of the pieces are all over the place. Their marquee guys are our marquee guys are at different positions."


Three seems to be the longest win streak either team can muster in recent years. The Lobos current streak is their second three-game streak since 03-04. The Aggies won three straight from 02-03. The last time either team won more than three was during a seven-game Lobos run from 95-jan. 2 of 99.

Neither Alford or Menzies really say too much about the rivalry other than it's nice to win against the other school in your state. Here is an interesting take from Alford on why winning this particular rivalry isn't as crucial in terms of building a program against the other.

"To us, it's just like any other game but it's the rivalry in our state. In the three years I've been here, there is not that much impact in recruiting. I don't think we have ran into any situation the three years I've been here where we were going after the same kid. It seems that we recruit in different circles and go after different kids. At the same time it's a same state rivalry and to win those games is always nice."

Menzies has a unique situation at NMSU where he has four games automatically scheduled for him every year. That can be a good or a bad thing for all parties involved but for the most part, all three teams are competitive.

"When I first got here I didn't think it made much of a difference but the more and more I evaluate it and look at your ability to not have the flexibility that you would like in scheduling. Every year, you have four games that are already scheduled for you and that's rare in any situation. I can't think of one other or that I've been around that is four games already scheduled for you. It ties your hands a little bit. I'm a team player and if that's what the powers that be want, I'll do it. It's pretty clear that's what has existed and what is going to exist. On the flip side, you know you're always going to have four quality games and if you do well, it works in your favor."

I don't know if the UNM series will continue to be the second game, but I'm certain the rivalry games will not be scheduled without the student body in the future like last season.

"I would always like to play UNM and UTEP when we have our students here.I think that's a huge advantage to have your students come out. They are always boisterous and bring a lot enthusiasm and energy to the crowd. That's a big plus. (The Lobos) do a phenomenal job in Albuquerque with their fan base so we have to meet the challenge and try to match that same passion with our fans. I think scheduling early will help us in that direction."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

One to forget

I'm not going to pile on. That was a disappointing performance from my perspective and I couldn't imagine how fans, players or coaches are feeling. Here is a Menzies quote...

"Every loss is disappointing but we missed an opportunity in a sense that we had a chance to get a road win against a quality team that will have a good RPI."

For those of you who read the Sun-News, I wrote a story last week on guards Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson. I feel like with the Aggies eligibility situation, Young and Gibson have to not only play well, but they have to play extremely well in order for the Aggies to not only compete, but to win games. I think both guys played OK and you can't really take their stats too seriously in such a lopsided game. The reason I think they have that on their shoulder is because the four-spot is invisible. It's not Bandja Sy's Kelly Merker, Robert Lumpkins or Tyrone Watson's fault because the Aggies need to play someone at that spot, but to get seven points and seven rebounds from the position puts a lot of pressure on Gibson, Young and Rahman.

Rahman could have a big night against the Lobos since they are also struggling to find an interior player but Young and Gibson have to be better every single night for this team right now and can't get off to a slow start like they did Friday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scouting St. Mary's

Robert Lumpkins practiced on Thursday and will play tonight as will Kelly Merker, Bandja Sy and even wing Tyrone Watson. Lumpkins was nursing an ankle injury but is expected to play.

I spoke with assistant coach Mick Durham, who said that the Gaels go through 6-11, 260 pound center Omar Samhan. Samhan does have a bit of a challenge though because he doesn't have an experienced player in the frontcourt with him after Diiamon Simpson, who was a three-time first team WCC forward, graduated. The Aggies will need to get into transition and knock down the open shots because Samhan ranked 40th in the country last year in blocks per game. The experience factor should also be interesting because St. Mary's have three fifth-year seniors on the roster. junior guard Mickey McConnell replaced Pat Mills early in the season last year and now runs the show. Duram believes freshman Matt Dellavedova (one of three newcomers from Australia) will back him up and can shoot better than Dellavedova. McConnell and Dellavedova could be the starting backcourt when the Gaels come to Las Cruces next year. St. Mary's had scrimmages against Washington and Nevada.

Here are some comments from St. Mary's ninth-year coach Randy Bennett, who has spent his entire career at St. Mary's, starting with his relationships in Australia when he was an assistant coach at St. Louis and he brought Andrew Latimer over.
"If you are not one of the big bigs and in one of the big conferences, you have to find different areas to recruit. Somehow you have to find good players. There are lots of good coaches in this country and what is hard to find is good players, good kids who are good students. For us we found a niche and have established with a pretty good name. Marvin has done that too in Africa. Nowadays it's a global game and if you have a strong connection you have to tap into it. (Latimer) helped me know who to touch base with in Australia. There weren't that many in Australia coming over. There were guys there but in the last six or seven years they have been a lot more coming over."

On getting NMSU on the schedule for a home and home
"It's a basketball rich tradition. Marvin has done a good job and they have a bunch of good players and athletes. Playing in Las Cruces is one of the toughest places to play and fortunately we don't have to go there this year but next year we will. People recognize them in the west and those are the types of teams that we try to play in home and homes. I think we are both struggling to find home games and this is one that our fans recognize will be a good team."

On his team being picked third in the West Coast Conference behind Gonzaga and Portland
"The bottom of the league is better and hopefully the top is as good as it was last year but I'm pretty sure the bottom has come up and we needed that to happen for our league. Our RPI wasn't as good last year as it has been. When the bottom teams are better, that's when you can get your league pretty good. There was a pretty big gap the past couple of years and hopefully that has closed."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Media Day quotes

Menzies on health and eligibility entering Friday's game at St. Mary's
"Eligibility wise we still don't have B.J. West with us and Abdoulaye as well. ... We are hopeful and optimistic that they will get done soon but we just don't know when. We are waiting to see what the powers that be come back with. Healthwise we are in great shape. The guys are all healthy. The only person is Robert Lumpkins that tweaked his ankle a little bit over the weekend but he should be good to go for Friday."

