This post has to do with Tyrone Watson in a basketball only role with the Aggies now that he has been re-instated to play starting March 1. First a quick note, I spoke with Jack Thomas, who was the chairman of the NMSU committee that Watson appealed his suspension. 30 days seemed arbitrary to me and I thought it was convenient that the suspension was lifted just prior to the WAC Tournament. Thomas said that it wasn't about the amount of days, but rather the amount of contests (7) that he missed, which is about 22 percent of the season and that it was retroactive to consider the time he has already been suspended.
Watson is able to rejoin the team for practice this week and will be able to play on March 2 at Denver. Whether or not Marvin Menzies plays him and how much he plays him is yet to be seen.
"We werer 6-1 without Tyrone so that says a lot about the supporting staff," Menzies said. "We are really excited to have him back. He gave us a real zip there in the end (of Saturday's UTEP win) because I mentioned his name in one of the timeouts. I said we have to dig a little deeper for our boy right now."
I believe Watson will return to the starting lineup upon his return.
I have changed my mind several times regarding the simple question of should Watson start should he return. I can see both sides. Here is how I see it on both sides. First of all, Menzies has said in the past and backed it up by the way he coaches that just because you start doesn't mean you finish a game. But also consider Tyrone Watson has gobbled up minutes throughout his career so if he starts a game, there is a pretty good chance he will finish it.
Reasons to start Watson:
Watson has been part of two NCAA Tournament teams at NMSU and has started every game for the better part of the past three years. It's late in this season, but Las Vegas will be the first conference tournament where several players are playing big minutes whereas Watson has been there and done that. He was a team leader and I'm fairly certain by players on Twitter and marking on their shoes, that the team still regards him as a leader.
Say what you will about his shooting form, Watson is more valuable offensively than Renaldo Dixon. He's an unselfish playmaker on offense who can also relieve pressure with his ball handling. Defensively, in the WAC at least, Watson can guard all five positions on the court.
Reasons not to start Watson:
Reduced minutes for Dixon, Barry at four, chemistry on court, fitness?, perception at Pan Am?
Dixon figures to get prominent minutes backing up Bhullar at the center position. Dixon is big doing the little things off the ball, blocking 37 shots, setting screens and drawing charges. He's also a better free throw shooter (73 percent to 66 percent) than Watson. Remi Barry has come in to provide a scoring punch at the position in recent games and he seems to be the player who could lose minutes unless Dixon returns to strictly backing up Bhullar at center, which you would think would be a tough call. Of course, Bandja Sy has been struggling offensively and Menzies said he would undergo a MRI on the injured knee this week, so perhaps Watson could steal some of Sy's minutes.
This year's team has great chemistry and I doubt there would be grumblings in the lockerroom with whatever roles guys have. But on the court, the Aggies are in a groove and you wonder what adding another dynamic can do to that. Also, Watson has not been able to practice for a month so his conditioning could drop off although I'm sure he hasn't been sitting around playing video games.
It will be interesting to see the reaction at the Pan American Center when the Aggies play La. tech March 7. I think it will be a mixed reaction in the stands to be honest. Blocking things out on the road is one thing, but can Watson block it out with all those eyes on him at home without affecting his performance.