Tuesday, November 15, 2011

McKines and Watson and Justin Hawkins talk about rivalry week

NMSU is in a unique scheduling situation, having to play a home and home every year with two schools that are normally pretty good. It can be a good thing or a bad thing for the team and the coaches, especially if they get off to a bad start like the current 3-13 trend or get swept by one or either school like the Aggies did last year. Coming off an 0-4 outing against New Mexico and UTEP last year, I think the Aggies players know in the back of their mind that these particular games mean more to NMSU fans and students than most games.

It will be interesting to see how the Aggies handle this week with a game at The Pit on Wednesday against a team they haven't beaten in seven tries, and then on Saturday against UTEP at home. 

NMSU junior Tyrone Watson:
"After what happened last year, it's kind of offensive for the guys now in the lockerroom that we haven't won there. They've (UNM) been winning, basically every game we've seen them. Now I know a little bit about the history of it. These games are meaningful and I think everybody in the lockerroom is aware of that."

"This is going to be one of the most exciting weeks of the season just because it's back to back rivalries and UTEP got us here last time. All of the rivalry games are meaningful but this week in particular is a big week for the Aggies so I'm looking forward to it."

On The Pit
"It's one of the greatest atmospheres in college basketball, just to be there with the history it has. It's something to be a part of. Since I've been here, we haven't won there so this one is very meaningful."

NMSU senior Wendell McKines:

"This game (Wednesday) is all about heart and who is the best team in New Mexico. It's a challenge."

On the Aggies' 0-4 mark vs. UNM and UTEP last year.
"It's not an option. Whatever it takes to win, we just have to do it. Whatever sacrifices we have to make, we have to do it."

I also got some email feedback from former Aggie standout Justin Hawkins. Hawkins played in big time rivalries at Utah against BYU and he never won at the Pit at either Utah or NMSU

"There isnt much difference between the BYU/Utah rivalry and NMSU/UTEP/UNM rivalry. When I was at Utah BYU and Utah had been tournament teams every year for the past 15 years and they where producing pros. Either guys going to the NBA or guys playing at a high level overseas. BYU's arena is incredible it seats like 22,000 so of coarse it is loud and crazy in there. The schools are also 30 mins apart so that makes the rivalry crazy too.

"The NMSU/UNM/UTEP rivalries are basically the same. The cities are close like with when we play UTEP and with UNM we been battling them for who is the more domminant  team in the state the last couple years. Unfortunatly I haven't been able to actually go to any of those games in the last 4 years but when i was playing the intensity was amazing. UTEP was always a physical team so the games would be really physical and UNM is very skilled and run a great system so the team who can impose their will normally wins.

"The biggest thing that makes rivalry games is the fans though. The fans want to come out and support a team that they feel like has a chance to win every night based of the simple fact that they play hard every night. I think that this years team has all the pieces to sweep UTEP and UNM this year. They have all the physical tools and that have coaches that are going to work very hard to make sure that the team is prepared. I also know that everyone in the NMSU locker room coaches, players, managers, have heart and they are determined to go out and give 100% every night."


I also asked Daniel Mullings, Watson and McKines about Friday's opener at UNC.

Mullings: Overall we played well. At the beginning we had a couple bumps. It was my first college game and it was good to get one under my belt. At first I had jitters but playing with my teammates and bringing energy on defense got me going."

Mullings had an unbelievable dunk off a steal in transition, showing both his leaping ability and defensive prowess.

"I think that it got us going. It brought us together and got us going as a collective unit."


"We just were getting at them. As coach said, the last 10 minutes they would crack and sure enough they did."

McKines had 18 and 10 at UNC, but he only scored 3 points in the second half. I asked him if he noticed anything differently in the second half as far as the offensive end was concerned.

"We are more of a balanced team. the first half, I was scoring a bit more and in the second half, other guys stepped up. It really doesn't matter as long as I come out with the victory. It was obvious that their scouting report was that no matter who is guarding me, when the shot goes up put a body on me."

McKines on junior Bandja Sy, who hit some big 3s in the second half
"Bandja works on those shots. His work  ethic has increased throughout his college career. It's good to finally see him stepping up and playing more of a role."


Anonymous said...

Man I was just on You Tube watching some old footage of NMSU vs # 7 UNLV at the Pan Am. The place is packed, the fans are going nuts, and they are lowering "the shark" from the rafters--and thats just the introductions!!! I recommend it to anybody to get fired up for basketball season.

How I miss those days. I wish Menzies would show that old footage of a packed house with frantic fans to his current teams. They need to see how this community would embrace a consistent winner!!!

By the way, why don't they make the introductions more exciting??? We used to shut off the lights, play the old Chicago Bulls theme song, and have the noise meter. Now we're lucky if the announcer even raises his voice. They need to do something to get the players and the crowd pumped up.

just sayin'

Anonymous said...

That is one thing I noticed too. During the player intros u can't even hear the announcer sometimes. And trust me, its not due to deafening crowd noise. Very lackluster the last few years.