Menzies on center Hamidu Rahman, who goes up against St. Mary's senior center Omar Samhan
"It's a great test for Hamidu to go against a quality big early in the year especially. He gets challenged every day with guys but nobody with that skill set and of that physical stature so it will be a good test for him. He has done a lot of good things in the offseason that will help him be ready for the challenge. He is doing an excellent job in practice of focusing and getting better. He's really anticipating a matchup and we as coaches are as well. He won't be by himself. We are going to do a lot of things that I think defensively will help him out. We can't just leave him on an island by himself when we have a quality big like that."

Menzies on first two games of the season.
"All teams need a good start. That's why the big boys play the sisters of the poor. Our situation is a little different. We have some returners. We have some new guys put into the mix with them so we have a delicate balance that we are trying to figure out with substitution pattern and making sure that guys are a family and understand that their time might not come in this game but it might come in another game. And so I feel pretty confident that because of their chemistry and their unity that won't be too much of a problem. It's good to have that depth so if it's a problem it's a good problem.

"The two games that are starting off with were scheduled specifically that way because we want some good strong RPI teams on the schedule and wanted to get the season off with some energy and some enthusiasm in the city and what better way to do that than playing your rival. They are going to have as much prep as we are against them so that's a wash. It's just a matter for us, we wanted to start off with a game that was going to draw a lot of interest and draw a lot of fans as well as get an opportunity to get our students there for the home game."

That's all for now as I don't want to give all the quotes that I plan on using for Friday's story about the game. But in case you don't know how Gordo's name came about, here is Gordo's version. Pretty funny stuff.
"When I was little, I was just a big kid. A lot of people don't even know this. I couldn't even really talk or nothing when I was little. I would just really eat. They would ask me what I wanted and I would point at things. I was a loner when I was a kid so I just ate and I was pretty big. I wasn't big-big. I was just of those kids that got big. I just stretched out and Gordo just always stayed with me and everyone just know me as Gordo. A lot of people are like, 'Do you have a real name?' And I'm like, ya it's Aaron. That's on my license. A lot of people really think my name is Gordo. It's funny but I don't mind it. I actually don't like my name Aaron at all. But people still call me Aaron sometimes like my mom or my brother."

Aggies get verbal

With the early signing period running from Nov. 11-18, the Aggies could add 6-10 South African Tshilidzi Nephawe, who has given NMSU a verbal after visiting over the summer. I couldn't find much on him but if he ends up signing and filling the Aggies only available scholarship (Jonathan Gibson) he would be the third Aggie on the roster with Stoneridge Prep ties. The Aggies women also have three commitments so hopefully we will have some stories on these players in the next week or so.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This year's Idaho

Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Utah State
2. Nevada
3. New Mexico State
4. Idaho
5. Louisiana Tech
6. Fresno State
7. Boise State
8. San Jose State
9. Hawaii

Idaho was picked dead last in both WAC men's basketball polls last season. The Vandals tied for third and earned the No. 3 seed by winning nine conference games, which was more conference wins than the previous three years combined.
The Vandals started the conference season with a victory at Nevada and went from there, sweeping in-state rival Boise State, earning a split with NMSU and La. Tech.
Hawaii was picked last this season and I don't see the Warriors pulling an Idaho, but there is one team that intrigues me from the bottom half and that team is San Jose State.
People like Fresno State for their frontcourt combination of Paul George and Sylvester Seay and Greg Graham is a good coach at Boise State and his teams are always tough.
I'm looking for the Spartans to turn things around though and maybe sneak up on somebody like the Vandals did last year.
One similarity between the teams is they each possess a guard who transfered from a Pac 10 school. Idaho surrounded Mac Hopson with some good talent and Hopson ended up a first team caliber player.
San Jose State added Adrian Oliver from Washington last year and I think he kind of flew under the radar, partly to the Spartans underachieving again. Oliver was also in and out of the lineup early on as he only played in 18 games. When he was on the court for all 12 WAC games, Oliver poured in 17.6 per game which was second behind NMSU's Jahmar Young.
The Spartans also have returning starters in CJ Webster and Chris Oakes in the post (both tied for fourth in the WAC with 7.4 rpg), point guard Justin Graham (5th in assists with 4.13 apg) and guard Robert Owens, who was a 38 percent 3-point shooter last year.
I have my doubts San Jose State can put it all together though, which is probably why they ended up picked where they are and they were one-and-done in the WAC tournament last year, but it seems like there are some nice pieces there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What did you think?

I think it's hard to get any type of gauge on the team from playing such a small team.

I guess the biggest thing for me was I kept thinking, if they have their whole roster, they are one of the tallest and deepest teams in the WAC. I wonder how Menzies would find minutes for all these guys.

Teamwise, it could have been better defensively at times and Menzies talked about experienced players taking too many chances trying to get a steal. The Aggies did have 10 steals with Jonathan Gibson and Hernst Laroche getting three steals each. There were also a couple of instances where the younger players were slow getting back after scoring and I saw two instances where Gordo specifically had to tell a freshman where to be in the zone.

I found myself watching the power forward and point guard slots.

I enjoy watching Hernst Laroche (15 points, 8 assists, 2 TOs) run the team. He's pretty calm out there and perhaps the lone 3 he knocked down is a sign that he can make teams pay for leaving him on a consistent basis. Freshman Da'Shawn Gomez (4 assists, 2 steals, one TO) was solid in his debut so the point position appears to be pretty good.

The power forward is a different story. Robert Lumpkins, Bandja Sy and Kelly Merker combined for 19 points and I want to see Lumpkins against better competition before I think his 12 boards are legit, but he was active on the offensive glass with 7 offensive rebounds. Sy has a greater upside and I think will end up being the guy at that position as the season goes on.

Sy cleared, N'doye has to sit

As expected, Sy was cleared on Monday and can play if Menzies thinks he's ready tonight. N'doye wasn't and won't be able to play tonight, which is unfortunate.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What to watch for against WNMU

I'm glad that we can start talking about some games, even if it doesn't count and it's against an inferior opponent. First about WNMU, they weren't picked to finish anywhere near the top of the Division II RMAC but their two exhibitions are at NMSU tonight and at the University of Arizona. Tough sledding for a D II club?

