I thought before I wrote about how the Aggies are to move on without Wendell McKines on the court for the near future, I wanted to look back at his career at NMSU. In a way, should we really be surprised? It's horrible to lose McKines because he's such a vital piece to the Aggies, but A.) this team has always had to endure something or other it seems nothing is easy at NMSU and B.) The past three years of Wendell's career here has has so many twists and turns that this should just be one more to add to his successful career here.
McKines was the first player Marvin Menzies signed, and it was a late addition to the roster. McKines arrived in August of Menzies' first year after he originally committed to San Francisco but was let go due to academics. After one year in Las Cruces, McKines planned to leave NMSU and return to the Bay Area, but ultimately returned to campus and proved to be the best rebounder in the WAC. Everyone knows about last season, where if not for his return, a WAC championship probably wouldn't have happened. There has also been an arrest for not paying fines, calling out NMSU fans for poor attendance, establishing his own fan club at one point in the Pan Am and inspiring T Shirts in his name. The foot injury is merely the latest trial McKines has to undergo but he's come out of everything else on top.
McKines underwent surgery on Wednesday. People have talked about the possibility of a redshirt year. Marvin Menzies said it's a possibility but he wants to wait six or seven weeks to see how the foot is healing and where McKines is in his rehab at that point. If the healing is slower than anticipated, Menzies said he would have those discussions. What it does do is take away the likelihood of a possible redshirt season for freshman Renaldo Dixon because without McKines, the Aggies' depth in the frontcourt takes a hit Dixon can play in the Halloween scrimmage against Texas Tech and the exhibition game, but if he plays against Lafeyette, he wouldn't be able to redshirt either. If McKines doesn't step foot on the court this year, it's an automatic redshirt season. If he is cleared and comes back and then is re-injured, the university could look into a medical redshirt. Menzies also said Remi Barry will not be in the equation this year as he still has work to do academically before he will contribute.
Personally I would like to see Wendell sit out, rehab and come back at full strength next season. McKines talked about trying to develop his perimeter game, talking about the next level. While it may hurt the Aggies for the short term, another year developing would give him that much more time to turn into a player who could make a nice living playing basketball. As far as next year, the Aggies would only lose Gordo Castillo and the young players would have one year of experience under their belt. I also think the Aggies could still win the WAC without him. Let's face it, the league isn't that strong and it turns out Utah State big man Nate Bendall is also fighting a foot injury.