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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

JY makes it official

It appears that Jahmar Young's intention to declare for the June Draft became official in the last 24 hours.

Other names you may recognize are Herb Pope, Derrick Caracter and Paul George.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Notes

I asked Marvin Menzies what he thought of Michigan State’s advancing to its sixth Final Four after narrowly escaping his Aggies in the first round.
“I’m happy for them but it’s a little bittersweet. You are happy that the team you lost to is so competitive and playing so well without their guards. We played them to a very close game and they have been playing without their starting point guard since. It should be motivation for our kids. If it doesn’t inspire motivation for their offseason work, there is something wrong with their psyche.”

“I always thought we had the talent to play at that level, but they went through ups and downs like us. It’s just different adversities. When they pulled it together they have been playing well and it’s kind of what we did as well.”


Some important dates concerning recruiting.

April 1-8 is a dead period
April 8 at noon - April 21 is a contact period except for April 12-15.

Signing period runs from April 14 - May 19

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Looking back

I had to take a week to regroup and re-think the season that was at NMSU. And I was burnt out.

But I thought the best way to look at the season was a report card type of evaluation. Overall I would give the Aggies a B + on the season. Winning a WAC championship and playing a very competitive game in the NCAA Tournament is what we all remember, but it’s hard to forget the 3-6 start, losing another point guard during the season and the academic struggles of two players who proved capable of turning the season around.
First of all, let me remind you that I picked the Aggies to win the WAC (I also picked Utah State fifth) and my premise was that with a full compliment of players who were on the roster, the Aggies would be the most talented top seven or eight in the WAC. But as time passed, I wasn’t sure how big of a factor Troy Gillenwater and Wendell McKines would be even though they were still practicing with the team. It really speaks to the chemistry of the Aggies that didn’t seem to waver because as soon as those two were back, it was really like they had never left. Gillenwater had one bad game and Wendell didn’t have any, leading the league in rebounding for the second straight year.
So taking the Aggies as a whole once they had all of their horses, I would say the season was an A +. But the first nine games were brutal and I think a D is fair.
There were some highlights though. The first 15 minutes of the Fullerton game, Hamidu Rahman’s development a big road win at UTEP and the play of guards Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson to name a few.
Some lowlights, the second half of the Fullerton game, 31 turnovers at UNM, getting blown out by UTEP at home, losing by 32 at St. Mary’s and UCLA.
Rahman, Young and Gibson all had their moments, but there wasn’t much help out there as walk-ons and freshmen had to fill the gaps. If the offense was an A, the defense was a D there as well in the first nine games. The Lobos shot 65 percent in the first half in Las Cruces, Fullerton shot 58 percent in the second half and UCLA was 61 percent in the first half and 56 percent for the game.
The Aggies certainly improved on the defensive end in their postseason run, but the fact that no Aggies were named to the All-defensive team wasn’t a surprise.

The B + is the overall grade of the team.

For as much heat as Marvin Menzies took throughout the course of the season (some deserved, some manufactured by an unrealistic fan base), I thought he came out of the season with a B+ as well.

Menzies would get a B + in recruiting, mostly from McKines and Gillenwater, but Menzies recruits Tyrone Watson and Rahman showed that his other players developed. Bandja Sy and Abdoulaye N’doye are certainly question marks heading into the offseason.

Game management B + Aggies fans didn’t like the stall ball that the Aggies employed in some of their close games, but winning 12 games by six or fewer points before the Michigan State game speaks for itself. I can’t remember any crazy in-game adjustments that stood out, but the gameplans entering games were certainly more solid as the season went on and the Aggies got into conference play. And that means the players did their job listening to the scouting report and doing their jobs during the game, which you have to credit the coaching staff. It also seemed like this season Menzies seemed to trust his assistants, especially Mick Duram and Paul Weir.

Team management A + The Aggies have had academic struggles of some sort since Menzies has arrived and I don’t know how that will play out in the future. You have to take some chances at a place like NMSU, and Menzies has always defended his players. He has also run off players who didn’t fit the type of person he seems to be looking for — character players who listen. At some point, Menzies is going to have to bring in an impact recruit who can step in right away and contribute because how many of these project players do we expect to pan out? But as we await that answer, Menzies hasn’t wavered on his vision for the program, building it with young players.

Player development A Seeing McKines and Gillenwater once they were on the floor was evident both had put the time in with Tyler Cummings and on their game. But Rahman and Watson also improved. Rahman was easily the most improved player on the team and if he continues to develop, he will be a force in the paint next year.

This is another big offseason for the Aggies. If they return the core group of players and get some production from recruits, Menzies’ fourth year could be something special as the rest of his staff gained considerable experience this year as well.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Notes from the Michigan State game

I forgot to post these following the game, but here are some noteworthy facts about the Aggies to send you into the offseason.

NMSU is not 10-20 in the NCAA Tournament.

Jahmar Young moves into second place all time for points in a season with 689. His 13 against Michigan State moved him past John Williamson (678) and he was short of Jimmy Collins' 754 points.