Center play:
For those who haven't seen redshirt sophomore Hamidu Rahman in person since last season, Rahman has lost 30 pounds. The result should mean more minutes on the court and added quickness and strength. Let's see if that's the reality and if he can up his 4.6 boards per game from last year. If 7-footer Abdoulaye N'doye is cleared fully by the NCAA before Monday's tip, I'm looking forward to seeing him get up and down, but I don't have high expectations. He's been described as a project player who hopefully can push Rahman in practice and alter shots for a few minutes a night. He is a legit 7-footer though and tonight would be the first organized game he's ever been a part of.

Depth at the wing:
Bandja Sy is also in N'doye's boat when it comes to having his "amateurism" cleared by the NCAA. Sy will see a lot of minutes at the power forward spot but his future at NMSU will come on the wing. I'm looking forward to seeing Sy in action, as well as redshirt Tyrone Watson. Sy is long but Watson is built like a linebacker, but according to Gordo Castillo, he has a jumper and a finesse game around the basket. I would like to see one of these develop to the point where Jahmar Young could play the shooting guard a little bit this season, although the Aggies are deep at the two spot with Jonathan Gibson and Castillo.

Power forward battle:
Sy could ultimately end up starting here I think, especially if BJ West's eligibility drags out. Hopefully battling with Troy Gillenwater and Wendell McKines in practice has toughened him up enough to bang on the boards, which is a point of emphasis entering the season. Robert Lumpkins looks stronger to me and has been working in the paint in practice. Lumpkins also can shoot the ball so it will be interesting to see the matchup problems he could cause on the offensive end for the Aggies.

Point play:
We know what Hernst Laroche is capable of. Even if he hasn't gotten better, he's solid. And I'm sure he's improved. Leroche and freshman Da'Shawn Gomez will be fun to watch. Gomez has been described as a solid defender, which would be a nice compliment coming off the bench to put some pressure on the ball. This is Laroche's spot, but Gomez needs to contribute.

As a team I'm hoping to see improvement defensively, both when the Aggies are pressuring full court and in their matchup zone, which in their third year, they should be better. This team has the potential to be so long that if they remain active, could result in a lot of easy buckets so if they come out and create some turnovers tonight, that would be a good sign.

What are you lookin for?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sy cleared for good

As of Monday, Bandja Sy will be cleared to play this season with the Aggies. As you may have read in my last post, international students have to pass two hurdles to be cleared. Sy was cleared earlier this week on the academic piece, and I have received word that as of Monday, he will be cleared as far as amateurism, meaning they take a look at international players to make sure they haven't played professionally. It's a bit a of good news for the Aggies, who are still waiting on BJ West as of Friday and who will open the season without Troy Gillenwater and Wendell McKines. .. Also, in case you were wondering, Gillenwater and McKines can not play in Monday's exhibition game against WNMU or any other game or scrimmage if another team is involved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It seems like the two things people want to read about the most are the clearinghouse issues and Jahmar Young. Following are some quotes from Menzies on both situations and I have a story on Sy and Tyrone Watson probably Saturday or Sunday. Sy practiced for the first time on Wednesday since the team normally takes Tuesday off. He was cleared to practice all year but he can't play in games yet. I don't know if you read my story on the Aggies 3-point shooting/3-point shooting defense, but here it is. It seemed to me that rebounding and transition defense were the biggest weaknesses last year and hopefully they address those two things early on. We get to see for the first time in Monday's exhibition game.

Menzies on Bandja Sy's eligibility
"He has been cleared to receive his scholarship and practice for the whole year. There is a portion of the Clearinghouse where they have to check your amateurism to make sure you were never a professional and being that he was a international student and we recruited him so late, you fill out that paperwork and the process of checking and going through the background that the NCAA has to do, we are still in the balance there so we are kind of at their mercy. It's just a matter of time with him. He has got through on the academic piece. Worst case scenario he redshirts this year and he's ready to go next year and that's not all bad either. I'm OK with redshirting guys except for the fact that without Troy and Wendell we could probably use him."

BJ West has all of his paperwork submitted to the NCAA.

Menzies on reports that Jahmar Young will sit on Monday
"I haven't made a decision. He doesn't have to. That's my call. He was going to have some trouble with his ankle a little bit and we have so many guys that I have to take a look at and it's an exhibition game. We have a lot of new guys who have to get their feet wet. Everybody else is good to go. As of today, as far as I know, that is the only one that had a question mark and he got that resolved."

Menzies on addressing the rebounding
"You have to get out there and emphasize things. We talked about it last year but obviously we didn't emphasize it enough. We didn't drill it enough. Every single possession, whether you're talking about offense or defense, is an opportunity to rebound so we have tweaked some of our drills so the rebound is the completion of the drill. A lot of times, certain drills end with the shot. Now we secure the rebound and try to push it to halfcourt or get the outlet pass before the drill is over. Who knows if it will work or not. At the end of the day you have to have guys who make that a priority. Just like defensively, they want to get stops so it's not like let me survive this possession so I can go score again. When you look at the total body of work from last year and you show your players that and they see they could have done a better team if they had done these things, that in itself should be enough of a motivator for them to be more consistent in practice."

Finally I have a question. Last year I did a little running blog entry for the games I was at. I enjoyed doing it and plan to do it again. Do you have any suggestions? I tried to update at every media timeout as long as the game was competitive. Do you follow them during games or are you at the same game? anything you would want added? Keeping in mind that I'm working on the story for the paper so go easy on me....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

N'Doye practices, Menzies still waiting on NCAA

7-foot center Aboulaye N'Doye practiced for the first time today (Wednesday) I'm doing a story on the big fella from Africa for over the weekend. I didn't really know what to expect but I came away from the short interview impressed. One non-basketball thing that I found interesting about him came when we were talking about what he had been doing the past year. It seems that we have been talking about this kid for two years and Wednesday was his first practice. He said that his studies in Africa really prepared him and were more demanding than what he has faced in the short time he has been at the university level in America. Some noteworthy hoops info on him – he has only been playing basketball for four years and his first game in an Aggie uniform will be his first time in organized basketball. ... Also, because of a complicated transfer process, the Aggies will have his services on the court for three years. ... As far as his physical ability, it has yet to be determine.

