Thursday, August 27, 2009

Women's standouts early on

I wanted to put something on here about the women's team. Like the men, the Aggies have eight hours a week with players until practice starts in October. Only two of those hours can be on the court with skill instruction and only in groups of four.

Aggies coach Darin Spence said he has worked out with his players three times, mixing up the groups each time.

"As a group, the entire group has grown up a lot since a year ago," Spence said. "The maturity level is a lot higher even though we are sophomores, juniors and some freshmen. They are much more mature than they were a year ago."

I asked Spence for some standouts so far;

6-foot-3 sophomore Cindy Ekweozor was the first one he talked about.Spence said he expects her to contribute more in the pain this year after she had spot minutes last year.
"Cindy really came back much much better. Her attention span, work ethic and intensity is night and day better. As a 6-3 rebounder and defender, she can really help us when we play big teams. She is someone that we really hope can give us minutes this year."

After not playing basketball last season, junior college transfer guard Jasmine Lowe is working her way into shape. Lowe will play both guard positions. Sophomore Kelsie Rozendaal has improved her conditioning and junior guard Danisha Corbett is coming off thumb surgery on her shooting hand. Corbett hurt the injury in San Diego last season and played through it, getting surgery in the spring. Spence said it has forced her to improve her ball handling with her left hand.

Spence said all three freshmen are doing well. Camilla Rosen is coming off of knee injury that kept her off the court as a senior last year. Christina Fletcher from Illinois is a 6-1 post whose athleticism has come as a pleasant surprise.

International Aggies

With the Aggies adding a pair of international players this week that join walk on Makhtar Diop from Senegal, Canadians Hernst Laroche and Tyrone Watson, I just wanted to see what you think of going elsewhere for talent?
Menzies has a good point that at a school like NMSU, you have to think outside the box and apparently outside the country. Menzies replaced South African Chris Gabriel with N'Doye from Senegal. Menzies has been doing this a long time and I believe if I'm not mistaken that N'Doye, as well as Gillenwater and Sy all have ties to Stoneridge Prep. Stoneridge has a long history of churning out international players to the Division I level.

I don't know how these players turn out to be on the court, but one thing is for certain. The Aggies will be the most diverse club in the WAC this year, as well as one of the biggest in terms of size.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Now that the official schedule has been released, here is a thread to voice your thoughts. I thought numerous posters on an old thread made some good points but the schedule didn't receive too many good reviews. Certainly the home portion figures to be a little on the light side, but as RM noted in a previous post, it's not that much different than past schedules. I can't even say it's a whole lot different than the two years that I have covered the team. Pepperdine wasn't very good last year at all and the Aggies made North Texas look like the Dallas Mavs two years ago in two non-conference home games that come to mind.

How many wins do you see? I'll make my prediction closer to the season when the personnel matters are more crystal clear, but UCLA, four rivalry games, Saint Mary's, on the road at Pepperdine...I like the early schedule for this particular group.

Back to school

The Aggies started their groups of four workouts as school started last week. Some of the players who head coach Marvin Menzies said have stood out are sophomore point guard Hernst Laroche, junior guard Gordo Castillo, reshirt junior Robert Lumpkins and redshirt sophomore center Hamidu Rahman and forward Tyrone Watson.
"Some of the guys stayed around and concentrated on building chemistry and working with (strength and conditioning coach) Tyler Cummings)," Menzies said.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


A quick scheduling note, The Aggies' Feb. 24 home game against Idaho will be on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. as part of the WAC's contracted games with the ESPN family. It's possible an additional game could end up on ESPNU. ... Former assistant coach Matt Grady is the top assistant at Morehead State. Grady left NMSU to return to Louisville last season but it looks like he finally has the role that he's been looking for. ... Speaking of Louisville, check out this story from SI on the turbulent offseason that college hoops has experienced. ... I know you're probably sick of hearing this but here are a couple of things that I've heard in the last few days. Abdoulaye N'Doye is apparently registered for classes but not yet in the U.S. .... Getting the UNM home opener on national television doesn't look good. ... The schedule is expected sometime this week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unofficial schedule

Here is what I have been able to piece together this summer. I thought the schedule would be final this week and I guess it still could be but here is what I know...or at least think I know.

