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?
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.
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?