Here are some quotes from Aggie assistant Mick Durham, who works with the Aggie big men on how they will work him into the flow after getting a knee scope last month. I will say that when we were talking, Hamidu Rahman walked by and N'Doye clearly has a couple inches on Rahman, who is listed at 6-11, although Rahman has had the benefit of three years in the weight room.

"We had him in individuals for a handful of workout sessions but his knee kept swelling and he had to get his knee scoped. We have to start really basic with him. The downfall is missing six weeks of conditioning so we have to get him back in shape and then slowly work on his skills but we need another big body in practice."

Bodies in practice doesn't seem to be an issue. I've only been around the team for two seasons so far but I can't remember a time where there were so many able-bodies guys in the practice gym. I believe there were 15 guys there on Wednesday.

Finally, Menzies on the eligibility of BJ West and Bandja Sy

"There is a 50-50 chance that BJ could be done (Thursday). There is an outside chance that Bandja could be done the following day but not cleared. Just cleared to practice. Then we are going to start a waiver. You get to go until they finish the waiver."

Menzies on Justin Standley and Jacoby Patton

"It's nailed down that (Standley) is going to redshirt but its not nailed down if he will be able to practice or not. We are still working on trying to get him to be able to be a practice players. Jacoby is also in the same boat. We are trying to hopefully get him cleared so he can be a full practice player but he is going to redshirt either way."

Menzies on the first week of practice

"We have a lot of new kids who are trickling in with the process. They are picking it up very quickly based on their own basketball IQ as well as the returners helping them through things. It's easy to develop in a basketball system if you have a lot of people who know the system. Everybody goes out and runs the plays the right way. The first group goes out. They all know everything that we are doing already, we are going to tweak some things later. So the new guys get to sit back and watch their position go and run through it correctly first even if it's just repeating what that guy did, eventually they will understand the nuances of reading the defense and the options within it. But they get a chance, every rep, to see it done correctly before they actually step on the floor."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The Aggies men were off on Tuesday. I spoke to Jahmar Young briefly, who said that the practices over the weekend were tough and that he needed an off day.

I was also informed that Abdoulaye Ndoye is expected to practice when the Aggies return to the practice court on Wednesday. As far as I know, BJ West and Bandja Sy were not cleared as of Tuesday.

WAC men's official poll

1. Utah State (8)
2. Nevada (1)
4. Idaho
5. Louisiana Tech
6. Fresno State
7. Boise State
8. San Jose State
9. Hawaii

First team
Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Mac Hopson, Idaho
Armon Johnson, Nevada
Jared Quayle, Utah State
Jahmar Young, NMSU

Second team
Roderick Flemings, Hawaii
Paul George, Fresno State
Kyle Gibson, La. Tech
Sylvester Seay, Fresno State
Tai Wesley, Utah State

POY Luke Babbitt, Nevada

1. Utah State
2. Nevada
4. Idaho
5. Boise State
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Fresno State
8. San Jose State
9. Hawaii

First team
Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Mac Hopson, Idaho
Armon Johnson, Nevada
Jared Quayle, Utah State
Jahmar Young, NMSU

Luke Babbitt, Nevada

Women's WAC official polls


1. Fresno State (5)
2. Louisiana Tech (3)
3. Boise State (1)
4. Idaho
6. Nevada
7. Utah State
T-8 Hawaii
T -8 San Jose State

First team
Shanavia Dowdell, La. Tech
Tasha Harris, Boise State
Adrienne Johnson, La. Tech
Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State
Madison Spence, NMSU

Second team
Hayley Munro, Fresno State
Yinka Olorunnife, Idaho
Derisa Taleni, Idaho
Jessica Van Hoogen, Boise State
Lydia Whitehead, Utah State

Dowdell, La. Tech

1. Louisiana Tech
2. Fresno State
3. Boise State
4. Idaho
5. Nevada
7. Utah State
8. Hawaii
9. San Jose State

First team
Shanavia Dowdell, La. Tech
Adrienne Johnson, La. Tech
Yinka Olorunnife, Idaho
Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State
Madison Spence, NMSU

Second Team
Crystal Boyd, NMSU
Tasha Harris, Boise State
Hayley Munro, Fresno State
Derisa Taleni, Idaho
Jessica Van Hoogen, Boise State

Shanavia Dowdell, La. Tech

Monday, October 19, 2009

Aggies women's commitment

NMSU received a verbal commitment from Andrea Chenier from Piedmont, Cali, a 5-10 player who can play any of the three guard positions. Chenier is a top 70 player who played on the same club team as current Aggie freshman Camilla Rosen.

The NMSU women's program is still hoping that Crystal Boyd will be rewarded another year of eligibility after battling injuries her whole career. If she is granted the additional year, the Aggies are full of scholarships after receiving a verbal from guard Jasmin Rutledge last month.

WAC polls

The WAC coaches and media polls will be released on Tuesday so I thought I would put my picks out on here. I think it's going to be a competitive year on the top half with an improved skill level across the board.