Jonathan Gibson's 106 3-point field goals made this season were a school record, passing Denmark Reid's 104.

Michigan State was outscored in the second half for the ninth time this season (38-28)....it was the second time this season the Spartans were outscored by more than five points in the second half.

Michigan State is 19-5 all time in the first round

The Spartans are 22-1 this season when holding opponents to fewer than 70 points. and they are 22-1 when leading at the half.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Postgame thoughts

First, if you would like to read postgame press conference quotes from all of the tournament sites, check out this link.

Well watching the replays on ESPN as I'm sure you all have, it appears that there was a clear lane violation.....in super slow motion.....by Wendell McKines.....not Troy Gillenwater. Although the correct call, a terrible call that will probably propel the Spartans into the Sweet 16 when the fact is they weren't the most talented team in Spokane this weekend, let alone on the court on Friday night. But Maryland isn't a Sweet 16 team either.

You have read Jahmar Young's comments and most likely seen them on television by now. Here is most of Marvin Menzies' comments on the lane violation.

"There is a lot of judgement and freedom of judgement that is given to officials. In (official Ray Perone) opinion, he felt like it was something he should call at the particular time of the game, whether it happened or not, I don't even know. It was on the other side of the court. And regardless of whether it happened or no, he called it so it's like a foul that you don't think is a foul. Did he call the foul? Yes. If called a foul, then it's in the score book as a foul and it exists as a foul statistically for the rest of history. So did he step in on the lane violation? Because Ray called it? Yes, he stepped in the lane. And it will be engraved in the NCAA stats forever. So it doesn't matter whether it happened or not. And how it affected the game? It's hard to tell.I know we would only have to score two if we would have only needed two we would have had a much different approach to the last few seconds. I would have had something else designed that would have been able to get us to the free throw line at the very least because we had some success penetrating the ball."

Jahmar Young said Kalin Lucas didn't make JY eat his words, but said Lucas was a "great player."

JY also questioned the officials, as he received a technical for what appeared to be words with Delvon Roe that ended up in the two players being T'd up.

"The refs took the air out of the game for me and as a whole, my team felt the same way. Techs for talking to a player? He said, 'good move' and i said 'I know' and he gave techs out. We are men. This is collegiate basketball. The next step is pros. We're happy to be here and so are they. We are putting it all on the line. Just don't take the air out of the ball."

Kalin Lucas is as good as advertised, scoring a career high 25, but except for a flurry from Durrell Summers early on, the Spartans weren't even the best offensive team the Aggies have seen this season. Sparty was 25.9 percent in the first half. A previous poster said, why not go man in the first half? I don't disagree, but it's common to save something for the second half isn't it?

I don't second guess the Aggies there. I would have liked to see them go inside a little more late in the game. JY and Gibson took some quick 3s. Gibson missed one when the Aggies were down 65-63 with under three left and JY missed a quick jumper. Both were good shots, but I believe Rahman was in the game and the Spartans didn't have an answer for him or Gillenwater.

"We shot the ball a little quick. They were feeling it and kind of went away from what we intended to do. Still want to get some reversal and the bigs were playing pretty good on the inside so we talked about getting inside-outside look. We are talking about JY and Gib. Those are your go-to guys."

Jahmar Young on staying on the floor after he picked up his fifth foul.
"I caught an inadvertant elbow. I'm OK. It wasn't nothing, I didn't bleed or nothing, just was trying to get by the elbow and it was just a mistake."

I watched JY for a little bit after he fouled out with 52 seconds left. It was absolutely killing him that he couldn't be in the game but he was encouraging his teammate Gordo. But you have to wonder what it would have been like on their last two possessions had JY been out there since he's good at getting to the line.

"He's money late and I would have probably had something drawn up that would have involved him for sure," Menzies said."We had good looks. No knock on Michigan State, but it wasn't like they did anything that didn't give us opportunity to get a look."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Predictions

Jahmar Young compared the Spartans Kalin Lucas to Jonathan Gibson in terms of size and quickness. I think the Aggies would be well served to play a little man to man tonight with gibson on Lucas for stretches.

The keys to the game for me are rebounding and 3-point shooting. As in, the Aggies have to do both well in order to have a chance. Playing so much zone lends itself to giving up offensive rebounds, something the Spartans do 13.5 times per game. I don't know how the Aggies will all of a sudden become a good rebounding team, but they need to in order to have a chance in this game.

They also need to knock down the 3, which I think they will. I think playing against a different opponent that doesn't know the Aggies as well might give up some open looks early that they need to knock down.

Two guys I think need to play well are Hernst Laroche and Hamidu Rahman. If 6-8 freshman Derrick Nix starts at center, hopefully the Aggies will give Rahman some early touches inside. When Michigan State puts Draymond Green in the game, expect the Aggies to counter with Troy Gillenwater and the game to turn into a track meet. Laroche has played against some good point guards in his career and held his own. He does a good job taking care of the ball, but Laroche, like the other NMSU shooters, will need to hit some shots.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bottom half notes

Should the Aggies advance, here are fun, informative facts on Maryland and Houston, who play at 7:40 on Friday.

