Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Las Cruces HIgh

I know it's a high school post, but I have heard Las Cruces High will announce Mike Smith's replacement as boys basketball coach this week. The Bulldawgs interviewed seven candidates on Monday. Some names that I have heard mentioned are current assistant and former Aggie William Benjamin, current Gadsden assistant coach Saul Perez, Del Norte's Gerome Espinoza and former Las Cruces High assistant and Hatch and Mesilla Valley head coach Claude Gobble. It's a good prep job that appears to have attracted some quality candidates.

Alex Kirk

I've known about Alex Kirk since I came to New Mexico and worked in Farmington for two years. I saw him as a sophomore but haven't seen him since but I know he put on a show in the Class 4A tournament at the Pit. He has big time offers in the bag already but I don't think it ever hurts to go after in state players and the Aggies finally got into the mix. Here is some background followed by a short Q&A with the best in-state 2010 player.

Kirk’s father and high school coach, Alan, said Kirk made unofficial visits to Arizona, UNM, Texas Tech, Colorado and Oklahoma State last fall. He has offers from all of the above except Oklahoma State.

Alan said NMSU made an offer this winter and Chris Pompey made the trip north to watch a Los Alamos game his junior season. The Aggies are one of several schools that have made offers already including WAC rival Utah State, USC, Cal, Oregon State, Arizona State, Tulane, Vandy and Minnesota.

Kirk is 6-10, 225 pounds with a GPA above 3.0. His dad said he is a better shooter than he is with his back to the basket. At the high school level, Kirk averaged 28 points, 14.6 rebounds, seven blocks and 3 assists for his team, which plays in Class 4A in New Mexico.

Kirk plays for Houston Hoops in the summer and he has already played 40 games this summer in tournaments in Virginia, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Houston and Dallas twice. He’s playing in the Nike Memorial Day Classic this weekend in Atlanta. June stops include the Nike Peach Jam Jul 11-15, the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando Jul. 24-27 and the AAU National Championships in Orlando Jul. 27-31. He played with Danny Granger's Southwest Titans last summer and was discovered by Houston at a John Lucas camp in Houston last year.

Have you thought seriously about New Mexico State? When did they start contacting you?
They contacted me midway through my junior season. Tthey are building back up after Theus went to the NBA. Everyone is on my radar right now. I'm open to anyone really at this point.

Any plans to make unofficial to Las Cruces?
I'm pretty busy with school and I have AAU games and tournaments through August so I really don't have time for visits anywhere.

Is there an early favorite as your junior year ends?
I took those visits because there was an opportunity there. They are all really good schools and I enjoyed every single visit.

When are you going to start whittling down the offers?
I have two more weeks of school and then the summer is here where I will have more time to start thinking about it and cut my list down.

Do you have a number in mind you would like to have it broken down to entering your senior year?
I have talked about having a decision made by my senior season, but I am just going to take my time and see how the process works out for me.

What are your strengths?
I feel like I'm a good shot blocker and rebounder. My shot for a big man is pretty good. I can shoot over I lot of people and I think that helps a lot. I can hit from 3-point range on in.

What are you trying to improve on this summer and your senior season?
Just confidence and my conditioning and strength.

How long have you played with Houston Hoops? What is that competition like and how beneficial is it for you?
I started playing with them right after the state tournament. It's been one of the best experiences in my life basketball wise.e Talent is everywhere. Every player there has the opportunity to play Division I and every player we play against will play Division I ball. It benefits me because I don't really have the opportunity to play big men like this in New Mexico. The more games I play, the better I have gotten.

When do you want to make some sort of verbal commitment by?
When I feel like a school is the right fit for me, whenever that happens, I will make a verbal.

Hoops notes

Previous posters have mentioned the possible departure of Chris Gabriel. I came to find out that it is indeed a possiblity, another player who if he does leave, I don't see his leaving as making a major impact on the win loss record. ... But it looks as if Wendell McKines will either miss part of or end up redshirting next season after grades came out. Either way, Wendell was on the verge of a monster junior year and he still will be if he redshirts. Obviously it means that Gillenwater would see his minutes increase, which I think was what caused him to play up and down and land in Menzies' doghouse. Where I think Wendell will be missed the most other than the boards, is his leadership. It seemed like to me Wendell and J.Y. were developing as the vocal leaders on that team as sophomores. ... Spoke with women's coach Darin Spence briefly. He said he hopes his assistant coach job will be posted sometime this week and filled by mid June. He's looking for someone with experience like a head coach at a smaller program who knows how to run and build a program. The new assistant would replace Joel Washington and develop players, recruit among other responsibilities.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gomez is official

Deshawn Gomez signed on Thursday. I hope to talk with him in the next day or so so keep an eye out for that. It's still way early but the Aggies seem to be developing some depth in the backcourt and the frontcourt. Gomez and redshirt Justin Standley are both guys that are considered combo guards. And with Watson joining the team next year and B.J. West and I assume N'doye, there is a mix of players now along the front line.