Mens poll
1. NMSU - I have to pick based on the belief that Gillenwater and McKines will be on the team for the conference season. If they are, it's the most talented team in the league and that's not including the newcomers.
2. Nevada - The one-two punch of Babbitt and Johnson is too good to ignore despite a lack of apparent depth. I hope Fields returns to form.
3. Louisiana Tech - they got better at the point guard spot after reaching the tournament semis last year. Kyle Gibson and Magnum Rolle could be the league's no. 2 inside out duo.
4. Idaho — Don Verlin made a believer out of me last year and he has the same squad coming back.
5. Utah State — Is this a slight? Maybe. Do I feel bad about it? Not really. How many games can Stew Morrill win by himself? Three? Four? So the rest of the time his players have to get it done. People say four starters from a team that won 30 games but outside of Wesley, those four starters aren't nearly as skilled as the teams above the UtAgs. I may be the last person to jump on the Quayle bandwagon, but I want to see how good he is without the big fella, whose motor and work ethic carried that team last year. The past USU teams had Carroll and Wilkinson. The remaining players are solid and I like USU, but they can't win the WAC every year.
6. Fresno State — Very talented frontcourt players. Big year for their coach?
7. San Jose State — I thought they would be better last year. They weren't. Oliver, Oakes and Webster are experienced enough to do some damage. Big year for their coach?
8 Boise State —
9 Hawaii
Both of these bottom teams seem to be in rebuilding mode and could finish in either 8th or 9th

Player of the Year
Jahmar Young, NMSU — I think Babbitt could get this. But I expect Jahmar to be huge this season. It's so impressive what he does, considering he's really a shooting guard who plays small forward.

Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Kyle Gibson, La. Tech
Mac Hopson, Idaho
Sylvester Seay, Fresno State

Newcomer of the Year
DeAndre Brown, La. Tech

1. Fresno State
2. La. Tech
3. Boise State
5. Idaho
6. Nevada
7. Hawaii
8. Utah State
9. San Jose State

Player of the Year
Shavavie Dowdell, La Tech

Madison Spence, NMSU
Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State
Adrienne Johnson, La. Tech
Tasha Harris, Boise State

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day One

From talking with Coach Menzies before practice, you can clearly tell he is looking forward to the lineup possibilities on a team that seems deeper than any since he has been here.
Looking at the guys that were on the court on Friday was pretty impressive and when Troy and Wendell start practicing, they will be that much more athletic and just the size that they have. Even the guys who aren't cleared yet will add length and competition in practice and eventually in games.
I'm doing a story on the big men who will be playing in the paint while Gillenwater and Wendell are out. Center Hamidu Rahman looks to be in great shape. He said he lost 30 pounds in the offseason, which means he can be out there longer before hitting the wall. Robert Lumpkins has been working at the four spot and could battle Sy and BJ West for minutes at that position. All three of those guys seem like small forward types who will have to play down there at least to start out. But all three will also present matchup problems on the offensive end as well.

Here are some comments from Menzies on Friday

On J.Y.
"He is a really passionate kid who loves basketball. He really got better in the offseason. He got bigger, he got stronger. He is dunking it a lot easier than he did last year. He is also knocking down shots at a higher clip. I am really anticipating a big season from J.Y."

On depth
"I can't really get a grasp on how it's going to unfold and that's one of the exciting things for all of us because one day we come in and we talk about these lineups and then we think about that next guy down the rung and it's like, 'He could be in there too.' There is going to be competition for even the two and the three spot. Gordo has had a great offseason as well and if he's knocking down shots, I'm not taking him off the floor. Gibson has to be consistent or he is going to struggle to stay on the floor if those other guys are playing well. It's just going to be anybody's game."

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It appears that Justin Standley and Jacoby Patton will both redshirt this season, so the fact that they haven't been cleared as of Saturday shouldn't hurt the Aggies. Guard Da'Shawn Gomez was cleared and Menzies hopes B.J. West could be cleared before Friday's practice. It may be a little longer for Bandja Sy.

I spoke with Gordo Castillo for a few minutes over the weekend. Players and coaches always talk about playing together for multiple seasons. This is the second year together for this core group.

"I think it means a lot," Castillo said. "We know how each other plays and we know where that guy is going to be on the floor. We know who will get a rebound and who can make a shot. Everyone is a lot closer."

I also asked Gordo who might surprise us.

"Robert (Lumpkins) has been working hard on his game. He didn't get a whole lot of minutes last year but he is looking to get more and he might surprise some people. A lot of the new guys come in and go hard too. B.J. (West) is long, he grabs rebounds and he can also go out and shoot it."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Kirk a Lobo

From the Journal

6-11 Kirk Decides To Become A Lobo
By Mark Smith / Journal Reporter
Monday, 05 October 2009 23:22
Los Alamos Center Chooses New Mexico Over Arizona

This time, the big one didn’t get away.
Los Alamos’ Alex Kirk, one of the state’s most highly recruited basketball players this decade, has given a verbal commitment to the UNM men’s basketball program.
Kirk, a 6-foot-11 senior post, told the Journal he will sign a national letter with Steve Alford’s Lobos in November.
“It’s definitely a relief to get it out of the way,” Kirk said of his decision Monday night. “It really was between UNM and Arizona. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, it’s been on my mind a lot. I know I can have success as a Lobo, and now it’s time to focus on the high school season.”
NCAA rules disallow coaches to speak about individual recruits, but it was well known that Kirk was UNM’s top priority for this signing class. Kirk is a gifted big man. He is a solid ball-handler, a solid passer, a great rebounder, a strong shot blocker and stellar shooter outside for a post man.
Kirk — who has a 7-foot-2 wingspan — averaged 28 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and three assists a game last season as a junior for the Hilltoppers.
His father, Alan, is head coach at Los Alamos.
“We knew it would be a methodical,” Alan said of the recruiting process. “ We knew the way people, over the last year, would come (after Alex), and the way he developed over the summer, he would have some real opportunities to consider.
“He had a lot of schools back east show interest in him, but he decided he wanted to stay in the west. And that helped narrow it down. We talked a lot about it and, he had a goal of getting it done before the season started. I was pretty confident it would happen in the next couple of weeks.”
Kirk should fit in nicely with Alford’s program, which is filled with talented underclassmen — but no true center. Kirk could be that big man, and he said the opportunity to play right away helped entice him to Loboville.
“I think I will get a chance to play early on,” Kirk said. “And UNM said it will probably be able to get me to the next level (the NBA). Those were real big reasons.”

Friday, October 2, 2009

Projecting starting 5

In basketball, it means more who finishes a game than who starts it, but here is a preliminary look at who may start the season for each WAC team with the season now basically a month away. If you are logging on from another school, feel free to tell me how far off I am.