Houston and NMSU are similar in that the Cougars are making their 19th appearance and also facing a tournament staple in Maryland. Although Houston's tournament drought went back to 1992 while NMSU has been here twice since 2007.


Houston
Possesses the nation's leading scorer in senior guard Aubrey Coleman at 25.6 per game. The 6-4, 200 pounder from Houston is also seventh in the country with 2.7 steals per game. He had a three-game stretch of 30 plus games this season. Guard Kelvin Lewis had 28 points and hit six 3s against UTEP in the C-USA championship game. Lewis was the C-USA tournament MVP.

Coaching
Tom Penders heas led four teams to the tournament and is 5-0 in Midwest Region first round games and is 6-1 in the first round when his team is seeded 10th or lower. He is tied with Maryland's Gary Williams for fifth on the active wins list with 648.


Maryland
In the tournament for the 14th time in the past 17 years. They have won nine of 11 entering the tournament. Guard Greivis Vasquez was named the ACC POY. The Terps are 5-3 as a No. 4 seed and 21-9 as one of the top four seeds. Vasquez was second in the ACC with 23.8 points per game, but he's also second in FT percentage, 3-point FG, he leads the ACC with 6.3 assists per game and he has led the Terps in rebounds seven times. The Terps led the league with 16.4 assists per game.

Coaching
Gary Williams is 441-237 at Maryland. He's 28-15 in the tournament and 24-12 at Maryland. He's second among active ACC coaches with 202 wins in the ACC.

Utah State

Since Utah State is here, here are some quotes from the UtAgs. NMSU has their open practice at 6:55 mountain time.

The UtAgs are in the tournament for the seventh time in 11 years. They are coming off a tough loss to Marquette in last year's tournament, which seemed to dominate the conversation.

"To win some games would be a blast and put utah State on the list a little bit," Tyler Newbold said.

"If we can put two halves together, I think it helps that we have so many returners from last year so we aren't going to be nervous," Pooh Williams said.

Stew Morrill is 1-6 in the tournament, but he says that is usually because the UtAgs, like NMSU is usually matched up against a much higher seed.

"It's been talked a lot about, that we haven't won a game since 2001. The good news is we keep coming back and playing," he said. "If you look at who we have played, it's a who's who of college basketball. Last year when we came so close and I remember sitting up here and being pretty disheartened by the fact that we didn't quite get over the to and get a win. You don't know that you're going to be back, so it's great to be back and have another opportunity."

He said he would like see either or both WAC schools advance.

"our league gets way too many bad raps. Our league is a top 10 league in the country. It's a solid basketball league so I hope we can go out and show that. Both teams will certainly go out and try."


Here's how Pooh Williams got his name.
"When I was a baby, I was like this caramel skin color and I was really really fat and so she (his mom) used to call me her Pooh bear. And so it kind of stuck with me and a lot of guys tease me about it, but it's my name."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Travel day

That's right, I'm making my first road trip (excluding UTEP and UNM) and what a better time.

In the meantime, I'm writing a column about what I think is the Aggies' biggest strength. Their confidence. Comparing this team to the one I covered in Menzies' first year is night and day in terms of how open these guys are. I think JY's and Wendell's comments came from a sense like they were being slighted, being asked questions about Michigan State and Spartans players. While their comments will certainly be viewed as bulletin board material (From talking with the same reporter from Lansing, MSU beat writers from different papers were all talking about JY's comments regarding Michigan State's point guard Kalin Lucas) I thought that JY and Wendell were sensitive to a point and almost defensive in their responses. But that's why this group has shown the ability to play well whenthey feel it's everyone against them — the games after Wendell's blog entry and the WAC title game when Troy Gillenwater said he wanted a shot at Utah State on a neutral court. Not only did Gillenwater and the Aggies get what they wanted, they won, plus they beat the host team to get there.

If MSU players have gotten any wind of JY's and Wendell's comments, they will certainly have a little extra motivation. But the Aggies will as well, taking it as one more chance to put themselves on the map.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Aggies/Spartans

On Tuesday, Marvin Menzies said redshirt sophomore center Hamidu Rahman was going to practice and that trainers have said he will be fine after suffering leg cramps on Saturday against Utah State.

Menzies said that Michigan State plays like Utah State from what he has seen on film.

I spoke with Lansing State Journal reporter Joe Rexrode, who among other things, said that assuming the Spartans want to play slow is a mistake.

The Spartans are ranked No. 2 in rebounding margin, outrebounding opponents by nine boards per game. He said that Big Ten teams race back to stop the Spartans from running, but once in tournament play, they are capable of putting up points. Their bread and butter has long been offensive rebounding or rebounding and trying to fastbreak.

Kalin Lucas has been struggling offensively this year, but Rexrode said forward Raymar Morgan is playing the best ball on the team right now over the past six games, averaging 11.5 points and 6.2 rebounds and shooting 54 percent for the season.

