New Mexico State Aggies
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #128
Conference Rank: #2 WAC
New Mexico State Team Page
New Mexico State is in a pretty tough position this season. The bad news is they lose their top three scorers and main reasons why they went to the NCAA Tournament. However, the WAC is also crumbling and, for now, that is not a horrible thing for an Aggies squad that needs to rebuild. The conference will not be nearly as strong as it was last season and that leaves the door wide open for NMSU to make it back to the NCAA Tournament. Coach Marvin Menzies pulled everything together last season, but the program has been relatively inconsistent during his six year tenure. This season should be very telling.
2011-12 Record: 26-10, 10-4
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Marvin Menzies
Coach Record: 102-68 at New Mexico State, 102-68 overall
Wendell McKines dominated the WAC last season, averaging 18.7 points and 10.7 rebounds. He will be missed greatly and nobody is going to come close to replacing that production. His frontcourt mate, Hamidu Rahman, is also gone after averaging 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. There goes a huge chunk of points, a whole lot of rebounds and the Aggies defensive presence in the paint. Making matters worse is the graduation of Hernst Laroche, who averaged 11.9 points and 3.8 assists. NMSU spent most of last season without Christian Kabongo anyway, but he was a very good scorer in the 11 games he played.
The newcomers will not have to provide too many minutes, but the more Coach Menzies can get out of this bunch, the better. Junior college transfer Kevin Aronis is a quality shooter and that is what the Aggies lacked last season. Matej Buovac, a 6-7 forward, is also known for his shooting and his ability to stretch out the defense could come in very handy even if it is off of the bench. Wings Emery Coleman and Temjae Singleton are the other incoming freshmen and could both work their way into the regular rotation, especially if their shots are falling. The backcourt gets even more help from redshirt freshmen Eric Weary and Terrel de Rouen. B.J. West, a 6-11 center, also returns after redshirting last season. As a sophomore in 2010-2011, West averaged 2.5 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Aggies. K.C. Ross-Miller, a transfer from New Orleans, may play the biggest role of all the newcomers. This is a team in dire need of a point guard, and Ross-Miller is one of the few who can fill that void.
Who to Watch:
The lack of an experienced point guard will be a problem, but New Mexico State has some former roleplayers who are capable of stepping into a starring role. In the backcourt that player is Daniel Mullings. The 6-2 sophomore averaged 9.3 points per game during his first season in Las Cruces. Mullings is not a shooter, but he does a great job finishing around the basket. A year of experience and a summer in the weight room could make him a very effective scorer. Tyrone Watson, a 6-5 senior, is by far the most experienced returning player and the Aggies will look to him for leadership. Watson is a very interesting player. He is a quality rebounder and a decent interior scorer, but he can pass the ball too. If NMSU needs him to bring the ball up the floor they have some other issues, but Watson is capable. Bandja Sy, a 6-8 senior, was stuck behind McKines and Rahman last season, but he proved to be a very effective scorer. Unlike most players on last year’s team, Sy could hit some three-pointers. In fact, he is the only returning player who averaged over half a three-pointer per game. Like Buovac, he will help stretch out the defense, but Mullings and Watson better take advantage of those opportunities. Tshilidzi Nephawe had a drop off during his sophomore season, but like the rest of the frontcourt, he was stuck behind some very talented players. The 6-10 junior is a big body in the paint and he has some starting experience and could be the big ball swatting and scoring option NMSU needs in the paint to replace Rahman.
There are more questions than answers for New Mexico State. Coach Menzies will find a solid rotation out of this group and could even reach down the bench and get production from Remi Barry and Renaldo Dixon. This is a team that needs former roleplayers to play like starters and newcomers to at least provide quality production off of the bench. It may be slow going for a little while, but if everything comes together this could be a very good team. Unfortunately, the WAC will not be that good and beating up on teams like Seattle, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and Texas-Arlington will not help the RPI or impress anybody. This is a one bid league right now and it will all come down to a few games at the conference tournament. Yet, even if they fail to make the NCAA Tournament, this is one of the few WAC teams that is more than capable of reaching a different postseason tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
K.C. Ross-Miller, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Daniel Mullings, Sophomore, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Tyrone Watson, Senior, Forward, 7.0 points per game
Bandja Sy, Senior, Forward, 8.8 points per game
Tshilidzi Nephawe, Junior, Center, 5.8 points per game