Boise State (19-13, 9-7) WAC qtr-round, CBI first-round
PG — Anthony Thomas 6-foot, 205 — 9.5 ppg, 4.7 apg
SG — Paul Noonan 6-7, 210 — 10 ppg, 3.6 rpg
SF — Robert Arnold 6-7 170 — Junior college transfer
PF — Ike Okoye 6-9, 230 — 8.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg
C — Kurt Cunningham 6-10, 260 — 10.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg

Fresno State (13-21, 3-13) WAC qtr
PG — Steven Shepp 6-2, 170 — Redshirt sophomore
SG — Mike Ladd 6--5 190 — 9.5 ppg, 36 3-pt %
SF — Paul George 6-8 210 — 14.3 ppg 6.2 rpg
PF — Sylvester Seay 6-10 235 — 15.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg
C — Nedeljko Golubovic 6-8 245 — 7.3 pp 34 3-pt %

Hawaii (13-17, 5-11) lost WAC play-in
PG — Hiram Thompson 6-2 175 — 2.4 apg
SG — Roderick Flemings 6-7 210 — 16.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
SF — Adhar Mayen 6-8 195 — 4.3 ppg
PF — Bill Amis 6-9 220 — 10.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg
C — Paul Campbell 6-10 215 — 2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Idaho (17-16, 9-7) WAC qtrs, 1-1 in CollegeInsider.com Tournament
PG — Mac Hopson 6-2 185 — 16.4 ppg, 5.9 apg
SG — Kashif Watson 6-1 175 – 10.3 ppg
SF — Luciano de Souza 6-7 205 — 8.5 ppg 36 3-pt %
PF — Brandon Wiley 6-6 225 — 8.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg
C — Marvin Jefferson 6-10 245 — 9.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg 58 blocked shots

Louisiana Tech (15-18, 6-10) lost WAC semi
PG — Jamel Guyton 6-3 180 — 11.8 ppg, 2.0 apg
SG — Kyle Gibson 6-5 205 — 16.1 ppg, 2.7 apg
SF — Olu Ashaolu 6-7 230 — 5.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
PF — David Jackson 6-8 195 — 5.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
C — Magnum Rolle 6-11 225 — 12.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg

Nevada (21-13, 11-5) lost WAC final, CBI first round
PG — Armon Johnson 6-3 195 — 15.5 ppg, 4.2 apg
SG — Brandon Fields 6-4 185— 9.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg
SF — Joey Shaw 6-6 205 — 7.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
PF — Luke Babbitt 6-9 225 — 16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg
C — Dario Hunt 6-8 230 — 3.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg

New Mexico State (17-15, 9-7) WAC semis
PG — Hernst Laroche 6-1 170 — 5.8 ppg, 4.3 apg
SG — Jonathan Gibson 6-1 171 — 14.1 ppg, 2.1 apg
SF — Jahmar Young 6-5 180 — 17.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
PF — B.J. West 6-8 215 — Freshman
C — Hamidu Rahman 6-11, 245 — 6.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg

San Jose State (13-17, 6-10) WAC qtrs
PG — Justin Graham 6-4 195 — 8.3 ppg, 4.7 apg
SG — Adrian Oliver 6-4 210 — 17.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
SF — Chris Jones 6-4 205 — Freshman from Newark, Calif.
PF — C.J. Webster 6-9 255 — 12 ppg, 6.5 rpg
C — Chris Oakes 6-10 235 — 8.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg

Utah State (30-5, 14-2) WAC champion, NCAA first round
PG — Jared Quayle 6-1 180 — 13.1 ppg, 6 rpg, 3.7 apg
SG — Pooh Williams 6-3 200 — 5.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
SF — Tyler Newbold 6-4 200 — 9 ppg, 4.2 rpg
PF — Tai Wesley 6-7 240 — 12 ppg, 6 rpg
C — Matt Formisano 6-8 235 — 3.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm sure you've seen this but here is the WAC television schedule. NMSU ended up with five regular season games

Nov. 16     
Northern Colorado at Hawaii                                   
11 p.m. HT
Jan. 2         
Utah State at New Mexico State                                
Jan. 4         
Nevada at New Mexico State                                    
9 p.m. MT  
Jan. 11       
New Mexico State at Idaho                                       
8 p.m. PT   
Jan. 13       
Utah State at Nevada                                                
8 p.m. PT   
Jan. 14       
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech                                  
7 p.m. CT  
Jan. 21       
Utah State at Fresno State                                         
7 p.m. PT   
Feb. 3        
Idaho at Utah State                                                    
9 p.m. MT  
Feb. 4        
San Jose State at Louisiana Tech                               
7 p.m. CT  
Feb. 6        
Nevada at Utah State                                                
8 p.m. MT  
Feb. 6        
Idaho at Boise State                                                  
10 p.m. MT
Feb. 8        
Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State                         
7 p.m. MT  
Feb. 10      
Nevada at Idaho                                                        
8 p.m. PT   
Feb. 17      
Louisiana Tech at Utah State                                      
9 p.m. MT  
Feb. 24      
Idaho at New Mexico State                                       
9 p.m. MT  
Feb. 27      
Fresno State at San Jose State                                   
7 p.m. PT   
March 4     
San Jose State at Idaho                                             
7 p.m. PT   
March 11   
WAC Tournament Quarterfinal(s)                              
March 12   
WAC Tournament Semifinal(s)                                  
March 13   
WAC Tournament Championship                              
7 p.m. PT   

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This group is extremely unknown and very top heavy so I combined freshmen and sophomores for the upcoming season. Special thanks to Kevin McMarthy who helped fill in some gaps. There just wasn't the buzz for the young guys this year so the top flight players are no-brainers with the last three as underrated guys who broke through as last year went on. I expect this year's freshman class will do the same.

