Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm sure you've seen this but here is the WAC television schedule. NMSU ended up with five regular season games

Nov. 16     
Northern Colorado at Hawaii                                   
11 p.m. HT
Jan. 2         
Utah State at New Mexico State                                
Jan. 4         
Nevada at New Mexico State                                    
9 p.m. MT  
Jan. 11       
New Mexico State at Idaho                                       
8 p.m. PT   
Jan. 13       
Utah State at Nevada                                                
8 p.m. PT   
Jan. 14       
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech                                  
7 p.m. CT  
Jan. 21       
Utah State at Fresno State                                         
7 p.m. PT   
Feb. 3        
Idaho at Utah State                                                    
9 p.m. MT  
Feb. 4        
San Jose State at Louisiana Tech                               
7 p.m. CT  
Feb. 6        
Nevada at Utah State                                                
8 p.m. MT  
Feb. 6        
Idaho at Boise State                                                  
10 p.m. MT
Feb. 8        
Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State                         
7 p.m. MT  
Feb. 10      
Nevada at Idaho                                                        
8 p.m. PT   
Feb. 17      
Louisiana Tech at Utah State                                      
9 p.m. MT  
Feb. 24      
Idaho at New Mexico State                                       
9 p.m. MT  
Feb. 27      
Fresno State at San Jose State                                   
7 p.m. PT   
March 4     
San Jose State at Idaho                                             
7 p.m. PT   
March 11   
WAC Tournament Quarterfinal(s)                              
March 12   
WAC Tournament Semifinal(s)                                  
March 13   
WAC Tournament Championship                              
7 p.m. PT   

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This group is extremely unknown and very top heavy so I combined freshmen and sophomores for the upcoming season. Special thanks to Kevin McMarthy who helped fill in some gaps. There just wasn't the buzz for the young guys this year so the top flight players are no-brainers with the last three as underrated guys who broke through as last year went on. I expect this year's freshman class will do the same.

Top flight uderclassmen
Luke Babbitt, Nevada sophomore forward — Who knows how much longer we will get to watch Babbitt play in the WAC. At 6-9, he does everything well and is Nevada's go-to player so he could improve on his 16.9 (third in the WAC) and 7.4 boards (third in the WAC) that he put up as a freshman. Babbitt also shoots 45 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point land to become the first freshman at the school to lead the team in scoring and rebounding. All of this landed him on the first team All WAC,as well as the Newcomer team.
Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State sophomore forward — Arguably the most skilled player on the NMSU roster, Gillenwater could also be the most frustrating. Had a run-in with head coach Marvin Menzies in San Jose last year that landed him on the bench. If he plays and Wendell McKines can't, Gillenwater will get all of the minutes he can handle. When he's focused, Gillenwater can score around the basket (12.1 ppg and 51 percent from the floor), knock down the 3 (8-of-29), put the ball on the floor and if he plays the 3 or 4, he defends well (second on the Aggies with 39 blocked shots). Will need to improve on his 4.3 rebounds this year.
Paul George, Fresno State sophomore forward — NBAdraft.net had the 6--8, 210-pound forward listed as a lottery pick in next year's draft. George has a fluid game, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 45 percent from long range. Can also get to the basket and posted 6.2 boards per game, which tied for ninth as a freshman last year.
Hernst Laroche, New Mexico State sophomore guard — Laroche was the biggest surprise to me last year on the Aggies. He proved to be a steal and provided the stability at the point that the Aggies haven't really had since Menzies took over. Laroche was second in assist-to-turnover ratio last year and always seemed to make the right play. He was fourth in the WAC with 4.34 assists per game
Mike Ladd, Fresno State sophomore guard — Started 15 games in the Fresno State backcourt last year but that number should increase with the departure of fellow soph Bryce Cartwright in the offseason. All of the Bulldogs can shoot. Ladd was fourth on the team with 9.5 points per game last year.
Hamidu Rahman, New Mexico State sophomore center — Word is that Rahman has added some muscle to his 6-11 frame. He started 27 games last year and with the departure of Chris Gabriel, the center position is all his when the Aggies use a center. Needs to improve on the boards though.

