Marvin Menzies said he's disappointed with the 1-3 start to the season, but there is a long way to go. Terrel de Rouen may or may not play on Wednesday against Northern New Mexico after an ankle sprain against Niagara on Sunday. Menzies also said he met with the point guards for over an hour.
"Sometimes we assume things as coaches that players know. I think I did that with KC. I think I did it with Terrel. It was clear and evident after talking to them that there were just some things about our system that needed to be cleared up on how we are going to play, how we have played in the past. I haven't had to do that. ... These guys need more one on one tutelage to get them up to speed, quicker than later," Menzies said.
Despite the poor second half against Niagra, Daniel Mullings still had a shot at the rim that could have won the game. Bandja Sy also had a good look at a 3 to tie the game. NMSU has had seniors or experienced players taking those shots the past three years.
"I like him a lot because I drew that play up for him (Mullings)," Menzies said. "He's shooting a good percentage, he's playing well and playing hard. He was having a good night. There was an option out of it if he didn't like the shot selection, there was a drive and dish option to the wing. He deferred because he felt like he could get all the way to the basket and he did. Same play, we drew up for Kevin (Aronis) with Bandja as a second option. That one also went in and rimmed out. I thought we did a much better job of putting them in positions to be successful."
It takes some time to learn how to close but Mullings and Sy are good options in that situation.
"These guys have a lot of confidence, but that's tough thing to replicate. It has to be real. It has to happen. There is nothing like the real thing. It takes guys some misses before they get their makes."
Defensively, NMSU has been OK this year. Oregon State was probably their best defensive game. The second half against Niagara was maybe the worst. Niagara shot 56 percent in the second half and scored 34 points in the paint, mostly on lay ups and dunks.
"I think we gave up 17 lay ups or dunks. That was the ball screen stuff and some gambling. ... A lot of times, when they got to the rim, there was nobody around and that was because of gambling and also the way we defended the ball screen. We have to get Sim and Chili, not just getting better at defending it, but also us understanding who they are and playing them to their strengths. That's on us as coaches, depending on who we are playing. We have to have a better game plan going into it."
Losing to Oregon State and Bucknell were both good opportunities, and while I can certainly understand the frustration from NMSU fans, the Aggies were competitive in both games. I think NMSU still has six chances this season for out of conference quality wins with four against rivals and at South Alabama and home to Southern Miss. It's not as if these games will determine NMSU's postseason future, but at some point the Aggies have to win one of these games against good teams to prove to themselves they can do it.
"UNM beat UConn last night which is a great win for a team that we are going to go against. This might be our toughest schedule. There was that year (Menzies' first year) there were four games that were really tough. This season, you have maybe six or seven where if you can get your share of those, you never know. We have done a good job in the past of taking early losses and learning from them."