Top flight uderclassmen
Luke Babbitt, Nevada sophomore forward — Who knows how much longer we will get to watch Babbitt play in the WAC. At 6-9, he does everything well and is Nevada's go-to player so he could improve on his 16.9 (third in the WAC) and 7.4 boards (third in the WAC) that he put up as a freshman. Babbitt also shoots 45 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point land to become the first freshman at the school to lead the team in scoring and rebounding. All of this landed him on the first team All WAC,as well as the Newcomer team.
Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State sophomore forward — Arguably the most skilled player on the NMSU roster, Gillenwater could also be the most frustrating. Had a run-in with head coach Marvin Menzies in San Jose last year that landed him on the bench. If he plays and Wendell McKines can't, Gillenwater will get all of the minutes he can handle. When he's focused, Gillenwater can score around the basket (12.1 ppg and 51 percent from the floor), knock down the 3 (8-of-29), put the ball on the floor and if he plays the 3 or 4, he defends well (second on the Aggies with 39 blocked shots). Will need to improve on his 4.3 rebounds this year.
Paul George, Fresno State sophomore forward — NBAdraft.net had the 6--8, 210-pound forward listed as a lottery pick in next year's draft. George has a fluid game, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 45 percent from long range. Can also get to the basket and posted 6.2 boards per game, which tied for ninth as a freshman last year.
Hernst Laroche, New Mexico State sophomore guard — Laroche was the biggest surprise to me last year on the Aggies. He proved to be a steal and provided the stability at the point that the Aggies haven't really had since Menzies took over. Laroche was second in assist-to-turnover ratio last year and always seemed to make the right play. He was fourth in the WAC with 4.34 assists per game
Mike Ladd, Fresno State sophomore guard — Started 15 games in the Fresno State backcourt last year but that number should increase with the departure of fellow soph Bryce Cartwright in the offseason. All of the Bulldogs can shoot. Ladd was fourth on the team with 9.5 points per game last year.
Hamidu Rahman, New Mexico State sophomore center — Word is that Rahman has added some muscle to his 6-11 frame. He started 27 games last year and with the departure of Chris Gabriel, the center position is all his when the Aggies use a center. Needs to improve on the boards though.

Also worth noting
Utah State guard Jaxon Myaer showed that he could knock down shots last year before giving way to Jared Quayle. USU freshman forward Tyrone White is expected to play right away. The 6-6 White put up 16 and 8 at Air Force Prep last year.

Fresno State added a local player in 6-10, 250-pound freshman center Greg Smith, who doesn't appear to have much competition for playing time if Steve Cleveland wants to go big.

At 6-7 Idaho freshman forward Corey Stern from Rainier Beach in Seattle could provide some depth for the Vandals.

Nevada added a couple of international freshmen to add depth in the backcourt and the frontcourt. 6-6 Patrick Nyeko is from Seattle Prep via London. Power forward Marko Cukic is from Serbia and at 6-9, 235, he could add some muscle inside for a Wolf Pack team that seems undersized.

Da'Shawn Gomez should contribute this year as a backup to Laroche and 6-8 freshman B.J. West could get some minutes before Gillenwater returns. Tyrone Watson is another frontcourt player who sat out last year and everyone seems to be excited about Bandja Sy's versatile game at 6-8

Chris Jones is a 6-4, 205 freshman guard at San Jose State. He is a scorer who can play either guard spot

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Top juniors

Top flight juniors
Jahmar Young, New Mexico State guard — The leading scorer in the WAC a year ago has gotten stronger in the offseason. IF redshirt Troy Gillenwater has a solid sophomore year and senior guard Jonathan Gibson plays well, Young could improve on his 17.9 ppg from a year ago. He was a first-team selection after shooting 42 percent on 3s last year. Young picked up his play when it mattered most, scoring 18.9 in WAC games.
Adrian Oliver, San Jose State guard — Eligibility and injuries limited the Washington transfer to 18 games last year. Once he got on the court, he dropped 27, 31 and 22 in his first three games. He also had games of 29, 28 (a loss at NMSU) and 37. It's strange that he only shot 26 percent from long range because he was a 43 percent shooter from the floor, but he did only shoot 65 from downtown. If you look at the WAC leaders, he doesn't show up on the list until you look at WAC games only, where he was second behind Young with 17.6 per game.
Armon Johnson, Nevada guard — About the only thing that Johnson didn't do well last year was shoot the ball. Very strong and athletic point guard with size, he still shot 28 percent from long range. He was still a first-team selection last year, scoring 15 per game and dishing out 4.3 assists per game.
Wendell McKines, New Mexico State forward — I'm not sold that Big Wen will see the court in the second semester after missing the first due to academics (Personally I feel like the Aggies would be better served redshirting him this season so he can work on his academics and come back even better next year) but he's too talented to leave off my list of top players. McKines was a snub for postseason awards last year after averaging 12.1 ppg and 10 rpg after posting 16 double-doubles last year.If he develops a jumper and some handle, watch out.
Tai Wesley, Utah State forward — Wesley had to take a back seat to Gary Wilkinson the last two years, but he is probably the most underrated power forward in the league, scoring 12 and 6 last year.

Second tier
Tyler Newbold, Utah State forward — Newbold is a classic USU player who does everything well. He can also play a little He was seventh last year with 1.71 3s a game.
Gordo Castillo, New Mexico State guard — Las Cruces High product led the WAC in 3-point percentage (45) as a sophomore.
C.J. Webster, San Jose State forward — Second on the Spartans in scoring (12) and first in rebounding (6.5), was eighth in the league in rebounds.
Justin Graham, San Jose State guard — Second in the WAC with 4.73 assists per game.
Paul Noonan, Boise State guard — Noonan is a streaky shooter who was kind of thrown into the fire last year out of necessity. He was third in scoring for the Broncos with 10 per game and he shot 34 percent on triples.

