Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Close game

I have said on this blog that Marvin Menzies did the right thing by sitting Jonathan Gibson at Long Beach State so we won't talk about that loss. He did the right thing by sitting players for the crimson and white butthe Aggies haven't won a close game in the past two years except last year at San Jose State when Gibson hit a shot after the Spartans came back and the WAC semi vs. Nevada comes to mind. This year the Aggies are 0-for 3 (Ok, i included the Long Beach game) in games decided by five or less. Two of those, the Aggies didn't get a shot off on the final possession. To be honest, they only got off one quality look in the last minute on Tuesday and that was from a player who attempted his first field goal of the game with the game in the balance in the last minute (Laroche)

Last year, I remember Justin Hawkins talking about how the Aggies just played ball, and it worked out alright since they had guys like Justin or Passos who they could go to. This year they have talented individual players who can go one-on-one at times but no resemblance of an offense if they aren't getting buckets in transition.

Youth is certainly a factor. One series that stands out to me is when Hernst Laroche found Wendell McKines for a dunk with a beautiful no-look through some traffic from the top of the key for a dunk to put NMSU up 66-63, but UNM got to the foul line again to make it a one-point game. The next time down, Laroche made a great read on an offensive rebound off a Jahmar Young miss, but he dribbled it off his foot with 52.6 left. Alford called a timeout and Faris hit the game winner.

Menzies made a point to talk about the youth of his team in his postgame comments but it doesn't change the fact that San Jose State has seniors in the starting lineup, Fresno State has big-time freshmen and a ASU transfer and the Aggies are 0-6 on the road.

Both hoops coaches at NMSU have talked about all of the non-conference games are just preparation for WAC play. Well now WAC play is here and although its weaker than in the past on both sides, growth is fine but you still have to enter the games with the intent to win and not just gain experience and I think that message should come from the head coach.


Anonymous said...

0-13 in Road non-conference since Menzies came here and 0-6 road losing streak??!!

It's time for the kids to play beyond their years and stop using the "youth" excuse!

Anonymous said...

One 'three' attempt in the second half, withstood Toppert's flurry and kept looking to go inside to the bigs. Did everything I was asking for.
J.G. - I know the coaches had to act like they accepted the refs call on Gillenwater to stay in his good graces, but how did Troy foul anybody before his shot that went in?? I'd like to know the explanation the ref gave them in that timeout!

Anonymous said...

Aside from rebounding, Guard play killed us. With the exception of J. Gibson, here are our Guards offensive stats: JY first point coming with 8:24 left, finishing with 7(Avg. 17). Laroche getting his only 2 with 5:06 left(got 7 in Abq), Joyner 10 minutes
0 points(has only scored in 2 games), Gordo 13 minutes 3 points(Only points scored in both UNM games). Add Gillenwater playing 19 and only getting 5 pts (Avg 12)and that is a recipe for a loss.

Anonymous said...

UNM had to take their best athlete (Danridge) to neutralize JY in man-to-man D. Tony might have been 2 of 10 from the field, too, if it weren't for his two break-away, high percentage dunks. It took a lot of effort on his part to chace JY around. NMSU played more man D, but not as much as UNM and not enough for my liking. Our zone is easy to break and shoot over. That it worked in the first UTEP game surprised everybody.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago I stated that Coach Menzies is not qualified to run a Division I program. He doesn't know how to reach, or teach, players. I was called "stupid" from what I recall. Now people are saying almost the same exact things about Menzies that I was already saying and getting attacked for.

I hate to tell you I TOLD YOU SO, but.......I TOLD YOU SO!!

I am one of the TRUE AGGIE FANS like someone else stated on here. I moved away from Las Cruces but still spent a lot of money traveling around to see NM State play, despite having the opportunity to support better programs at places like Texas and Texas A&M.

No personal offense J.G., but you are not the only one that knows basketball and people that do not care for Menzies should not be dimissed as being wrong or not educated on college basketall when the proof that we are right keeps mounting each day Menzies is in charge of the basketball program.

New Mexico and UTEP are NOT the quality teams of the past. NM State is now 2-6 against the Lobos and the Miners under Menzies. I was in attendance at the Lobo game here in Las Cruces and the Aggies were playing scared, like they had never seen a basketball before. The Lobos are physically a weak team and the Aggies couldn't handle was pathetic. The players run the same boring offense, they don't play any perimeter defense, they still haven't learned what to do in a close game situation and they have no direction from the coaching staff.

I have no doubt that NM State will be looking for another men's basketball coach within the next couple years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the stats, IC Aggies were on the short side of points off turnovers, 2nd chance pts, fastbreak pts, 3-pointers, rebounding, ...almost every statistical category. So why did they nearly win (if it weren't for TG's basket waved off)? Because they went right at the rim and got to the charity stripe 31 times, making 77%. It was a gutsy, blue collar effort. No one was 'scared' of the Lobos (Anon 10:39), just like they never backed down to a physically imposing UTEP. Scared of losing, maybe you mean? The reason the Aggies played so tight early is they knew they should have won in the Pit and wanted to prove it to the Pan Am fans so badly. One or two more passes on some backscreen cuts and it was a dang near great come back.
Anon 10:39, one alternative is NMSU might pay a guy $900K to scream at the players because he played under Bob Knight? That's not panning out too well for UNM, as you point out. Now we have Menzies and Walker, two teachers with more of a Tony Dungy demeanor than a Knight/Alford hair-trigger. Alford will throw a chair before it's all over, betcha.
A sweep by UNM is painful, but we tied the second half !! (jk/borrowing a Jim Hess line) Nobody should be calling you stupid, Anon 10:39, you're obviously very committed to the bball program. Thanks brother, you're right at this juncture, but I hope for the sake of all of us that you get surprised! Not sure about Aggie success on Thurs., Nevada looked multi-dimensional versus UNC if you saw that tilt??

