New Mexico State hoops

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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

A&T

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

84-73

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

Fullerton

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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UNM/NMSU

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

Starters
UNM
30 Martinez
00 Hardeman
1 hobson
23 mcdonald
5 gary

NMSU
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?