I'm operating here with the understanding the NMSU still has two scholarships to fill and assuming that everyone is coming back.
I believe next year to be similar to the up and down season when Jonathan Gibson was a junior and Jahmar Young was a sophomore. I think there is talent there, but they will be very young and inexperienced, but should be among the top 3 teams in an improved WAC.
Unlike this year after Christian Kabongo left, the Aggies will have depth in the backcourt and on the wings so the Aggies should be able to play the same type of pressuring defense throughout the course of the game that they did early on in the season. The question will be if the Aggies want to play that way. That will depend on the fitness level of Sim Bhullar and Chili Nephawe. I think the Aggies could still pressure and do all of the things we have come to expect in transition if Bhullar and Nephawe play nearly 20 minutes per game with BJ West spelling them.
It goes without saying the Aggies would be well served to get at least one shooter and possibly a polished post player.
KC Ross-Miller and Terrel de Rouen will each be coming off of injury issues. de Rouen seemed to be reaching that confidence level that it takes freshmen a while to develop. Then he got hurt. Ross Miller has also been rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, although not as serious as de Rouen. I don't see Ross-Miller as a lights out scoring point guard, but is apparently better at driving and creating opportunities for teammates. de Rouen's strength is his athletic ability, and I think he can really make an impact defensively but the question is can he get healthy.
Daniel Mullings has a big off season ahead of him. While it would be nice to see him knock down the 3, I don't want to see him settling for 3s next year. He's so good driving, hopefully he works on pulling up and knocking down midrange jumpers and shooting free throws, where he was a 62 percent last year — 46 percent in WAC play.
Feinberg wrote about Bandja Sy on his blog. I wasn't a fan his first two years, but it's been remarkable to watch Sy's improvement on the court and just a better all-around awareness about the game. For example, that big block on Phillip McDonald in Albuquerque. Sy knew the Lobos needed a 3, Sy was patient on defense and waited for his chance to block the shot without fouling. He was steady on defense all year and that's the important thing. He has a nice touch from 3 point land as well, but for some reason only shoots from the baseline. I would like to see him develop more confidence and aggressiveness going to the basket and getting to the line more as well. I don't know where Sy would be most effective next year, starting or coming off the bench but he will certainly be an important player. Tyrone Watson has been in the starting lineup the past two years and I've written about how important he is to the team. He can play multiple positions and is good at distributing the ball but lacks a scoring punch. Again, not sure whether he should start or come off the bench next year.
Remi Barry has shown he can at the very least, hit the occassional long range shot. He should improve with an offseason under his belt after playing competitive basketball for the first time in three years. Eric Weary had impressive numbers in high school and according to some also has the ability to shoot. Between these two and perhaps one or two additions, the Aggies will be more of a threat from 3- point range.
Wendell McKines leaves a gaping hole in terms of production at the four spot and leadership. I'm going to go ahead and say that I would like to see Renaldo Dixon come back at the power forward. I think he's just as confident shooting the jumper as McKines was and he's got more size than Wendell. Hopefully he returns with his head right after essentially losing his sophomore year. I also would think the Aggies have the ability to bring in an additional power forward with one of their two scholarships available.
The mix of Sim Bhullar, Chili Nephawe and BJ West is intriguing, if not extremely unproven. Will Bhullar return from a foot injury, can he get fit enough to get up and down the court? If yes, could you imagine a lineup with Bhullar and Nephawe together for short stretches. I was down on Nephawe for most of the year, but he played very well late in the season as he got completely healthy and showed a little fire to him. BJ West is more athletic at the center spot and can spell either center and could likely help close games out since he's more capable of getting up and down the court.