The Spartans play exclusively man-to-man, which is packed in. They don't pressure the ball but they want to contest shots and rebound.

Offensively, Rexrode said the Spartans run good stuff against the zone but playing against a zone comes down to making shots for any team. Guard Durrell Summers was a 50 percent shooter as a freshman but has cooled to 43 percent and 30 percent from beyond the arc as a junior.

Depth shouldn't be an issue for the Aggies. The Spartans go seven deep as well. But against a true center like Rahman, freshmen centers Garrick Sherman (6-10) and Derrick Nix (6-8) have been getting minutes. Their best forwards seem like Morgan and Delvon Roe with Draymond Green coming off the bench. Sparty is deep on the perimeter, with Korie Lucious comes off the bench.

It could be a fun game to watch and Rexrode said an upset is possible if the Aggies can find any way to get some stops, something they've done in key situations, but not on a consistent basis throughout a game.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Izzo comments

Here are a couple quotes from Michigan State's Tom Izzo pertaining to NMSU. You can listen to the whole press conference here.

http://cstvpodcast.cstv.com.edgesuite.net/michiganstate/031510_izzo.mp3


"New Mexico State is a dangerous team. I say that because what I didn't know about them lastnight that I know about them now is they have a kid named Gillenwater and McKines. One only played in a quarter or a third of their games and one played in a little more than half the games and they are two of maybe their four best players so some of those losses early that were a little lopsided to UCLA they didnt have two of their best players. They have great guard play and great 3-point shooting, shooting 38 percent from the 3 and they take a lot of them. They are very athletic and it's a concern because at times, the 3-point shot is what makes the difference between upsets and not-upsets. As well as I thought we played the other day against Minnesota defensively, those couple 3s are what hurt us in the end."


Izzo says his teams don't face many pressing teams but do the Aggies really want to press Kalin Lucas? He also compared Gibson to Penn State's Taylor Battle. He said he doesn't know the WAC like he does other leagues across the country and he's very impressed with Gillenwater as a player, he couldn't find a comparison player in the Big Ten.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Aggies get No. 12 seed

I'll have more on Monday, but here is some video from Sunday's viewing part at the Fulton Center. Menzies said some nice words as well. Videos courtesy of Lucas Peerman.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1TrXF7Jm2M Embed: allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344">

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWTfxgnYPKA Embed:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

WAC Champs

Wow. 11 wins in close games and 0 losses. Probably the stat of the season for this year's Aggies. An amazing season continues. People may say Troy Gillenwater doesn't play much defense, but he knows how to block shots and his rejection of Williams was as big as they come. And JY was clutch in the last two games despite shooting numbers below his standards.

It should be interesting to see where the Aggies are seeded although it seems the last two WAC winners with in the 12 or 13 neighborhood. Nonetheless, NMSU has another WAC title and Marvin Menzies' first as a head coach in his third year. McKinley Boston said that another contract extension is possible this season after the Aggies won their second WAC title in five years in the league and Menzies got to the tournament title game twice and won 20 games twice. Here are some financial considerations that Menzies added to his nice 280,000 base salary this season.

$10,000 winning a WAC tournament title
$10,000 for 17 or more wins in a season
$20,000 for an appearance in the NIT or NCAA


If the Aggies fulfill Wendell McKines' prediction of a Sweet 16 appearance, Menzies would collect another $25,000. Not a bad job at all.

Championship

A couple of things I was thinking about for tonight's game.

I'm sure you remember the Jahmar Young incident with Utah State coach Stew Morrill the last time the teams met. JY has a thing he does before every game where he goes to the opposing coach and shakes his hand. I asked him if he planned on doing that tonight and he said he still might.

"I didn't hear what he said to me, but I looked at the film," Young said. "I'm not playing against him. I'm playing against his team."

I also talked with Coach Menzies briefly about what it feels like to return to the WAC championship game. Things haven't been smooth for Menzies here, losing in triple overtime his first year, taking a dip in wins last year and now back to 21 wins and in the final.

"When you look at the model that Doctor Boston and I discussed when I interviewed of building with young players and that's how you build a program that will win year in and year out."

"I don't think this has been any more rewarding than any other tournament. The goal is always to win the tournament. The NCAA Tournament is the NCAA Tournament. I don't think we will remember the path as much as where we arrived."

Menzies said the biggest challenge of tonight's game is playing against a different style of play the night after the Nevada game.

Friday, March 12, 2010

WAC Tournament discussion (Semifinals)

No. 1 Utah State vs. No. 4 Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m. Mountain
Teams split in the regular season with each team winning at home. I think Utah State's 67-61 win in Logan on Feb. 17 gives a better indication of this matchup than the opening weekend of WAC play, even though that was the last time Utah State lost a game. This game was right there for the Bulldogs, but a couple miscues down the stretch from Magnum Rolle sealed the win, most notably giving up an offensive rebound and a subsequent three-point play off a missed free throw. Utah State's Pooh Williams also proved capable of carrying the UtAgs against a more athletic team, scoring 15 in the second half. Can the UtAgs depend on that production again from Williams while he will also most likely be asked to guard La. Tech's Kyle Gibson?