Nov 2 — exhibition vs. Western New Mexico
Nov. 8 — scrimmage at Texas Tech (possible Tech returns the favor next year)

Nov. 13 — At Saint Mary's (first of home and home)
Nov. 17 — University of New Mexico
Nov 21 — vs. Pan Handle St.
Nov 24 — at Cal St. Fullerton (bracketbuster payback)
Nov 26 — vs. North Carolina A&T
Dec. 1 — vs. UTEP
Dec. 5 — at UNM
Dec. 13 — at UTEP
Dec. 15 — at UCLA
Dec. 18 — at Pepperdine
Dec. 21 — vs. Alcorn State
Dec. 23 — vs Texas Southern
Dec. 28 — vs Prairie View A&M

WAC Opener Jan. 2 vs. Utah State and Jan. 4 vs. Nevada

Bracketbuster on the road on Feb. 20

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Does this mean the Aggies are the tournament champs since they lost to them in the final? No.

"I forgot all about it until I was looking on the WAC site myself this morning," NMSU women's coach Darin Spence said. "What does it matter? When they are out recruiting they are still going to say that they won the tournament and regular season and it doesn't give us the three wins that they beat us. It's just a clerical thing. It just shows that you have to have all of your paperwork done. You can't take anything to chance these days."

The Aggies have three scholarships to fill and they have one offer out. Spence said they need a solid guard to replace redshirt senior transfer Crystal Boyd. There is hope that the Aggies can have Boyd for an additional year since she had an injury shortened season at Texas.


DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference announced today that Fresno State must vacate the 29 games its women’s basketball team played during the 2007-08 regular season, along with the three games it won in the 2008 WAC Basketball Tournament. The team must also vacate both their WAC regular season and WAC Tournament championships.

This comes as a result of the ineligible participation by Fresno State student-athlete Emma Andrews during 2007-08 in which she started 28 of the 29 games during the regular season. Andrews also started and played in the three WAC Tournament games. In late March 2008 it was discovered that while in high school in her native country of Australia, Andrews played sparingly with a professional team during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. She was declared ineligible per NCAA rules in the spring of 2008 and sat out the entire 2008-09 season and will miss the first three games of the 2009-10 season.

The WAC Code calls for a five-person committee to review cases of a student-athlete participating while ineligible. The committee is comprised of the WAC Council liaison for the particular sport; two faculty athletics representatives; an athletics director or senior woman administrator and the conference office compliance officer.

In this case, the committee took into consideration the amount of participation by Andrews during the 2007-08 season along with her performance contribution to the team in those 29 regular season games and three WAC tournament games. While there were mitigating circumstances regarding her participation on the professional team in Australia, the committee believed that her participation and contribution warranted Fresno State vacating the season. As a result, all games during the season will be denoted by an asterisk which indicates the contest has been vacated. No coaching records, team records or individual statistics will be affected.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gabriel gone, possible new recruit

It comes as no surprise that Chris Gabriel has left the team after one season, but Marvin Menzies said he hopes to replace him with Abdoulaye N'doye. With Terrance Joyner's scholarship, Menzies hopes to add another frontcourt player to join the Aggies on the court for the upcoming season. Both N'Doye and the mystery candidate, who would be an addition such as Wendell McKines was late in the summer after Menzies was on the road recruiting for an entire month. So this is how I believe the roster is shaping up.

Da'Shawn Gomez - scholarship
B.J. West - scholarship
Abdoulaye N'doye - scholarship (from Gabriel)
????? - scholarship (from Joyner)
Justin Standley - walk-on
Jahmar Young - scholarship
Jonathan Gibson - scholarship
Hernst Laroche - scholarship
Robert Lumpkins - scholarship
Wendell McKines - scholarship
Troy Gillenwater - scholarship
Hamidu Rahman - scholarship
Gordo Castillo - scholarship
Tyrone Watson -walk-on
Tray Britt - walkon
Kelly Merker -walkon
Makhtar Diop -walkon

I spoke with Chris Gabriel last week. First of all he had nothing but good things to say about Menzies and the Aggies.He said he had received a scholarship from San Diego but I couldn't get ahold of anyone at San Diego to try to confirm that. Either way he would have to sit out next year.

"My high school coach Tom Lewis is in San Diego and he's been like a father to me. I love Coach Menzies and I miss the guys but I didn't feel like New Mexico was the place for me."

Gabriel was never going to be a dominant player in the post, but it would have been interesting to see how he developed as a big body in tandem with Rahman. Rahman had a redshirt year to get a little stronger and become familiar with being a basketball player at NEw Mexico State. As a big body, Gabriel could have developed into a stronger rebounder and seemed to be more physical than Rahman in the limited action he had last year. The Utah State game here came to mind as a game when Gabriel stood out. He came in and mixed it up with Wilkinson as the only Aggie who seemed willing to do so. Hopefully some of these project big men that we keep hearing about will stay and develop.