#79 New Mexico Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

New Mexico Lobos

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #79
Conference Rank: #5 Mountain West

New Mexico Team Page#79 New Mexico Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy New Mexico Basketball Tickets

New Mexico is coming off of a tough year. They went just 7-11 in Mountain West action and 15-16 overall. Coach Craig Neal had a lot of rebuilding to do and the Lobos fell apart down the stretch. They won just one game in February and March and that is not the momentum New Mexico was hoping for heading into 2015-2016. But this group does have some young talent ready to step up and from a pure talent standpoint; they can compete with anybody in the conference. The return of Cullen Neal, who missed nearly all of last season with an injury, will help UNM take that next step. The coach’s son averaged 7.1 points per game as a freshman and was off to a great start to his sophomore season, averaging 17.0 points in his three games.

2014-15 Record: 15-16, 7-11
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Craig Neal
Coach Record: 42-23 at New Mexico, 42-23 overall

Who’s Out:
The bad news is that New Mexico loses their only two double digit scorers from a year ago. Wing Deshawn Delaney led the way with 11.7 points and added 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals. Hugh Greenwood averaged 11.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals during his senior season. Greenwood’s outside shooting stretched out the defense and a lack of proven shooters on this year’s team could be a big problem. Arthur Edwards has opted to transfer after averaging 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds as a junior. Jordan Goodman is also transferring. The 6-8 junior college transfer spent just one year with the Lobos and averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Who’s In:
A couple transfers will make a big splash for UNM. Elijah Brown averaged 6.8 points per game as a freshman at Butler. He is a major scoring threat and should at least be a solid scoring threat off of the bench. Tim Williams, a 6-8 forward, spent two years at Samford, where he proved to be a great rebounder Three years ago he was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds. Two years ago he again led the team with 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. Whether he starts or not, Williams will be very productive during his two seasons with New Mexico. Michael Nesbitt, a transfer from DII Missouri A&T, will also suit up for the Lobos this year. Freshmen Adam Cumber, Jordan Hunter, Anthony Mathis, Dane Kuiper and Nikola Scekic will not have to do too much since this team has plenty of experience returning. But that will not stop Kuiper from showing off his potential. The 6-7 wing is a versatile player who can do a little bit of everything. Hunter, a 5-11 point guard, should see playing time as well.

Who to Watch:
If you count Neal, New Mexico returns eight players who averaged double digit minutes. Obij Aget and Devon Williams are both coming off of very promising sophomore seasons. Aget, a 7-1 center, averaged 6.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He is a major presence in the paint and, with a little more scoring, Aget could be an All-Conference caliber player. Devon Williams averaged 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds. He will be pushed by Tim Williams for minutes at the power forward spot. Senior J.J. N’Ganga and sophomore Joe Furstinger are now experienced in the system and have the potential to be larger contributors. Sam Logwood, Tim Jacobs and Xavier Adams will join Neal and the newcomers in the backcourt. Logwood is a quality scorer, especially if his shot can start falling and Jacobs played very well at the point when pressed into duty last year. But Adams is the player to watch. The 6-4 sophomore only averaged 3.3 points per game last year, but he is a physical guard who can attack the basket and help out on the glass.

Final Projection:
New Mexico and Coach Craig Neal have a lot to prove. In 2013-2014, during Coach Neal’s first year as head coach, the Lobos had a lot of talent and reached the NCAA Tournament. Last year with a more inexperienced squad, the Lobos struggled. Surely, the injury to Cullen Neal did not help, but now New Mexico needs to start showing improvement. This will not likely be an NCAA Tournament team, but they should get closer this year and get back to competing for a MW title.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Tim Jacobs, Senior, Guard, 3.5 points per game
Cullen Neal, Sophomore, Guard, 17.0 points per game
Xavier Adams, Sophomore, Guard, 3.3 points per game
Tim Williams, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Obij Aget, Junior, Center, 6.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.0 (296th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.2 (31, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.2 (192, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (54, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.8 (313, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.8 (304, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (283, 9)
Rebound Margin: 4.8 (37, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (155, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (186, 9)


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