Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Joe Boyd commits

The New Mexico State men's basketball team got a big verbal from Phoenix area big man Joe Boyd.  Boyd is a 2013 prospect who is playing with the Arizona Aces this summer. Sam Esposito, a 5-8 guard and Boyd's AAU and high school teammate at Chaparral.

Here is my story in the Sun-News.

Boyd would fill an immediate need in the post and on the wing for the Aggies, who lose Wendell McKines following this season.

"I was a post up player when I started but have been working on bigger and better things like handling the  ball and shooting and at 6-9, that comes in handy," Boyd said. "I can handle the ball and I can shoot the 3 pretty well."

A 16-year-old, NMSU was one of two offers this early with an offer from Weber State. He also went on unofficial visits to UNLV and USC this summer.

Charles Gosa is the last Phoenix product I can think of to play for the Aggies. Actually some of you told me that on a previous post. Following are some some comments from Boyd's AAU coach, BJ Letcher, starting with Phoenix as a hoops recruiting ground.

"The Phoenix area, you would expect a lot more players because it has the population, but basketball wise, more people like myself are moving into the valley and training kids in basketball and it has started to get on the rise in the last 10 years. Baseball is huge here and the other outdoor sports are better in Arizona. I wouldn't call it a hotbed yet but more Division I players are starting to come through."

Marvin Menzies as a recruiter and why Boyd committed early
"New Mexico State was on Joe very early. (Menzies) was one of the first coaches who really saw Joe and that factors into his decision. ... I think it depends on the kid and what the kid is looking for but the relationship with the coach really played a big factor to do it so early. A lot of kids get wrapped up in the school and where they are going to play that they lose focus on the No. 1 factor, which is the relationship with the coach."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Benson overly optimistic for new WAC?

So the WAC has it's 10-team league for 2012. It looks like this after last week's addition of Texas-Arlington.

New Mexico State
Utah State
San Jose State
Louisiana Tech
Texas State
Texas-San Antonio

It's Karl Benson's job as WAC commissioner to be optimistic about the future of his league. And nobody has seen more turnover than Benson over his tenure in the WAC. But in this story, Benson says that the WAC could return to a level where Benson said, "The WAC will  return as a multiple-bid conference."

Benson believes that with 10 teams and true travel partners, travel costs will go down and quality road wins will go up increasing RPI and putting more teams in the conversation for at-large bids.

The WAC is simply not a basketball league. Departing schools Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii are legitimate football programs that have occasionally made some noise on the basketball court. But losing all four in a two-year span is a substantial loss to the league's limited remaining prestige.

The WAC's current membership is hardly ever in the conversation for at-large berths, let alone multiple teams. Can market size, travel partners and new arenas make up for that lack of tradition for the new WAC? 
It remains to be seen.

Since Mark Fox left Nevada, Utah State has carried the banner for WAC hoops and I've written about the way the UtAgs schedule and we all saw what that got them this past season with 30 somewhat meaningless wins, a 12 seed and another first-round exit for the league.

The Aggies had a great schedule last year, but injuries left the team a shell of the squad that I thought could have given Arizona a run for its money on the road and a group of subs who played host to St. Mary's. Next year's schedule is Utah State like in nature, which is good for this particular team. Marvin Menzies needs wins and the community needs a team that wins in order to come out on a more consistent basis.

I guess my question for Benson is what kind of time table does he believe before the WAC will turn into a multi bid league? Because with the previously mentioned schools who are departing, it's happened three times with current WAC members since 2006. Nevada and Utah State were knocked out in the first round in 2006, Nevada won a first-round game in 2007 and NMSU lost to Texas. And Utah State was an at-large team in 2010, where both USU and NMSU lost in the first round.

