I wrote a story for the paper talking about the Aggies wanting to play together this year. Normally I think that's a cliche or coach speak, but I think this particular NMSU has to truly play together in order to win. By playing together in this case, I think means sharing the ball on offense (because NMSU doesn't have the type of scorers they've had in the past) and showing that they can play man-to-man defense as a team for a sustained period of time, something that takes more than just physical ability.
"We want to try to create an aggressive defensive style," Ags head coach Marvin Menzies said.
Menzies said the Aggies hope to play more man-to-man this year, but even if they end up playing zone again, they need to be active on that end of the floors, creating turnovers and easy scoring chances.
So I want to see a decent number of assists and multiple players getting in the scoring column. I know that Wendell McKines, Christian Kabongo and Hernst Laroche will get the bulk of shots but there are three or four additional players that I want to see in the scoring column.
Defensively, I would like to see some turnovers and a low shooting percentage. To me, those numbers would indicate that the Aggies are pressuring teams like they say they want to. The rebounding number will likely be skewed in NMSU's favor against a Division II team. NMSU outrebounded Eastern NM 55-20 last year and rebounding was a team weakness through the year.
Individually, I want to see if Hamidu Rahman has recovered from injury to the point where he can have a quality senior year. Sophomores CK and Chili need to improve from the first to the second year.
I'm kind of excited about the potential lineup of Hernst Laroche, Christian Kabongo, Daniel Mullings, Wendell McKines and either center. I don't know if I like it as a starting lineup because I think Tyrone Watson is a proven player and Mullings isn't enough of a shooter to surpass him, but that lineup is a high flying lineup with the potential to drive guards crazy.
One thing we will not see, as of Monday at least, is freshman Terrel de Rouen (ankle) or (likely) Sim Bhullar. Bhullar's waiver to the NCAA was denied last week so he's not able to practice. NMSU submitted an appeal for his initial eligibility. That could be determined later this week.