Honorable mention
Nedeljko Golubovic — A 6-foot-8 player who would rather shoot the 3. Golubovic was 34 percent on 3s on 112 attempts last year.
Boise State landed a trio of junior college guys in Robert Arnold, Daequon Montral and Westly Perryman. The 6-6 Arnold from Antelope Valley C.C. could be the best of them.
Hawaii added a seven-footer in Brazilian junior college project Douglas Kurtz
Idaho added Shawn Henderson, a guard from North Idaho College who shot 40 percent from long range.
Pooh Williams — Utah State's best perimeter defender. Utah State also added 6-9 forward Nate Bendall from NJCAA national champ Salt Lake CC.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Top seniors

I wanted to go through the WAC based on class so this is the first of four in the next four days. I'm starting with the seniors because even though I think the WAC's best players are the sophomores and juniors, there are some quality seniors this year that will help lead the teams that I expect will be good as well as headline the bottom teams that I feel like will be better as well.

Top flight Seniors
Jonathan Gibson, New Mexico State guard — 6-foot-2 guard shot 9-of-16 (56 percent) from 3-point line in two WAC tournament games, reminding people why he is one of the best shooters in the league. Shouldn't have to worry about playing the point guard spot with the development of sophomore Hernst Laroche and freshman De'Shawn Gomez expected to contribute at that position.
Mac Hopson, Idaho guard — Hopson was one of the high major transfers that lived up to the hype last year, helping turn Idaho's program around. Hopson was a first-team selection who was fifth in scoring (16.4ppg), first in assists (5.88 pg) fourth in steals (1.67pg), fourth in 3-point percentage (43 percent) and fourth in assist to turnover ratio
Sylvester Seay, Fresno State forward — A second team player last year after transferring from Arizona State, Seay led the Bulldogs with 15.3 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds per game. What I like about Seay is his versatility — at 6-10, Seay shot 37 percent from 3-point range and blocked 58 shots. Seay and youngster Paul George are one of the better one-two punches in the league.
Roderick Flemings, Hawaii guard — Flemings flirted with the NBA Draft but returned to Hawaii, where he should improve his numbers after scoring 16.6 points per game last year — fourth best in the WAC. He did it all for his team and it should be the same this year after leading the Warriors in scoring, steals, 3-point percentage (31 percent), offensive rebounds and minutes played.
Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech guard — Gibson was a second team player last year after scoring 16.1 points per game, sixth best in the league. Gibson was third in 3-point percentage (43 percent) and he led the league in triples made.

Second tier
Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech forward — At 6-foot-11, 220 pounds, Rolle could be one of the top NBA prospects in the WAC. Averaged 12.7 and 7.2 for the Bulldogs while shooting 53 percent
Jared Quayle, Utah State guard — Was a head scratching selection to the second team last year. I guess I could be wrong but we will see if he shoots 39 percent from long range again without big man Gary Wilkinson in the middle
Chris Oakes, San Jose State forward — Second in the WAC with 7.6 rebounds per game
Anthony Thomas, Boise State guard — Freshman of the year has been a productive throughout his career at Boise State. Third in the league last year with 4.72 assists per game

Honorable mention
Ike Okoye, Boise State power forward —5.6 boards per game...second with 1.88 blocks per game, physical player in his second year after leaving Wyoming
Jamel Guyton, Louisiana Tech guard — 11.8 points per game and two assists, makes things go for the Bulldogs
Brandon Fields, Nevada guard — Remember him? I do after he scored 12.4 points per game and shot 38 percent from long range two years ago. He landed in Mark Fox's doghouse last year after an early legal issue. Now with first year coach David Carter and the young talented guys, he can finish his career on a high note.
Bill Amis, Hawaii center — Scored 10.7 per game and had 6.5 boards last year. Hawaii's most skilled big man and only interior threat last year
Marvin Jefferson, Idaho center — A beast at 6-10, 245 pounds. Filled a role for the Vandals with 9.1 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and was third in the WAC with 1.81 blocks per game

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WAC preview

I plan on putting some stuff out on here in the next few days on the WAC based on the preview that the league released on Monday. People have been asking me about Lamine Diame, a 6-6 forward and Jacoby Patton, a guard from New Orleans. Patton won't be a factor this year, he will redshirt and when he does join the Aggies, it seems like he will be a player who adds depth in practice. Diame has a chance to help, but he won't be cleared until the second semester at the earliest. Both players are not scholarship guys and it's frustrating to admit, but I was just as surprised to see those guys pop up on the roster as you.

Another minor tidbit is Abdoulaye Ndoye tweaked his knee and will undergo minor surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus ... he could be ready when practice starts in less than a month. ... Someone asked about eligibility. Menzies said all of the new players have their materials turned in and he doesn't anticipate any taking longer than normal

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good to see the Dance back in New Mexico

University of NM to host NCAA basketball games
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The NCAA says the University of New Mexico will host first- and second-round games in the 2012 Men’s Basketball Championship. Four games will be played March 15, 2012, and two are scheduled for March 17, 2012. It will be the 10th time UNM will host the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The last time the university had tournament games was in 2005. UNM’s athletic director, Paul Krebs, says it’s great to see games return to Albuquerque. He says tournament rounds are returning because of renovations now being made to University Stadium, known as The Pit. The NCAA on Monday announced preliminary round sites for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Men’s Basketball Championships.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another hoops prospect

6-foot-10 South African center Tshilidzi Nephawe will be on campus this weekend on a visit with the NMSU men's hoops team. I have just been able to find a couple articles about him but it looks like Marvin Menzies is going to continue seeking talent abroad. Nephawe is a 2010 recruit. I guess with another project player in Abdoulaye Ndoye and Hamidu Rahman set to be a junior, it would make sense to go after some more size.

The Aggies women's program also had a couple of visits on campus over the weekend. Jasmin Rutledge, a 6-ft wing from California, and Andrea Chenier from Cali, a 5-10 player who can play any of the three guard positions were in Las Cruces on official visits. Rutledge is a top 150 player and Chenier is a top 70 player who played on the same club team as current Aggie freshman Camilla Rosen. Other WAC schools are interested in both players. Fresno State and Utah State are on Rutledge and Chenier has a visit to Hawaii. The Aggies have two spots available with the departure of Areyal Ledeatte from the program and the graduation of Ashley Scroggins.