Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy holidays

I'm going home for the first time for Christmas since I've been here so I won't be attending the next two games and will return next Tuesday. I'll still check the blog to approve comments but likely won't be posting anything so I encourage you to follow Teddy's blog for hoops the next week. Hope everyone has a merry Christmas

Texas Southern

I was at the women's game and Texas Southern was on the floor after the women's game. They look to have some athletic players so they should be a handful for the Aggies under second year coach Tony Harvey, who is trying to get his own players in after taking the job late last year. The coolest thing about this team is that Nick Van Exel is in his first year on the coaching staff. VanExel is one of my favorite players ever and it was crazy for me to see him at the Pan Am. Harvey said they knew each other from working for John Lucas in Houston developing players for NBA camps. Harvey said his team has liked having VanExel around. He's also excited about getting the Aggies to return the trip next season as he said "I've known Marvin a lot time through the business."

A couple notes from the Aggies side. BJ West is a gametime decision (ankle) and Gomez is doubtful (eye)

Now some quotes

Menzies on Troy Gillenwater
"I'm treating it the same as with Wendell. If the powers that be call me and say Troy is cleared also, that would be great news but I have no expectations one way or the other."

Menzies on what getting Wendell back means
"We want to get him back in the flow thats why I started him. He can propbably play more depending on the success during the game. If he is playing well he will play more. The good thing was getting Kelly and Tyrone minutes at the four. It gave me confidence that those guys are confident at that position when they are called upon.

Wendell on going up against guys in practice
"Tyrone has been here one year less than I've been here so I've seen him play. What he did on the court didn't surprise me. B.J. is going to be good. Bandja is going to be special. They just have to learn the system and keep a good work ethic."

NCAA eligibility

Here are the eligibility standards from the NCAA

First Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must pass 24 hours in the fall, spring and summer semesters
4. Must have an overall GPA of 1.8

Second Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 1.8
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must have completed 40% of credits for degree (roughly 52 credits towards degree)
4. Must have an overall GPA of 1.9

Third Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 1.9
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must have completed 60% of credits for degree (roughly 77 credits towards degree)
4. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0

Fourth Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0
After Second Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the spring semester
2. Must pass 18 hours in the fall and spring semesters
3. Must have completed 80% of credits for degree (roughly 103 credits towards degree)
4. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0

Fifth Year
After First Semester
1. Must pass 6 hours in the fall semester
2. Must have an overall GPA of 2.0
After Second Semester
1. Must graduate

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thoughts on Wendell's return

I'm sure you all have a lot to say now that Wendell is back so here is your forum.

I have a story coming out on him for Wednesday's paper, but I sat with him for 10 minutes or so after the game, and there was humility there. I'm not even disappointed about the technical that he picked up. He said he needed it and I would argue that is what the Aggies needed — toughness and a motor that nobody else in the WAC has.

I saw that GS thought that he shouldn't have started on Monday and I agreed, but then I thought that now that he's back, how much time should he sit? Wouldn't you want him out there? Not only does he make the Aggies starting 5 pretty formidable, but the guys on the bench are where they belong as role players. BJ West, Tyrone Watson, Bandja Sy and Gordo can come in and fill their roles now instead of having to produce night in and night out.

Alcorn St. game

Wendell McKines led the Aggies onto the floor for pregame warmups after he was declared eligible earlier this afternoon. He has been practicing all season so we should see him.

De'Shawn Gomez isnt dressed but he's on the bench. I'll check on that after the game

11-0 NMSU 1557
Not only did he start, but McKines has three assists. One coming off an offensive rebound along the baseline where he threw it out to Gibson for a 3 at the top of the key

18-8 NMSU 1154
There was an intriguing lineup in the game for a second with West and McKines in the game together. It looked like B.J. tweaked his ankle though and had to come out.

52-35 NMSU Half
Young is one point off 1000 with 10 points in the first half. Gibson has 13 and Alcorn is horrible.

McKines is back

I found out that McKines was declared eligible by an eligibility committee on Monday and will be able able to play tonight against Alcorn State.

