Marvin Menzies said that Troy Gillenwater has been a silent leader for the Aggies this year.
From watching his body language on Thursday against Hawaii, Gillenwater seemed like a positive presence on the bench before he came in with six minutes left until halftime. The Aggies likely would have won without Gillenwater, but once he came in, it was over. Not only did he produce in the scoring column but at every dead ball, look at who is calling his teammates into huddles at free throws and talking to his teammates.
"Just having him on the floor, the other team has to choose to double Troy or what," NMSU guard Gordo Castillo said. "I think it's great for us. He's a big body. He's our player and having him on the floor is big for all of us."
Gillenwater scored 13 points with 10 rebounds in 18 minutes, but he has consistently given the credit to his teammates.
"Our teammates look for me in the right spots and I have to give the credit to my teammates. They know where I'm good at scoring the ball so I just try to be aggressive. I know they feel more complete with our whole team out there. I'm not comparing myself to Kobe Bryant, but if Kobe Bryant is not playing, then the Lakers are a different team. That is how it is when any team has their main guy that is out. They rallied even with me out, we were up by eight points at one point. They understand. We have had injuries all year and they know how to rally."
There has been no denying Gillenwater's talent since coming to Las Cruces, but there have been instances, even this year in Springfield, where things got to him and took him out of the game.
Since then, Gillenwater seems to have taken another step in his maturation in Las Cruces. Perhaps it's because he has waited his turn to be the 'man' here or perhaps it's only natural that Gillenwater, who turned 22 recently, has grown up in his four years here.
"It's one of the good things about bringing in kids as freshmen," Menzies said. "Most freshmen are not ready to walk onto a Division I floor and go to the NBA the next year. There is usually a growth process. It's good to see it and be involved with it and be a part of making it happen."