Also worth noting
Utah State guard Jaxon Myaer showed that he could knock down shots last year before giving way to Jared Quayle. USU freshman forward Tyrone White is expected to play right away. The 6-6 White put up 16 and 8 at Air Force Prep last year.

Fresno State added a local player in 6-10, 250-pound freshman center Greg Smith, who doesn't appear to have much competition for playing time if Steve Cleveland wants to go big.

At 6-7 Idaho freshman forward Corey Stern from Rainier Beach in Seattle could provide some depth for the Vandals.

Nevada added a couple of international freshmen to add depth in the backcourt and the frontcourt. 6-6 Patrick Nyeko is from Seattle Prep via London. Power forward Marko Cukic is from Serbia and at 6-9, 235, he could add some muscle inside for a Wolf Pack team that seems undersized.

Da'Shawn Gomez should contribute this year as a backup to Laroche and 6-8 freshman B.J. West could get some minutes before Gillenwater returns. Tyrone Watson is another frontcourt player who sat out last year and everyone seems to be excited about Bandja Sy's versatile game at 6-8

Chris Jones is a 6-4, 205 freshman guard at San Jose State. He is a scorer who can play either guard spot

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Top juniors

Top flight juniors
Jahmar Young, New Mexico State guard — The leading scorer in the WAC a year ago has gotten stronger in the offseason. IF redshirt Troy Gillenwater has a solid sophomore year and senior guard Jonathan Gibson plays well, Young could improve on his 17.9 ppg from a year ago. He was a first-team selection after shooting 42 percent on 3s last year. Young picked up his play when it mattered most, scoring 18.9 in WAC games.
Adrian Oliver, San Jose State guard — Eligibility and injuries limited the Washington transfer to 18 games last year. Once he got on the court, he dropped 27, 31 and 22 in his first three games. He also had games of 29, 28 (a loss at NMSU) and 37. It's strange that he only shot 26 percent from long range because he was a 43 percent shooter from the floor, but he did only shoot 65 from downtown. If you look at the WAC leaders, he doesn't show up on the list until you look at WAC games only, where he was second behind Young with 17.6 per game.
Armon Johnson, Nevada guard — About the only thing that Johnson didn't do well last year was shoot the ball. Very strong and athletic point guard with size, he still shot 28 percent from long range. He was still a first-team selection last year, scoring 15 per game and dishing out 4.3 assists per game.
Wendell McKines, New Mexico State forward — I'm not sold that Big Wen will see the court in the second semester after missing the first due to academics (Personally I feel like the Aggies would be better served redshirting him this season so he can work on his academics and come back even better next year) but he's too talented to leave off my list of top players. McKines was a snub for postseason awards last year after averaging 12.1 ppg and 10 rpg after posting 16 double-doubles last year.If he develops a jumper and some handle, watch out.
Tai Wesley, Utah State forward — Wesley had to take a back seat to Gary Wilkinson the last two years, but he is probably the most underrated power forward in the league, scoring 12 and 6 last year.

Second tier
Tyler Newbold, Utah State forward — Newbold is a classic USU player who does everything well. He can also play a little He was seventh last year with 1.71 3s a game.
Gordo Castillo, New Mexico State guard — Las Cruces High product led the WAC in 3-point percentage (45) as a sophomore.
C.J. Webster, San Jose State forward — Second on the Spartans in scoring (12) and first in rebounding (6.5), was eighth in the league in rebounds.
Justin Graham, San Jose State guard — Second in the WAC with 4.73 assists per game.
Paul Noonan, Boise State guard — Noonan is a streaky shooter who was kind of thrown into the fire last year out of necessity. He was third in scoring for the Broncos with 10 per game and he shot 34 percent on triples.