Monday, May 11, 2009

De'Shawn Gomez

With the regular signing period ending next Wednesday, there is a good possibility that the Inglewood guard could be an Aggie next season. Gomez came to Las Cruces for a visit over the weekend, which means to me that there is a high likelihood he could commit since it's so late in the recruiting season. Last week, the Aggies announced they had signed big man B.J. West to a scholarship and Northern Cali guard Justin Standley will be here as a possible redshirt. It's unclear who would receive the additional two scholarships at this point but it looks like another guard could be on the roster. When the recruiting period began, Menzies said he wanted to go after size and a combo guard type player, which appears to be just what he brought in.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lobo coming to the WAC

Not sure if you saw this or not. Don't remember Willis too much, other than he was a good shooter, kind of got lost in the mix at UNM. Fresno is building up a pretty good stable of guards if Cleveland can stick around to see it all pay off.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Standley to NMSU ... kind of

Justin Standley, a point guard that played his senior season at McClymonds High in Oakland, CA, will be at NMSU in the fall in some form or fashion, most likely as a non-qualifier who could potentially red shirt.
I spoke with him tonight, following are some comments with commentary where needed. Here's a Kevin McCarthy story on him from 2008.

On his academic situation
"I just have to finish a sign language course over the summer for a foreign language class so I can't come out until August."
Standley transferred from Aamador Valley High prior to his senior season (more on that in a minute). He said that McClymonds didn't offer this particular class, but by all indications, Standley is a solid student and he says qualifying shouldn't be an issue for him. Obviously he knows what he has to do and is going about doing it.

On if he would be willing to redshirt
"They told me that I needed to get faster and stronger to play at the Division I tempo. I would redshirt if I had to. It would give me a chance to continue to get my knee stronger and still practice and learn the system."
Standley said he tore five ligaments in his knee his freshman season in high school. It kept him off the court until the summer prior to his junior year.
"It slowed me down and I'm still working my way back."

On his career
"Transferring to McClymonds opened doors. It took a while but I started prove myself. It's a winning program that produce athletes so college coaches would come to our gym and it made it easier."
McClymonds is 89-6 the last three years and Standley played with four college signees as a senior.

On his court leadership
"It became a habit over the years. My AAU coach preached to me and told me to use my IQ level to help other out and now I feel like it's my job. It was hard at a new school being a leader but eventually it happened."

WAC change

Apparently cost saving is a big topic of the WAC meetings this week. Cutting down on expenditures is one reason next year's WAC tournament in Reno will not include the play-in game between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeded teams. Nothing official from the WAC yet, but that could be announced in the next couple of weeks as well as the much potential move of the WAC tournament to Vegas.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Two recruits

Dallas area big man B.J. West was on campus last week. West is a 6-9 power forward who I am still trying to find some info on. Word is he had a good visit and could be the player to get the open scholly the Aggies have if academics work out.

6-foot-1 combo guard Deshawn Gomez from Inglewood, Calif., could also slated to be on campus this week. Here is a link to his stats last year in high school, looks like a capable scorer.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Women's update

Here is a story on the latest NMSU women's signee Jasmine Lowe, a guard from San Francisco that basically replaces the departed Brittany Palmer. It also includes the news that assistant Joel Washington has left the team to attend to his family in the midwest. I also learned that junior college transfer center Areyal Ledeatte will also not play next year.

Darin Spence said the women's schedule is almost complete and it includes 18 home games, which is a lot for any college basketball team and could be huge for this particular program as it attempts to bounce back from a down year. The Thanksgiving Classic includes games against Stephen F. Austin and the first of a home-and-home series against Michigan. Southern Illinois is the fourth team playing in the Classic. Kansas comes to town on Jan. 3 to finish that particular contract after the Aggies went to Lawrence last season. Other home games include Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State North Dakota, North Dakota State and Alcorn State.
I believe other than conference play, that leaves UNM and UTEP as the only non-conference road games. The home game vs. the Lobos is Dec. 2