Anonymous said...

I would love it if the Aggies and Menzies surprised me and proved me wrong. We all want NM State to do well in basketball. However, I'm a realistic person and it's pretty obvious that so far Menzies is not doing well as coach of NM State.

By his remarks to the media, it appears that Menzies thinks it's ok to lose a lot of non-conference games....well it's not ok. A mid-major program like NM State needs every non-conference win it can get to have any shot at an at-large NIT or NCAA berth and Menzies just doesn't seem to grasp that fact.

Division I ball is competitive and there is pressure to win. Menzies is too laid back and non-chalant for my tastes. If he doesn't care about wins and losses, then he should return to coaching community college ball.

Jason Groves said...

I can understand the feelings by Aggies fans, but something that I wanted to add was that I don't think Menzies doesn't care. He doesn't like losing anymore than any other coach so I don't think there is a lack of fire in him. There was one time in the postgame where he lost his train of thought because he was so upset in the way the game ended. Just as his team is learning, he is still learning to coach in those late game, close game situations.

Anonymous said...

At least I don't feel like I'm getting taken to the cleaners with Menzies, compared to the Alford situation at UNM. Dewayne Walker has a fairly reasonable salary, too. For that money these guys can put up with some criticisms. Recruiting to NM is hard no matter if you're Neil McCarthy, Lou Henson, or Dave Bliss. Alford got a nice looking player in Will Brown. I don't know if you get the radio feed of the games, but this year Jack Nixon asks pointed questions of Menzies, in a non-hostile way, 15-mins after the game. Menzies answers every time and there's always been progress in those areas discussed game-to-game. If I stop seeing improvement and team cohesivenes among the young men, I suppose I would stop following the team and going to games. But to this point in non-conference it's been looking like they stick to the game plan. Even in the Pit they took a flurry of three's and then went to the offense. It didn't work out but it was a gameplan that made sense and everybody played their role. That's the good thing about young guys, especially if you can keep 'em for 4 years.

Anonymous said...

The players are hard workers and you can see that they really try their best. My point has always been that they are young and need direction. Menzies is not mentoring them to correct mistakes. Menzies has no structure to his system and it's impossible for the young players to learn things the right way. The way the young players are developing under Menzies, three years from now they will still be making the same mistakes.

If this year's team ends up with a losing record, I wouldn't be surprised to see players like McKines, Young and Gillenwater transfer. Those three can play for any program in the country. I'm sure eventually they will get frustrated with Menzies' coaching style.

I understand that NM State does not pay big bucks like other schools, but the administration still had the opportunity to hire better candidates than Menzies and they took a risk that is not panning out.

Anonymous said...

Who was better? Menzies was the best recruiter of the bunch, and has been an assistant under many good coaches. Most notably Patino. He's proven his recruiting prowess. Give him more than 1 1/2 seasons to make things happen. He's got a great group of coaches around him, and they were all successful during their respective tenures as HC. What are you guys expecting at this point? What are you realistically expecting from underclassmen?

Anonymous said...

RM, good points you bring up. Most of the people hacking on Menzies don't know basketball and probably have never played, even on playgrounds. And 10:39, it was not me who called you stupid for some previous post, but you make it clear that you are still stupid from your most recent remarks. Lets just see how the league goes before we jump to conclusions. Even if we have a good non conference road record, we do not get NIT or NCAA bids. Got to win the league.

Anonymous said...

HELLO RM!? NOLAN RICHARDSON, native El Pasoan, speaks Spanish, has an hispanic wife and knows the culture here in Las Cruces, can recruit with the best of them, national championship on his resume...Duh.

I was expecting a winning record. I wasn't expecting losses to weak teams like Long Beach State and N. Texas. With the exception of USC and Kansas, the Aggies have played a super weak schedule...two of the teams they have played have only one win and a third has no wins. 6-7 is pathetic with their schedule.

It doesn't really matter anyways because I'm going back to San Antonio soon and the Lobo game was the last one for me, at least until Menzies leaves. The Spurs of the NBA, Texas, Texas A&M, even usually crappy UT-San Antonio has a better basketball team than NM State this year. I have a million better choices where I live and I think I might just start supporting other teams.

I really don't need the ignorance or attitude of people in Las Cruces. I remember now why I left this dusty town so many years ago. Have fun with your losing season and "top notch" coach Aggie fans.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 6:27. The losses at this point are painful, but the idea of these guys wanting to transfer is really scary. Sure they're young and talented and are going to go through some tough losses. But I'm afraid these guys are going to transfer if things don't get better. We already lossed some great talent due to not being happy in LC under Menzies.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:57 - Good riddance. BTW, Richardson is a fossil who is coaching the Mexican national team because that's the only gig he can get. He'll never be successful at the collegiate DI level again. Talk about ignorance. So have fun in that backwards state of Texas. You will not be missed.

Lets not forget Theus had some terrible losses too under his tenure. And lets not forget teams improve from one season to the next (i.e LBSU). 6-7 is not pathetic. Aside from the home game against UNM, I have no problems with the way the team has been playing. Bringing up the LBSU game, Gibson had to sit because he wasn't taking care of business. Good move by MM.

As for players transferring, can we save that kind of BS speculation for after the season?

Jesus people use your head. DUH