Honorable mention
Nedeljko Golubovic — A 6-foot-8 player who would rather shoot the 3. Golubovic was 34 percent on 3s on 112 attempts last year.
Boise State landed a trio of junior college guys in Robert Arnold, Daequon Montral and Westly Perryman. The 6-6 Arnold from Antelope Valley C.C. could be the best of them.
Hawaii added a seven-footer in Brazilian junior college project Douglas Kurtz
Idaho added Shawn Henderson, a guard from North Idaho College who shot 40 percent from long range.
Pooh Williams — Utah State's best perimeter defender. Utah State also added 6-9 forward Nate Bendall from NJCAA national champ Salt Lake CC.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Top seniors

I wanted to go through the WAC based on class so this is the first of four in the next four days. I'm starting with the seniors because even though I think the WAC's best players are the sophomores and juniors, there are some quality seniors this year that will help lead the teams that I expect will be good as well as headline the bottom teams that I feel like will be better as well.

Top flight Seniors
Jonathan Gibson, New Mexico State guard — 6-foot-2 guard shot 9-of-16 (56 percent) from 3-point line in two WAC tournament games, reminding people why he is one of the best shooters in the league. Shouldn't have to worry about playing the point guard spot with the development of sophomore Hernst Laroche and freshman De'Shawn Gomez expected to contribute at that position.
Mac Hopson, Idaho guard — Hopson was one of the high major transfers that lived up to the hype last year, helping turn Idaho's program around. Hopson was a first-team selection who was fifth in scoring (16.4ppg), first in assists (5.88 pg) fourth in steals (1.67pg), fourth in 3-point percentage (43 percent) and fourth in assist to turnover ratio
Sylvester Seay, Fresno State forward — A second team player last year after transferring from Arizona State, Seay led the Bulldogs with 15.3 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds per game. What I like about Seay is his versatility — at 6-10, Seay shot 37 percent from 3-point range and blocked 58 shots. Seay and youngster Paul George are one of the better one-two punches in the league.
Roderick Flemings, Hawaii guard — Flemings flirted with the NBA Draft but returned to Hawaii, where he should improve his numbers after scoring 16.6 points per game last year — fourth best in the WAC. He did it all for his team and it should be the same this year after leading the Warriors in scoring, steals, 3-point percentage (31 percent), offensive rebounds and minutes played.
Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech guard — Gibson was a second team player last year after scoring 16.1 points per game, sixth best in the league. Gibson was third in 3-point percentage (43 percent) and he led the league in triples made.

Second tier
Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech forward — At 6-foot-11, 220 pounds, Rolle could be one of the top NBA prospects in the WAC. Averaged 12.7 and 7.2 for the Bulldogs while shooting 53 percent
Jared Quayle, Utah State guard — Was a head scratching selection to the second team last year. I guess I could be wrong but we will see if he shoots 39 percent from long range again without big man Gary Wilkinson in the middle
Chris Oakes, San Jose State forward — Second in the WAC with 7.6 rebounds per game
Anthony Thomas, Boise State guard — Freshman of the year has been a productive throughout his career at Boise State. Third in the league last year with 4.72 assists per game

Honorable mention
Ike Okoye, Boise State power forward —5.6 boards per game...second with 1.88 blocks per game, physical player in his second year after leaving Wyoming
Jamel Guyton, Louisiana Tech guard — 11.8 points per game and two assists, makes things go for the Bulldogs
Brandon Fields, Nevada guard — Remember him? I do after he scored 12.4 points per game and shot 38 percent from long range two years ago. He landed in Mark Fox's doghouse last year after an early legal issue. Now with first year coach David Carter and the young talented guys, he can finish his career on a high note.
Bill Amis, Hawaii center — Scored 10.7 per game and had 6.5 boards last year. Hawaii's most skilled big man and only interior threat last year
Marvin Jefferson, Idaho center — A beast at 6-10, 245 pounds. Filled a role for the Vandals with 9.1 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and was third in the WAC with 1.81 blocks per game

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WAC preview

I plan on putting some stuff out on here in the next few days on the WAC based on the preview that the league released on Monday. People have been asking me about Lamine Diame, a 6-6 forward and Jacoby Patton, a guard from New Orleans. Patton won't be a factor this year, he will redshirt and when he does join the Aggies, it seems like he will be a player who adds depth in practice. Diame has a chance to help, but he won't be cleared until the second semester at the earliest. Both players are not scholarship guys and it's frustrating to admit, but I was just as surprised to see those guys pop up on the roster as you.

