#121 New Mexico State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

New Mexico State Aggies

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #121
Conference Rank: #1 WAC

New Mexico State Team Page#121 New Mexico State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy New Mexico State Basketball Tickets

This is not going to be the most exciting season in the WAC. New Mexico State is the only team left with serious Division I history behind them. That may not be a bad thing for now as the Aggies should be pretty consistent visitors to the NCAA Tournament for the next five years or so…unless things change yet again in the WAC landscape or NMSU gets a better offer. While the rest of the conference tries to catch up to the Aggies talent level, Coach Marvin Menzies and company will dominate the league and it starts right now.

2012-13 Record: 24-11, 14-4
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Marvin Menzies
Coach Record: 126-79 at New Mexico State, 126-79 overall

Who’s Out:
Of the ten players who were in the regular rotation last season, when healthy, only two are gone. Although losing Bandja Sy and Tyrone Watson is significant. Sy, a 6-8 forward, led the team in rebounding with 7.3 per contest and was second on the squad with 11.9 points. Sy was a decent shooter too and having him wander out beyond the arc on occasion did open up the offense. Watson was a fixture in the starting lineup for three seasons. For his final year the 6-5 forward averaged 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Who’s In:
Coach Marvin Menzies wanted to add some depth at point guard and both his incoming recruits are point guards. They will join redshirt freshman Aaron Kubinski, a 6-5 small forward who spent last season on the sidelines. Travon Landry was a decent pickup for the Aggies, but for now the bigger impact will be made by junior college transfer DK Eldridge. Eldridge spent three years at New Mexico Junior College, missing the 2011-2012 campaign with an injury. Eldridge is not a true point guard and his size and versatility will give Coach Menzies plenty of places to use him.  

Who to Watch:
The newcomers will not have to do anything but add a bit of depth to the already talented backcourt. Daniel Mullings is the star of the Aggies after averaging 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals during his sophomore season. Mullings is a capable outside shooter, but he does most of his scoring damage by attacking the basket. K.C. Ross-Miller will be pushed by the new point guards. As a sophomore he had an up and down season, averaging 5.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.0 turnovers. Terrel de Rouen is yet another junior on the perimeter. If New Mexico State opts to play a bit smaller and keep Mullings at the three spot most of the time, de Rouen could find himself in the starting lineup. He did earn nine starts a season ago, but he will need to be more consistent with his shot in order to be an effective shooting guard. Perhaps it is Kevin Aronis who is the best pure shooter on a pretty poor shooting team. Fortunately the Aggies know that they should not take many three-pointers, but it would be very helpful to the offense if somebody was capable of consistently knocking down the long ball. At the least it would open up the offense for the slashers like Mullings.

Final Projection:
Finding a shooter would also give Sim Bhullar more space under the basket. The big 7-5, 355 pound center had a very productive freshman campaign. He averaged just over ten points per game and proved to be a tough rebounder and defender. He even averaged nearly 25 minutes per game, which is quite impressive for a 7-5, 355 pound freshman. In theory his conditioning should improve and that could spell trouble for the rest of the WAC. What is even more troublesome for the generally undersized conference is the rest of the size the Aggies have in the frontcourt. Tshilidzi Nephawe missed all but nine games last season. His absence paved the way for Bhullar to step up his game. Now Coach Menzies has both of them to work with. Nephawe, a 6-10, 265 pound center, was off to a good start and averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in those nine contests. If NMSU wants to get their best players on the court, those two could spend a few minutes on the floor together. However, just having one of them on at all times is huge. Nephawe may not block shots like Bhullar, but he is a tough rebounder and a capable interior scorer. Renaldo Dixon stepped up his game in Nephawe’s absence as well. The 6-9 forward is not much of a scoring threat, but he is a very tough rebounder and a fine defender. Add the depth provided by Remi Barry and no team in the WAC can come even close to competing with this frontcourt for 40 minutes. And by the end of a game and the end of the season, New Mexico State will have worn down the rest of the conference and make their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
K.C. Ross-Miller, Junior, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Terrel de Rouen, Junior, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Daniel Mullings, Junior, Guard, 13.8 points per game
Renaldo Dixon, Senior, Forward, 5.6 points per game
Sim Bhullar, Sophomore, Center, 10.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.3 (174th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.1 (58, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (64, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 4.0 (49, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.9 (334, 10)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.3 (NA, NA)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.6 (284, 8)
Rebound Margin: 6.5 (16, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.5 (268, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (260, 8)


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