Both Braun Carwright and McKinley Boston have repeated that all students have the ability to appeal grades and that both Wendell and Troy are going through that process

Wendell McKines

Prior to the Aggies game at UTEP, I asked Wendell about his academic status. He said that he had to appeal a grade and that he was trying to be patient.

I spoke with McKinley Boston today (Monday), who said that he hadn't heard anything official regarding McKines getting a grade changed and returning to the court sometime this week, either tonight or on Wednesday when the University closes down until after the holidays.

"I haven't heard anything official but I'm hopeful," Boston said.

Boston couldn't get into a specific student's academic situation, but he said "All students have the ability to work with a faculty member to appeal their academic issues. They are in that process as far as I know."

Gillenwater is also involved in an appeal process, but Boston couldn't go into specifics.

The sense that I've had since grades came out is that Troy's situation is more involved than Wendell's. But that's just my opinion.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Alcorn State

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — UTEP led by as many as 64 points Saturday en route to a 101-41 drubbing of winless Alcorn State. The Miners (6-2) went ahead 43-20 at halftime and steadily added to their lead, which reached 101-37 with 2:40 left in the game.
Derrick Caracter scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures for UTEP, which shot 59 percent (38 for 64) from the field. Jeremy Williams added 19 points, followed by Arnett Moultrie and Christian Polk with 13 each, Randy Culpepper with 12 and Claude Britten with 10. JaMarkus Holt had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Alcorn State (0-11), which shot just 30 percent from the field (16 for 54) and committed 27 turnovers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Aggies split in Cali

Good win for the Aggies. I never felt like the Wave would get over the hump and that says something about the Aggies holding them off each time they came back. Young and Gibson did what they needed to do and what they will continue to do. Rahman had a career high 17 boards and Watson continued to play well. Hopefully Watson continues to get minutes because Rahman is eventually going to need some help.

Good win for the Aggies after tuesday night. I guess the road trip was a success, splitting two games, but as GS said in a previous post, the inconsistency is about the only consistent thing about this team so far.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I remember saying that without Troy or Wendell on the team, the Aggies would be 2-5. How is this team going to compete in the WAC now?

Just for argument sake, I'll give Menzies a pass on the in-game side of coaching because it's one part of running a program. Albeit a significant one.

The other big part of being a college coach seems to be recruiting.

I thought it was hard to understand the fire Menzies passions of NMSU fans, but if a bad conference season follows a bad non-conference schedule, how much time does he have seriously? He's not bringing in the talent that can carry a program. The two that he did bring in aren't playing and unless something drastic changes, who knows if or when they will return. He already walked into an APR nightmare and he's down a scholarship. To me, Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater are two of my favorite guys on the team in terms of candidness in interviews and how they play and it's unfortunate what they are going through. Jonathan Gibson and Jahmar Young probably could have left but elected to stay. Hamidu Rahman put in a lot of work to get better and he's posting some good numbers.

But are the rest of the Menzies guys anything to build on once JY and Gibson graduate?
To bring in one or even two project guys such as Sy, N'Doye, Nephawe next year...great. But these are the guys that are being called on to help win games. At a place like NMSU or any other WAC school, I think you need to mix in a JC guy or a D-I transfer to keep a high level throughout, but either Menzies isn't interested in building like that or those players won't play for him. It's unfortunate because it puts a ton of pressure on guys like JY and Gibson and pretty much asks them to sacrifice a year here or there while the younger guys get their feet wet.

There is a third factor to being a good college coach which is leadership. You can't blame a 32 point loss on a lack of prep time nine games into the season because if they are tired now, what is it going to be like in the thick of WAC play?

Monday, December 14, 2009

UTEP wrap

From my understanding, all of the players who played in Sunday's win at UTEP are in L.A. so I don't think the Aggies will lose additional players this season.

Also for those of you who care, the Aggies are 8.5 point dogs at UCLA.

Here are some quotes as I clean out my notebook from the UTEP game:

Marvin Menzies on his reaction to the ejection in the first half
"I can't think of another adjective that would describe my level of surprise but it was heightened."

Menzies on what he did after leaving the floor
"I was on a text-a-thon mission with (wife) Tammy. We were going back and forth texting the score. I listened to the silent cheers. I could tell how we were doing by the lack of noise at times. I could tell when our guys went to the line. You could hear the crowd and then it got silent. We call that the silent cheers and when you go on the road, you play for silent cheers and I was a full participant in that tonight."