Another minor tidbit is Abdoulaye Ndoye tweaked his knee and will undergo minor surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus ... he could be ready when practice starts in less than a month. ... Someone asked about eligibility. Menzies said all of the new players have their materials turned in and he doesn't anticipate any taking longer than normal

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good to see the Dance back in New Mexico

University of NM to host NCAA basketball games
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The NCAA says the University of New Mexico will host first- and second-round games in the 2012 Men’s Basketball Championship. Four games will be played March 15, 2012, and two are scheduled for March 17, 2012. It will be the 10th time UNM will host the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The last time the university had tournament games was in 2005. UNM’s athletic director, Paul Krebs, says it’s great to see games return to Albuquerque. He says tournament rounds are returning because of renovations now being made to University Stadium, known as The Pit. The NCAA on Monday announced preliminary round sites for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Men’s Basketball Championships.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another hoops prospect

6-foot-10 South African center Tshilidzi Nephawe will be on campus this weekend on a visit with the NMSU men's hoops team. I have just been able to find a couple articles about him but it looks like Marvin Menzies is going to continue seeking talent abroad. Nephawe is a 2010 recruit. I guess with another project player in Abdoulaye Ndoye and Hamidu Rahman set to be a junior, it would make sense to go after some more size.

The Aggies women's program also had a couple of visits on campus over the weekend. Jasmin Rutledge, a 6-ft wing from California, and Andrea Chenier from Cali, a 5-10 player who can play any of the three guard positions were in Las Cruces on official visits. Rutledge is a top 150 player and Chenier is a top 70 player who played on the same club team as current Aggie freshman Camilla Rosen. Other WAC schools are interested in both players. Fresno State and Utah State are on Rutledge and Chenier has a visit to Hawaii. The Aggies have two spots available with the departure of Areyal Ledeatte from the program and the graduation of Ashley Scroggins.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Interesting links

Darin Spence had a highly touted guard in town over the weekend on her first of three official visits she's taking. Spokane, Wash. product Jazmine Redmon has whittled her list down to NMSU, Oregon and Gonzaga. The Aggies have a bunch of guards, but you can never have too many, considering Crystal Boyd is a senior and Madison Spence and Danisha Corbett are juniors. ... Jahmar Young's name showed up again in an off-court incident, which is too bad. I ran into Jahmar earlier this summer and he seemed focused on the upcoming season. I still expect him to have a big year and apparently others do as well. And check out the WAC players in the first round of the next Draft, although I'm not sold on either George or Babbitt even though both have NBA bodies.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kirk follow

Don't know if you care but I thought I would post this since I did an interview with Los Alamos big man Alex Kirk earlier this summer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Texas Tech

While it's not a must win, or an official game for that matter, the Aggies scrimmage against Texas Tech has bigger implications to me than getting good competition against a Big 12 team early in the season. I don't know what all goes into scheduling but landing the Red Raiders in some form of home and home scenario is something that both coaches talked about. I recall conversations with McKinley Boston, who hopes to land more regional opponents on the schedule. I think renewing a series with Tech would be perfect for the Aggies and they would clearly be a home upgrade over some of the Aggies home opponents this year. At least it would be a start.

It sounds like members of both coaching staffs have crossed paths on the recruiting trail in the past but Pat Knight talked about his desire to get NMSU back on their schedule. Knight said that the Red Raiders will return the favor and scrimmage the Aggies in Las Cruces next year. Maybe it can turn into games that count down the line.