No. 2 Nevada vs. No. 3 New Mexico State, 10 p.m. Mountain ESPN2
NMSU finally played some defense against a good perimeter team in San Jose State on Thursday. I thought the addition of Troy Gillenwater would tip the scales in the Aggies' favor when they went to Reno last week but that wasn't the case. Babbitt has averaged 24.5 ppg and 10 rpg against the Aggies this season, shooting 15 of 26 (58 percent) and 5 of 8 (63 percent) from 3-point range in two wins over the Aggies. Not to mention Brandon Fields, who has has a pair of career performances against NMSU over the years, scoring 32 in Reno, getting to the rim and dishing out nine assists. Maybe the Aggies play man ? Or shade their zone to Fields and take their chances with Armon Johnson shooting the 3? Either way, McKines and Gillenwater have to be physical with Babbitt.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WAC Tournament discussion

I wanted to post an entry where you/we can discuss the tournament in its entirety over the next three days. Players who stand out, breaking down games, etc. Bookmark it, refer to it. I want to see if it works. Utah State and Boise just tipped off on ESPNU.

The WAC website for tournament stats and postgame video

Utah State’s streak hits 16 with 84-60 victory
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Tai Wesley, Brian Green and Pooh Williams each scored 18 points to lead Utah State to its 16th straight victory, 84-60 over Boise State in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament Thursday. Jared Quayle added 13 points and 13 rebounds and Wesley also notched a double-double with 10 rebounds for the top-seeded Aggies (26-6), who outrebounded Boise State 47-27. Utah State advances to Friday’s semifinal against the winner of Thursday’s game between Louisiana Tech and Fresno State. Daequon Montreal had 16 points and Robert Arnold 14 points and eight rebounds for the Broncos (15-17), who shot 38 percent from the field compared to Utah State’s 53 percent. Green was 7 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He had two 3-pointers and a 17-foot jumper during one late stretch to give Utah State a 69-53 lead.


Guyton, Louisiana Tech defeat Fresno State 74-66
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Jamel Guyton scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Louisiana Tech to a 74-66 win over Fresno State Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament. Guyton made 11 of his 14 shots from the field, and was 3-for-5 from 3-point range for Louisiana Tech (23-9). Magnum Rolle added 12 points and nine rebounds and Olu Ashaolu 11 points and eight rebounds for the fourth-seeded Bulldogs.
Louisiana Tech advances to Friday night’s semifinal against top-seeded Utah State (26-2), which defeated Boise State 84-60.
Paul George had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Fresno State (15-18), the fifth seed.
Fresno trailed 33-32 at the half and held its last lead when Sylvester Seay’s 3-pointer made it 48-46 with 13:30 remaining.
Louisiana Tech answered with an 8-0 run when Rolle converted a 3-point play inside, Guyton hit from 3 and Rolle scored again inside to go back in front for good, 54-48 with 9:11 left.

Nevada rolls past Idaho 87-71 in WAC quarterfinal
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Luke Babbitt scored 21 points to lead five Nevada players in double figures and the Wolf Pack poured in seven 3-pointers in the first half en route to an 87-71 win over Idaho Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament. Brandon Fields had 15 points, Joey Shaw 14, Armon Johnson 13 and Dario Hunt 12 for the Wolf Pack (20-11). Nevada shot 55 percent from the field and made 10 of 18 from 3-point range.
On Friday, the Wolf Pack will meet the winner of Thursday night’s quarterfinal between third-seeded New Mexico State and sixth-seeded San Jose State. Luciano de Souza had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field for Idaho (15-16), which shot 40 percent from the field and missed 8 of 19 free throws.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WAC reprimands Morrill

Here is the release the WAC sent out just before midnight. Luckily I don't have a life so I was still at the office when it was sent out.

WAC REPRIMANDS UTAH STATE’S STEW MORRILL
DENVER – Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson announced today that Utah State University men's basketball coach Stew Morrill has been publicly reprimanded for violating the WAC’s sportsmanship code during the March 6 game against New Mexico State.
Following a technical foul by a New Mexico State player, Morrill directed “provocative language” towards the player. This clearly violated the WAC’s sportsmanship code and any further violations of the code may result in a minimum of a one game suspension.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WAC looking into JY incident

There have been numerous message board and blog posts stemming from an incident that resulted in a Jahmar Young technical foul just before the half at Utah State on Saturday.

According to some accounts, Utah State coach Stew Morrill addressed Young directly, which is certain unusual for any coach.

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson cited the altercation between New Mexico coach Steve Alford and a BYU player earlier this season that resulted in a statement by the conference. The WAC has reprimanded a number of coaches for criticizing officials this year.

"Conferences have policies addressing confrontations between coaches and players and coaches and officials. All I can say is that it's under review," Benson said.