What he did at halftime
"I met with the staff and covered a few Xs and Os things and then just talked about the emotional piece and about going back out and playing with an even keel and not getting too wound up.

"I'm happy with the way the guys were at halftime and their demanor. It was a real positive step for us in the right direction."

Thoughts on the game
"I guess the key to winning here is to get kicked out of the game. It was Randy (Culpepper) last year and they won and I got kicked out this year.

"We have a lot of talent and that hasn't shown until tonight for the first time. But we hadn't been jelling and our chemistry hasn't been good on the floor. Off the floor, it's been great but there were too many guys trying to carry the team with Troy and Wendell out. It was a good opportunity to share the ball."

On starting Gibson on the bench and his play
"It was a matter of rotaion. I felt like we needed to have more of a defensive focus on Julyan Stone. What we wanted to do was apply more pressure on him consistently. I felt like Gib combined with Hernst could do a good job. Everybody was still in the mix. We have to continue to get those young guys better but that was the role for Gib tonight. Every game is different."

Jahmar Young, who said he was inspired after watching the 30 in 30 ESPN series piece on The U football program
On players reaction to Menzies' ejection
"We had to bring it together as a team. We can't look over at coach and had to run a lot of stuff on the fly because they were denying us. Coach Mick (Durham) would say one play and they took it right away so we jelled as a team on the fly."

On his play in the second half
"The team just trusted me and we knew if we got the big guys out, a big guy can't check me to therefore Hamidu did a good job spreading out on screens. Hernst did a great job of spacing away and Gib did a great job spacing away as well as Gordo so I could find those guys coming off a screen. If not, they had to foul me."

On the team's play, with 12 turnovers
"It's not to say that we don't turn it over because we play fast but knowing that we can play fast without turning it over is always a positive."

Gillenwater, McKines appear to be out for year

From the story to appear on Tuesday
McKines, Gillenwater to miss remainder of season
By Jason Groves
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — According to a New Mexico State official, Aggies basketball players Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater will not return to the court for the second semester.
“We have determined that the status of Troy and Wendell will remain the same as it was in the fall semester,” said Braun Cartwright, compliance officer at NMSU.
Cartwright said that university officials meet on Jan. 12 to certify grades for all student athletes for the spring semester.
“If we need to meet before then for Wendell or Troy before that, we will call an emergency meeting,” he said. “As of (Monday), there is no need to meet after reviewing the information that I reviewed today.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

UTEP game

BJ West and Abdoulaye Ndoye are dressed and went through warmups

Watson and Castillo getting the start tonight

16-9 UTEP 1513
It's been a better start than the last time the Aggies played this team. But UTEP scored on seven of their first nine possessions and the Aggies have turned it over four times.

21-15 UTEP 1154
BJ West checked in at 1224.
The Aggies are in the one and one at this point with Gibson about to step to the free throw line. I'd be worried about Rahman. UTEP has thrown in a number of post players and Rahman just now left the game.

29-28 UTEP 7:55
Menzies was ejected with 9:57 left in the first half after Young was apparently fouled in transition. Menzies was given a technical as players traveled up the court and received an additional as he walked away from the offical.
The Aggies are on a 7-0 run after the four free throws from the double tech put the Miners up nine. Gibson is at the line with a chance to give the Aggies their first lead.

39-33 UTEP 313
NMSU went on a 10-2 run after Menzies was ejected to take their first lead. Mick Durham took over the coaching duties. UTEP's Jeremy Williams hit a couple 3sas the Miners are now on a 8-0 run

45-35 UTEP half
A pretty inspired 5 minute period by NMSU after their coach got tossed, but UTEP closed the first half on a 12 run in the last 432

67-62 UTEP 654
This is probably the best game the Aggies have played. EP Times reporter Bill Knight said its the Miners worst. The Aggies have closed to within 2 and 3 but it seems the Miners have answered each time. Gordo hit back-to-back 3s to make it a 5-point game.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is UTEP the best team the Aggies play this year?

