Friday, March 30, 2012

Early look at next year's roster

I'm operating here with the understanding the NMSU still has two scholarships to fill and assuming that everyone is coming back.

I believe next year to be similar to the up and down season when Jonathan Gibson was a junior and Jahmar Young was a sophomore. I think there is talent there, but they will be very young and inexperienced, but should be among the top 3 teams in an improved WAC.

Unlike this year after Christian Kabongo left, the Aggies will have depth in the backcourt and on the wings so the Aggies should be able to play the same type of pressuring defense throughout the course of the game that they did early on in the season. The question will be if the Aggies want to play that way. That will depend on the fitness level of Sim Bhullar and Chili Nephawe. I think the Aggies could still pressure and do all of the things we have come to expect in transition if Bhullar and Nephawe play nearly 20 minutes per game with BJ West spelling them.

It goes without saying the Aggies would be well served to get at least one shooter and possibly a polished post player.

KC Ross-Miller and Terrel de Rouen will each be coming off of injury issues. de Rouen seemed to be reaching that confidence level that it takes freshmen a while to develop. Then he got hurt. Ross Miller has also been rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, although not as serious as de Rouen. I don't see Ross-Miller as a lights out scoring point guard, but is apparently better at driving and creating opportunities for teammates. de Rouen's strength is his athletic ability, and I think he can really make an impact defensively but the question is can he get healthy.

Daniel Mullings has a big off season ahead of him. While it would be nice to see him knock down the 3, I don't want to see him settling for 3s next  year. He's so good driving, hopefully he works on pulling up and knocking down midrange jumpers and shooting free throws, where he was a 62 percent last year — 46 percent in WAC play.

Feinberg wrote about Bandja Sy on his blog. I wasn't a fan his first two years, but it's been remarkable to watch Sy's improvement on the court and just a better all-around awareness about the game. For example, that big block on Phillip McDonald in Albuquerque. Sy knew the Lobos needed a 3, Sy was patient on defense and waited for his chance to block the shot without fouling. He was steady on defense all year and that's the important thing. He has a nice touch from 3 point land as well, but for some reason only shoots from the baseline. I would like to see him develop more confidence and aggressiveness going to the basket and getting to the line more as well. I don't know where Sy would be most effective next year, starting or coming off the bench but he will certainly be an important player. Tyrone Watson has been in the starting lineup the past two years and I've written about how important he is to the team. He can play multiple positions and is good at distributing the ball but lacks a scoring punch. Again, not sure whether he should start or come off the bench next year.

Remi Barry has shown he can at the very least, hit the occassional long range shot. He should improve with an offseason under his belt after playing competitive basketball for the first time in three years. Eric Weary had impressive numbers in high school and according to some also has the ability to shoot. Between these two and perhaps one or two additions, the Aggies will be more of a threat from 3- point range.

Post players
Wendell McKines leaves a gaping hole in terms of production at the four spot and leadership. I'm going to go ahead and say that I would like to see Renaldo Dixon come back at the power forward. I think he's just as confident shooting the jumper as McKines was and he's got more size than Wendell. Hopefully he returns with his head right after essentially losing his sophomore year. I also would think the Aggies have the ability to bring in an additional power forward with one of their two scholarships available.

The mix of Sim Bhullar, Chili Nephawe and BJ West is intriguing, if not extremely unproven. Will Bhullar return from  a foot injury, can he get fit enough to get up and down the court? If yes, could you imagine a lineup with Bhullar and Nephawe together for short stretches. I was down on Nephawe for most of the year, but he played very well late in the season as he got completely healthy and showed a little fire to him. BJ West is more athletic at the center spot and can spell either center and could likely help close games out since he's more capable of getting up and down the court.


Anonymous said...

What do you mean that you don't see Miller as a scorer? He averaged 27 PPG and scored over 3,000 points in his prep school career at God's Academy. He averaged 10 PPG as a true freshman at New Orleans. Of course he is going to bring a scoring threat to the table. Come on Groves, do some research next time.

early said...

McKines 15 points and 18 rebounds in All-Star game:

Anonymous said...

I actually think BJ West could play some 4 spot.
1. Ross-Miller
2. Mullings
3. Watson
4. Sy
5. Chili

Sy and Watson are interchangeable at the 3 & 4

Anonymous said...

How can you make assumptions on the redshirts when you NEVER SEEN THEM PLAY!!!

Jason Groves said...

For those already on the Ross Miller kool aid, probably the same who said the same things about Remi Barry? I heard the same things on this blog when I warned about too many expectations last year. And as far as doing my research I have. If you want to go by prep school stats go ahead, This stat line is different. ... 10 ppg and 3 apg at New Orleans in 2010-11.

Anonymous said...

In this blog post, Groves crushes the anon wankers.


SM said...

I think Ross Miller has the potential to be a very good scorer. 10 points and 3 assists per game is very solid for a freshman at the D1 level (of course I do not know his other stats, like assist-TO ratio, shooting percentage, or total minutes). I will point out that Wendell developed into a great scorer after averaging around just 7-8 points per game his Freshman year.

In the end, it will depend on how much of a scoring threat Mullings presents and whether we can get an inside game going, both of which could give Ross-Miller some room to hit open shots or attack the basket. My hope is that he will create opportunities for his teammates and tally around 6 assists per game, but I also think he can contribute double digits scoring averages throughout his career here. Progressive scoring averages of 12, 14 and 16 ppg's for the rest of his time at NMSU are not far-fetched possibilities for an individual who showed high potential at the D1 level.

Anonymous said...

Groves, your'll see I am right about Miller. The kid can score. He averaged 10 PPG as a true freshman playing in a system that doesn't fit him. Menzies system does fit him and he is going to shine. So just sit down and watch.

Anonymous said...

Groves, what makes you some type of expect about evaluating basketball players? The last time I checked you are some journalist who has never even played sports before. How about you do your job and get us some recruiting news. No one wants to hear you talk about who can score and who can't score. Get us some real news. Or quit and we find someone who will do your job better.