Here's an interesting quote from Morrill in the Logan newspaper

Jardine and Young got tangled up in front of the USU bench. Jardine came up with the steal and called timeout. Young had to be restrained and eventually was whistled for a technical - Quayle sank both free throws with 36.7 seconds left in the half. Menzies and Morrill then exchanged words as the crowd roared.

"We got a little fire going, I know that," Morrill said. "I haven't wanted to fight for a long time, but I did right then. I probably wouldn't have lasted long, but I would have got my licks in. It got a little emotional, but that's OK. Sometimes that's what it takes. Brady was just hustling, didn't do anything wrong."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Official All-WAC

First Team
Luke Babbitt, Nevada, F, 6-9, 225, So., Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)
Jahmar Young, New Mexico State, G, 6-4, 180, Jr., Baltimore, Md. (Laurinberg Prep)
Adrian Oliver, San Jose State, G, 6-4, 210, Jr., Modesto, Calif. (Washington
Jared Quayle, Utah State, G, 6-1, 180, Sr., Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)
Tai Wesley, Utah State, F, 6-7, 240, Jr., Provo, Utah (Provo HS)


Second Team
Paul George, Fresno State, G/F, 6-8, 215, So., Palmdale, Calif. (Pete Knight HS)
Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech, G, 6-5, 205, Sr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Dorsey HS)
Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech, F/C, 6-11, 220, Sr., Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)
Armon Johnson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 195, Jr., Reno, Nev. (Hug HS)
Jonathan Gibson, New Mexico State, G, 6-1, 171, Sr., West Covina, Calif. (Calvary Christian)

Honorable Mention
Daequon Montreal, Boise State, F, 6-8, 220, Jr., Syracuse, N.Y. (College of Southern Idaho)
Sylvester Seay, Fresno State, F, 6-10, 235, Sr., San Bernardino, Calif. (Arizona State)
Roderick Flemings, Hawai‘i, F, 6-7, 210, Sr., Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)
Mac Hopson, Idaho, G, 6-2, 185, Sr., Portland, Ore. (Washington State)
Wendell McKines, New Mexico State, F, 6-6, 224, Jr., Oakland, Calif. (Richmond HS)

Player of the Year: Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Freshman of the Year: Greg Smith, Fresno State
Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Stew Morrill, Utah State

All-Defensive Team
Marvin Jefferson, Idaho, C, 6-10, 245, Sr., Merced, Calif. (Modesto JC)
Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech, G, 6-5, 205, Sr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Dorsey HS)
Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech, F/C, 6-11, 220, Sr., Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)
Dario Hunt, Nevada, F, 6-8, 230, So., Colorado Springs, Colo. (Charis Prep)
Pooh Williams, Utah State, G/F, 6-3, 200, Jr., Federal Way, Wash. (Federal Way HS)

All-Newcomer Team
Daequon Montreal, Boise State, F, 6-8, 220, Jr., Syracuse, N.Y. (College of Southern Idaho)
Greg Smith, Fresno State, C, 6-10, 250, Fr., Fresno, Calif. (Westwind Academy/Edison HS)
DeAndre Brown, Louisiana Tech, G, 5-11, 160, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas (Navarro JC)
Nate Bendall, Utah State, F, 6-9, 245, Jr., Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake CC)
Brian Green, Utah State, G, 6-1, 195, Jr., Kaysville, Utah (Salt Lake CC)


WOMEN
First Team
Shanavia Dowdell, Louisiana Tech
Tasha Harris, Boise State
Adrienne Johnson, Louisiana Tech
Tahnee Robinson, Nevada
Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State

Second Team
Crystal Boyd, New Mexico State
Rachele Kloke, Idaho
Shavon Moore, Nevada
Hayley Munro, Fresno State
Amber White, Utah State

All-Defensive Team
Alice Coddington, Utah State
Shanavia Dowdell, Louisiana Tech
Adrienne Johnson, Louisiana Tech
Shavon Moore, Nevada
Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State

All-Freshman Team
Banna Diop, Utah State
Lauren Lenhardt, Boise State
Julia Marshall, Boise State
Rosie Moult, Fresno State
Camila Rosen, New Mexico State


Player of the Year: Shanavia Dowdell, Louisiana Tech
Defensive Player of the Year: Jaleesa Ross, Fresno State
Newcomer of the Year: Tahnee Robinson, Nevada
Coach of the Year: Adrian Wiggins, Fresno State

Saturday, March 6, 2010

WAC brackets

Well it's San Jose State and then likely another matchup with Nevada in the semis. It's hard to beat a team three times, but the Aggies have given up 54, 59 and 47 points in the second half of their last three games.

Anyway, here are the matchups with times in pacific

Men (Thursday)
No. 1 Utah State vs. No. 8 Boise State Noon on ESPNU
No. 4 Louisiana Tech vs. No. 5 Fresno State at 2:30 p.m. on ESPNU
No. 2 Nevada vs. No. 7 Idaho at 6 p.m.
No. 3 NMSU vs. No. 6 San Jose State at 8:30 p.m.

