|Is Daniel Mullings the answer as a backup point guard?
"He's a talented player," Marvin Menzies said. "He has lost a lot of weight. He is getting in condition. I think as time goes on, we have a special player. Everyone should get out and see him because he's a heck of a player and a heck of a kid. Quite frankly, I don't know if he will be here for four years."
7-5 freshman Sim Bhullar had five points four rebounds two blocks and two assists in 16 minutes on Monday.
"He's getting better every scrimmage, every practice, every game," Tyrone Watson said. "He's more mobile. He's more comfortable around the net. He's a great passer. He's not a selfish person. We use him as a decoy when play teams that can't guard him so he attracts double teams and uses us as kickouts. I thought we rotated the ball. I thought we could have had better execution but overall i thought we shared the ball as a team."
Hardly dominant numbers and he's going to face stiffer, more physical competition, but it was apparent to me that he is just scratching the surface. Remember that he broke his foot last year so he's been off a court for almost two years.
"I just wanted to see where I was at conditioning wise. I was a little surprised at myself. I thought I played pretty decent. I can play a lot better. I just have to get my feel back for the game. I just haven't been on the court in forever."
Bhullar is in a good position at NMSU. He doesn't have to score. He can focus on the two things that he seems to be best at, at least initially. Defending and passing the ball.
"I know everyone else on our team has great offense. I want to be that guy who can block the shot, stop guys from driving. Everytime people see me, I want them to be scared to come into the paint."
NMSU had 26 assists on Monday. the ball certainly moves around since the scoring appears to be more spread around this year. For the past two years, the bulk of NMSU's offense has come from one or two players on a given night.
"Ever since I was young, I played with great players. They look to get me the ball and whenever I get a chance I will go up and score. That's the way I play. I would rather get my teammates involved and get the crowd pumped. That's the part of the game I really like."
Point guard play is going to be tricky for this team. KC Ross-Miller appeared as the preferred player at that spot, playing 20 minutes with seven points, two assists, two turnovers and a steal on 2-3 shooting.
Menzies did tell me that certain players didn't come in earlier due to various reasons so that could explain Terrel de Rouen sitting the first half.
"There were some guys on the bench that came off maybe later than they normally would have. We had guys missed some mentor sessions for academics and one guy a few minutes late for shootaround. Just little things they have to understand that those things are going to impact their minutes whether it's an exhibition game or a real game."
But Daniel Mullings saw a lot of time at backup point guard. He didn't look comfortable to me.
Can NMSU make 10 3s a game? Probably not. But the Aggies have more players capable of knocking it down. Kevin Aronis looks to be in the top 8 and he was 2-2. Bandja Sy was 1-4 and Mullings was 1-2.
"That was the heavily talked about weakness that people harped on. We shot close to 33 percent for the year so it wasn't horrible last year. 33 percent is the magic number equivalent to 50 percent from 2. Anything above that you are in good shape. But I think we have upped that. I think we have put ourselves in a better position now to stretch defenses a little bit and not have guys as congested."
Watson, bhullar, Mullings, Sy, Renaldo Dixon, Ross Miller, Aronis and Chili Nephawe got the bulk of the minutes for the first 30 minutes. Could be an early indication of the rotation entering Oregon State on Sunday.
"There is still some room for changes right now," Menzies said. "There were some gray areas in terms of rotation for the long haul. There is still a lot of competition."
With NMSU's size everywhere, don't look for the Aggies to get up in teams and try to create turnovers. NMSU will keep the other team in front of them, defend the three and rebound. Western made its first 3 triples and finished 7-21.
"tonight we emphasized containment. they had some dribble drive opportunities. I thought that we did overall, our anticipation off the ball, our length off the ball, our ability to rebound the ball kind of outweighed that," menzies said.