I think so.
I haven't seen all of the NMSU games in person but UTEP has stood out to me. Regardless of the competition they have played, they seem like a team who could do some things in C USA this season.

Speaking to Tony Barbee prior to the first NMSU/UTEP game, he talked about how it takes time to build the kind of team he wanted. He said that it's hard to get the support and patience that it takes to build a program. That is a comparison to NMSU, but Barbee's teams have improved throughout his three years while the Aggies have been up and down.

Barbee wanted to build a team where you couldn't focus on one particular player and despite losing Stefon Jackson, the Miners are better.

The Miners have six players who average at least eight per game. Their best player and leading scorer, power forward Arnett Moultrie, didn't even need to have a good game against the Aggies on Dec. 1 but he is leading the Miners with 13 and 6 per game. I believe that Moultrie and UTEP point guard Julyan Stone are the best players the Aggies will play against at those positions this year. With the possible exception of Luke Babbitt, who has a better perimeter game and shooting touch than Moultrie right now.

Some of UTEP's stats that stood out to me:

Second in C USA with 80.2 ppg, second in scoring margin, beating their opponents by 19.8 per game, first in field goal percentage, shooing 49 percent before adding Derrick Caracter and field goal percentage defense at 36 percent.

I think UNM is having a good year and would love to see the two regional teams play this year, but even though the MIners' schedule hasn't been that tough, they are athletic, talented and deep and their early schedule has given them some confidence early, which can't be understated.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nothing yet

As of 5:20 p.m., there wasn't enough documentation to make a decision regarding Wendell and Troy. I'm not really surprised since things tend to move slowly here. What this does mean is that neither can play on Sunday, which also shouldn't come as a total shocker. I hope to talk with Coach Menzies this evening and will let you know if I'm able to get a story online before Saturday practice. In addition to B.J. West earlier this week, redshirt guard Jacoby Patton and center Abdoulaye N'Doye were cleared.

Monday, December 7, 2009

There is one rule for posting on this blog entry

Normally I publish all comments. I don't like anon posts but I do like that people like posting here.

For this particular subject, you have to sign your name. Since everyone seems to know if Troy or Wendell will or will not return, consider this your place on this blog to discuss this topic. If you're a student, professor or someone with some actual knowledge on the topic, I don't think asking for a name behind your comment is too much to ask but everyone seems to know for sure and I don't even know.

Getting the grades for students is impossible, and I think it's illegal but I'm not sure. I do know that asking Coach Menzies consistently, he finally said on Monday that both guys are 50-50 to return and since professors aren't required to turn in final grades until Tuesday I believe, assuming they will be on the court on Sunday is a huge leap of faith.

West cleared

I learned the BJ West was cleared to play on Monday and is expected to practice when the Aggies return to the practice court on Tuesday. I will have a story later this afternoon.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rock bottom?

After the game, Menzies said that it was possible that Troy and Wendell could play on Sunday at UTEP. How much difference will it make? 58 points for the second straight game. Teams are zeroing in on JY and Gibson and Hamidu was off tonight. It just seems like there is too much one-on-one going on in the halfcourt. I'm all for it and the Aggies guards can do it but they seem predictable to me right now. That's all I have right now. I have to drive home after being in Albuquerque for 12 straight hours after driving up for the state championship football game earlier in the day. I'll post some quotes sometime Sunday. Now some notes:

The Lobos have defeated the Aggies five straight, the longest run since winning seven straight from 95-99

UNM has defeated NMSU seven straight times at the Pit, their longest streak in the series since 10 straight from 41-51

UNM's 15 steals were a season high, led by Roman Martinez's five

NMSU was the second team this season to outrebound UNM (36-32)

UNM is 45-2 in its last 47 non-conference games at the PIT where they won for the 15th straight time on Saturday


UNM apparently sold this game out from what I've been told. of course there are less seats with the renovation project

Tyrone Watson in the starting lineup for Lumpkins....I know some of you have been calling for that

11-5 UNM 11:48
The Lobos are playing zone of course....Hamidu has had a couple looks but hasn't had anything fall and the Lobos are getting open 3s against NMSU. They just havent started falling yet.