Women (Wednesday)
No. 1 Fresno State vs. No. 8 Hawaii, Noon
No. 4 Idaho vs. No. 5 New Mexico State, 2:30 p.m.
No. 3 Nevada vs. No. 6 Boise State, 6 p.m.
No. 2 Louisiana Tech vs. Utah State 8:30 p.m.

All-WAC

The all-conference selection will be released later this afternoon. There were some head scratchers last year like leaving Wendell McKines off of any team so here are my first two teams. Stats used don't reflect Saturday's games.

In case you're curious, which I'm sure you're not, my preseason team had Jahmar Young, Luke Babbitt, Kyle Gibson, Mac Hopson and Sylvester Seay.

First team
Luke Babbitt — Nevada
(His 21.5 points per game is second in the WAC and he leads the league with 9.3 rebounds. More impressive is his 51 percent field goal percentage, 53 in WAC play; and he shoots the 3 at 41 percent, 44 percent in WAC play. He leads the WAC with an 89.8 percentage from the line in WAC games and is shooting 90 percent from the line for the season)

Adrian Oliver — San Jose State
(Along with Young as perhaps the best scorers in the WAC. Seventh in the league shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. Leads WAC overall with 22.9 ppg and 24.2 ppg in WAC play. He made (177) and attempted (200) more free throws than any player in the top 13 in free throw percentage, shooting 89 percent from the line. He also adds 3.4 assists per game in WAC play.)

Jahmar Young — New Mexico State
(I think the thing about Jahmar that is so impressive is that as a guard, who spends the majority of his time on the perimeter, JY was shooting 50 percent from the field entering Saturday. He is third in the league in scoring at 21 points per game and his 66 made 3s were third behind teammate Jonathan Gibson (95) and La. Tech's Jamel Guyton (63) among the top 15 scorers. In WAC games, he's hitting 40 percent of his 3s. Although he's a 84 percent free throw shooter, his percentage from the line has dipped to 75 percent in WAC games.)

Armon Johnson — Nevada
(This is the first and only time that I go with the better overall basketball player vs. the system guy (Jared Quayle) Johnson is eighth in the league in scoring with 16.1 ppg. He leads the league in assists with 5.6 per game. Quayle leads the WAC with a 2.9 assist to TO ratio in WAC games, but Johnson's 2.2 isn't too shabby. Quayle is hands down a better shooter, Johnson only entered Saturday with just 14 made 3s.)

Tai Wesley — Utah State
(Although La. Tech's Rolle had better numbers, there needs to be a member from the WACs best team on the first team right? I can't penalize them for being balanced and that's what Wesley was. He averaged 13 and 6 for the season and those numbers remained the same in WAC play. His 55 percent shooting from the floor is better than Rolle's 52 percent, but Rolle was clearly more involved offensively for his team with 181 attempts to Wesley's 136. Wesley was also ninth in the league with 3.7 assists per game.)


Second team
Kyle Gibson — Louisiana Tech
(One of the most all around players in the WAC. Fourth in scoring at 18.7 per game)

Jared Quayle — Utah State
(Does a great job running the show for Utah State. Not in the top 15 scorers or top 7 assists men for the season, Quayle can knock down shots and is fifth in the league in steals.)

Jonathan Gibson — New Mexico State
(Ffith in the league in scoring with 18.2 per game and first with 95 made 3s. San Jose State's Robert Owens is second with 75

Wendell McKines — New Mexico State
(Did he play enough games to be here? Probably not, but he probably finishes WAC play near a double double for the second straight season in WAC play)

Magnum Rolle — Louisiana Tech
(12th in scoring at 14.3 and fourth in rebounds at 8.6. Also leads the league with 2.2 blocks per game)

Honorable mention
Sylvester Seay — Fresno State
Mac Hopson — Idaho
Roderick Flemings — Hawaii
Paul George — Fresno State

Player of the Year — Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Coach of the Year — Stu Morrill, Utah State

Friday, March 5, 2010

Utah State

Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said he favored NCAA tournament expansion. Part of the reason is that his team has won three straight regular season championships.

"I've always believed that the regular season means a lot," he said. "That 2 1/2 months defines your team. Expand if it rewards the regular season champs. If they do that, then lets expand."

Utah State hasn't played the Aggies with Troy Gillenwater in the lineup, but on the flip side, Utah State sharpshooter Brian Green, who is shooting 64 percent in WAC play, hitting 30 of 47 attempts from long range.

Utah State leads the nation with a 42.3 percent 3-point percentage, but they were 3 of 13 from long distance against the Aggies without Green in the lineup in Las Cruces.

I still think NMSU is the better team and a tough matchup for Utah State, but it's hard to expect them to go to Logan and win if they keep playing the same defense they have the past two games.

Tournament seeding

As promised, here are the WAC scenarios for all 9 teams.