And it's hard to see the following schools turning things around that drastically.
Last year W-L, RPI and Strength of schedule according to

Denver (13-17, 9-8 in the Sun Belt; 244 RPI; 227 SOS) The Sun Belt ranked No. 23 in RPI last year and No. 21 in strength of schedule.
Seattle (11-20 as an independent; 289 RPI; 310 SOS)

Southland Conference additions: The Southland Conference ranked 29th in RPI and 29th in Strength of Schedule in 2010-11.
Texas-Arlington (9-16, 7-9 Southland; 272 RPI, 304 SOS)
Texas State (14-15, 11-7 Southland; 224 RPI; 263 SOS)
Texas-San Antonio (16-13, 12-7 Southland; 193 RPI, 298 SOS) 

What has been proven at NMSU is that the Aggies were an already established program in the Big West and the Sun Belt before making the jump to the WAC. UTEP and UNM were consistent contenders in the WAC before moving on to have success in bigger and better leauges.

If the new additions are mediocre teams in below mediocre leagues now, what makes Benson confident they will enjoy similar success in the WAC?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Follow me

Follow me on Twitter @JPGroves

Mostly NMSU hoops with a few soccer, boxing and random posts.

Menzies and NMSU agree to two-year extension

My story on  NMSU and Marvin Menzies' two-year extension, running through April of 2014. The current deal ended following next season.

McKinley Boston said the recruiting factor was a significant reason the two sides wanted a deal done before next year.

The salary of $280,500 remains the same.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A little more on Delk

I love the hire of Tony Delk first of all.

In Marvin Menzies first four years at NMSU, he always had that veteran coach around the program, but with the departure of Mick Durham earlier this summer, Menzies and newly appointed associate head coach Paul Weir are the most experienced coaches at the Division I level. Tom Lewis moves into a role as a full time assistant to round out the staff.

Weir deserves it. He has held jobs all over the NMSU program since coming here the same year as Menzies and has proven his worth as a recruiter, landing most of the Canadian born players on the roster that have developed into productive players at NMSU.

Delk probably needs a couple years, but the presence of a recent NBA player in a recruit's home could hopefully pay dividends before Delk moves on to whatever his next stop may be. I think the Aggies have three very good recruiters on their staff, capable of making up for whatever they lack in experience with talent on the floor.

I asked Delk how he determined whether or not he wanted to develop as a college coach or pursue a spot on a NBA bench.

"I like working with  young guys at the college level who may have aspirations of playing in the NBA or overseas. I hope I have that ability. We will see shortly.  I want to work with them to become successful in sports, but in the business world and in education as well. I'm focusing on what I need to do to help this staff and that's going to be influencing the young players we have coming in."

At this point as he moves from Lexington and Georgia, Delk said his role with the team is currently up in the air. Years past have seen NMSU assistants split up preparation for each opponent between Weir and Durham primarily.

Delk said waiting for a job in a bigger league didn't cause him to turn down two job offers last summer and one this summer.

"Everybody has to have a starting point and I'm fine working in the WAC and I'm looking forward to it. It's competitive. In college basketball, most conferences have become competitive and you see so many teams that have done well. NMSU showed two years ago competing against Michigan State and I think that is where (Menzies) is trying to take these players."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Delk likely to be added to NMSU staff

I've confirmed that Tony Delk will be added to the NMSU coaching staff pending a background check.

It would be a big name who lacks coaching experience, but brings that presence that current players will likely respect immediately due to his career in the NBA. Delk will also be valuable in recruiting. 

An official announcement is expected early next week.

NMSU assistant spot

Marvin Menzies expects to announce his coaching staff for the upcoming season early next week after SMU announced the hiring of Gerald Lewis as its newest Director of Basketball Operations and the departure of Mick Durham earlier in the summer.

Menzies said Tom Lewis will likely fill one of the two openings, moving up from his player development post.

Sam Wasson at reported the former Kentucky star and current staffer at UK Tony Delk was on campus during the interview process. It's likely Paul Weir will move up since he is the only person currently at NMSU with experience in all areas of the business in his young career.