33-13 UNM 349
JY and Gibson are the only Aggies with a field goal ... The Lobos pushed out to 33-10 with a 24-7 run, basically just rebounding Aggies misses and limiting them to one shot

18 points!!!
The NMSU men's basketball team scored 18 points in the first half. Only two players had field goals. 41-18 UNM at half

63-45 UNM 758
NMSu made it a 15-point game. Their offense is predictable and if they arent making shots or running, they dont have much of a halfcourt game either....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's getting rough

The Aggies were beaten to the ball, outrebounded by 10, seven on the offensive glass and UTEP scored 27 points off turnovers.
Menzies did put this one on his own shoulders, which was interesting to see because I can't remember him doing that...and making it a point a couple times to back it up.

To add insult to injury, Tuesday was the Miners biggest victory in Las Cruces since a 70-51 win in 1963. The previous big win at the Pan Am was 75-59 in 1972. And the Miners did it without Moultrie, their best player, not really even engaged once the Miners pulled away.

Tonight showed that if the Aggies have any hopes of having a good season, JY and gibson can't have a bad night, which they did tonight and probably will again.


Some comments from Aggies assistant Mick Durham
On Moultrie
"I think he is the featured guy now, not to take anything away from Culpepper. Last year as a freshman he wasn't too much of a factor but now with a year under his belt, his game is expanding. They do a lot of dribble drive motion that comes from Memphis. He is on the perimeter handling the ball but he is still around the high post and the low post. I think his shooting will get better as years go on."

It also sounds like the Aggies will play more man this year and that slowing point guard Stone is important. Off the bench, the Miners have jc transfer Jeremy Williams (6-7, 215) at power forward and Isaac Gordon as a guard off the bench. Gabriel McCulley, a wing, has been injured and 6-7 freshman guard Marcus Ruppel will also get some minutes.

"They spread you out and try to penetrate. We didn't play man last year but we might mix it up more this year. DJ (graduated senior guard Stefon Jackson) scared us last year so we played more zone."

UTEP 11-2 15:23
Aggies still havent had a field goal or even a clean look. UTEP's pressure is impressive so far

NMSU made it 3-point game and started shooting freethwos with 13 minutes left in the first half

UTEP 33-19 339 Stone is a tough matchup for NMSU. hes scored the last six points. NMSU closed to within two but a 10-0 utep run opened it back up

UTEP 39-24 at half
UTEP outscored NMSU 22-9 in the last eight minutes...NMSU was 28 percent in the first half

UTEP 71-47 5:15
JY and Gib are struggling....not a good night for NMSU. And Bandja Sy still has a lot to learn...apparently about the game as well after trying to save a backcourt violation, even though it was on an inbounds

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Randy Culpepper led Texas-El Paso with 18 points in a 79-58 victory over New Mexico State on Tuesday at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M.
UTEP junior guard Julyan Stone added 17 points and Chrisitan Polk added 11 to help UTEP start 5-0 for the first time since a 6-0 start in 2000-01.
Jahmar Young led the Aggies with 17 points.
UTEP (5-0) never trailed and led by as many as 18 in the first half. The Miners outscored NMSU 22-9 in the last eight minutes of the first half, including a 19-5 run where the Aggies (2-4) didn’t score a field goal.
The Aggies closed to within 13 early in the second half, but the Miners extended their lead to 21 with 13:27 left after outscoring NMSU 13-9 in the first 6:30 of the second half and led by 27 late in the second half.
The Miners shot 44.3 percent for the game, holding the Aggies to 28.6 percent.
UTEP outrebounded NMSU 48-38 and scored 27 points off 17 NMSU turnovers.

Babbitt, Johnson to stick around

RENO, Nev. — Nevada basketball coach David Carter says he anticipates sophomore forward Luke Babbitt and junior guard Armon Johnson will be back with the Wolf Pack next season. But Carter told about 250 boosters in Reno on Tuesday he doubts Babbitt will stay for his senior year and he thinks there’s a chance Johnson will bolt for the NBA at the end of this year. He says Johnson is going to evaluate his situation at the end of the season and if he looks like he would be a first-round pick, will probably try his luck in the draft. Carter says he’d love to have Babbitt back for two more seasons but would be very surprised if that happened.