Boise State
7 If Boise State beats San Jose State and Hawai‘i beats Idaho

8 If Boise State beats San Jose State and Idaho beats Hawai‘i OR
If Boise State loses to San Jose State and Idaho beats Hawai‘i OR
If Boise State loses to San Jose State, Hawai‘i beats Idaho and Louisiana Tech beats Nevada

X If Boise State loses to San Jose State, Hawai‘i beats Idaho and Nevada beats Louisiana Tech

Fresno State
5 Locked in

Hawai‘i
8 If Hawai‘i beats Idaho, San Jose State beats Boise State and Nevada beats Louisiana Tech

X If Hawai‘i loses to Idaho OR
If Hawai‘i beats Idaho and Boise State beats San Jose State OR
If Hawai‘i beats Idaho, San Jose State beats Boise State and Louisiana Tech beats Nevada

Idaho
7 If Idaho beats Hawai‘i OR
If Idaho loses to Hawai‘i and San Jose State beats Boise State

8 If Idaho loses to Hawai‘i and Boise State beats San Jose State

Louisiana Tech
3 If Louisiana Tech beats Nevada

4 If Louisiana Tech loses to Nevada

Nevada
2 If Nevada beats Louisiana Tech and Utah State beats New Mexico State

3 If Nevada beats Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State beats Utah State

4 If Nevada loses to Louisiana Tech

New Mexico State
2 If New Mexico State beats Utah State OR
If New Mexico State loses to Utah State and Louisiana Tech beats Nevada

3 If New Mexico State loses to Utah State and Nevada beats Louisiana Tech

San Jose State
6 Locked in

Utah State
1 Locked in

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scholarship update

Marvin Menzies said on Tuesday that freshman point guard Da'Shawn Gomez will not be with the team next season, opening up another scholarship. Gomez appeared in seven games for a total of 57 minutes. Menzies said the Aggies are recruiting combo guards and another post player

With the graduation of Jonathan Gibson and the departure of Gomez, Menzies said he is recruiting like the Aggies have two scholarships to fill.

6-10 center Tshilidzi Nephawe will likely receive Gibson's scholarship and if you recall in my story about Gillenwater's return, Troy Gillenwater has paid his own way this year. Menzies said he plans to give one back to Gillenwater, leaving the Aggies with one as far as I can tell and that is all based on an assumption that the Aggies will get their scholarship back from APR this spring.

News and notes

I talked to WAC media relations guy Jason Erickson regarding seeding scenarios entering this weekend's final slate of games.

"Every single game has seeding implications on Thursday," he said. Erickson said the WAC is going to put out a win lose scenario on Friday.

Here is what I have figured out for NMSU so far. I'm not so sure about the split scenario though.

If the Aggies get swept this weekend, NMSU would finish 11-5 and in third behind Utah State and Nevada if Nevada beats Louisiana Tech on Saturday. I think the Aggies could finish second if La. Tech beats Fresno State on Thursday and Nevada on Saturday and then La. Tech would be third and Nevada would be fourth.

If the Aggies sweep this weekend, they are the No. 1 seed, followed by Utah State and if La. Tech wins at Fresno, the winner of La. Tech/Nevada on Saturday would determine the 3/4, but it would come down to tiebreakers if Nevada wins since the Bulldogs beat Nevada the first time.

If the Aggies split this weekend, they would finish 12-4. If they lose at Nevada and win at Utah State, they would be the No. 2 seed. If they lost at Utah State and win at Nevada, I think they still end up at No. 2 regardless of what Nevada does against Fresno.

Check back on Friday.

I wrote a story on Nolan Richardson for today's paper. Richardson was signing books, as he is the subject of Rus Bradburd's book Forty Minutes of Hell. Richardson had some nice things to say about the book.

There was a photo last week of Richardson and Lou Henson.

"I was 15 years old and I played against his teams when I was at Bowie and he was coaching at Las Cruces High. I think we split that year. I was a sophomore when I first met him."

Richardson rememberd playing against Henson's Aggies team in the 1998 Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks Alaska. Arkansas was ranked No. 19 at the time and won by 6.

"His wife and my wife are really close. We all belonged to the Converse family back in the day and they used to take us on a cruise. We got to be close to them for five or six days. It was probably 15 couples."

I asked Richardson what he thought about NMSU having a black men's basketball coach, a black AD and a black head football coach.

"I wasn't familiar with that but to hear what you just told me about an African American having opportunities at key positions. Positions of authority is very important just because we have so many youngsters that are athletes in football and basketball. So in some of our kids could say, 'Hey I want to be an AD' because they see one. It's hard to want to be something a lot of times if you never see it."

Just some comments from a pretty interesting man.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thanks for playing Fresno State

Well I thought perhaps the Aggies had a good shot at Utah State on Saturday, but Fresno State put up absolutely no resistance. Utah State won 76-39. Really? I think if any coaching changes occur, maybe at Fresno?

At any rate, I assume the Utah State regulars got some rest since they were only up 40-14 at halftime. It would have been tough for the Aggies to go there anyway, but that was Utah State's last game before Saturday and the Aggies obviously have another tough one at Nevada.