Monday, November 4, 2013

NMSU 2013-14 schedule: Dec. 4 Game 10 vs. New Mexico/Dec. 17 Game 14 at New Mexico

Last year: 29-6, 13-3 Mountain West; MWC tournament champion, 1st round loss to Harvard

Key player: Tony Snell got drafted in the NBA Draft, but I've always felt like Kendall Williams was the Lobos best player the past couple years. Williams led the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game, leading the Lobos with 4.9 assists, which was second in the MWC. He also shot 35 percent from 3-point range, including hitting 10-13 from long range in a 46 point outing against Colorado State.

Something to watch: They are already celebrating another championship in Albuquerque as that honeymoon period is in full swing. I think the Lobos are going to take a little step back, at least initially. I don't doubt Craig Neal as a coach, but Steve Alford was a good coach. An established coach. And as Albuquerque Journal reporter Geoff Grammer told me, Neal will also change the style of play up. Those things take time.
"They will play more up tempo and press more than they did with Alford," Grammer said. "Alford wanted to play half court and never play zone, but (assistant coach) Lamont Smith was hired as a defensive coach and he's a zone guy. ... I think (Neal) will be fine. He really did a lot of the gameplan under Alford and he could go out and offer a guy recruiting. Alford trusted him. One thing he will have to do is keep his passion under control. I think he could get some technicals."
Australian power forward Cameron Bairstow has impressed and will likely start along with 7-footer Alex Kirk. Williams and point guard Hugh Greenwood will also start. Grammer said the favorite to start on the wing and replace Snell  is junior college transfer Deshawn Delaney, a 6-5 two time JC all american at Vincennes JC in Indiana. Grammer described Delaney as more of a slasher offensively than Snell was. Cullen Neal, JC transfer Arthur Edwards and sophomore Cleveland Thomas could also play on the wing.

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