#67 New Mexico Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

New Mexico Lobos

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #67
Conference Rank: #3 Mountain West

New Mexico Team Page#67 New Mexico Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy New Mexico Basketball Tickets

This is going to be a very different looking New Mexico squad. Gone are the three superstars that led to the Lobos to the NCAA Tournament. In his first year as the UNM head coach, Craig Neal led his team to 27 wins and an impressive 15-3 mark in Mountain West play. The team, as a seven seed, was upset by Stanford in the Round of 64, but more importantly, this this is now Coach Neal’s team to rebuild.

2013-14 Record: 27-7, 15-3
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Craig Neal
Coach Record: 27-7 at New Mexico, 27-7 overall

Who’s Out:
Kendall Williams, Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk will be impossible to replace. Williams averaged 16.0 points, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals. There were not many, if any, better floor leaders than Williams. Bairstow was the team’s best scorer at 20.4 points per game. He added 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. But it was Kirk, who left school early, who led the team in rebounding and blocks. You will hear about those three not being in New Mexico all year long. Also gone is Cleveland Thomas, who averaged 15.2 minutes per game, Nick Banyard and Merv Lindsay.

Who’s In:
The Lobos will be looking for a few impact newcomers and they have plenty of options. Jordan Goodman, J.J. N’Ganga and Joe Furstinger will all boost the frontcourt depth. Goodman was named an NJCAA First Team All-American after averaging 18.1 points and 6.6 rebounds at Harcum College. Goodman was considered one of the best junior college transfers in this class. N’Ganga is another junior college transfer. He may not score like Goodman, but he is a big 6-10, 250 pound center who can eat up space and grab some boards. The talent continues on the wing with Sam Logwood and Xavier Adams. Logwood was a great late pick up for the Lobos. He originally committed to Auburn. Adams is a superb athlete who sooner or later will have some highlight reels made. Adam Cumber and walk-on juco transfer Tim Jacobs will battle for minutes in the backcourt.

Who to Watch:
Most of the talk about UNM this offseason has been about who left and who is coming in, but Coach Neal does have five returning players who should be ready to step up. Most of that pressure will fall on Hugh Greenwood and Cullen Neal. Greenwood, a 6-3 senior, is a superb all-around player. Last season he averaged 6.2 points, 3.4 assists and 5.1 rebounds. There are not many better rebounding guards than Greenwood. He is not the most consistent shooter, but Greenwood can knock down some three-pointers. This year, however, he will have to spend more time with the ball in his hands. Either way, Greenwood should be able to boost his scoring production significantly now that he will be asked to take more shots. Neal, the coach’s son, is capable of running the point too. He is a better pure scorer than Greenwood, so leaving him off the ball makes sense if UNM needs him to not have to worry about the point. Deshawn Delaney will likely join Greenwood and Neal in the starting backcourt. He was a part-time starter as a junior and averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. Like Greenwood, Delaney is a very good rebounder for a guard. Arthur Edwards brings more size to the wing after playing limited minutes in 2013-2014.

Final Projection:
New Mexico will ask a lot of 7-1 sophomore center Obij Aget. He is still raw after averaging just 6.3 minutes per game as a freshman, but the starting center spot should come down to him or N’Ganga. Aget can turn into a decent interior scorer and a great rebounder and shot blocker at some point. If that happens this year, New Mexico could be in for a big season despite the loss of Williams, Bairstow and Kirk.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Hugh Greenwood, Senior, Guard, 6.2 points per game
Cullen Neal, Sophomore, Guard, 7.1 points per game
Deshawn Delaney, Senior, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Jordan Goodman, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Obij Aget, Sophomore, Center, 1.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.0 (81st in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.1 (71, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.8 (93, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.9 (10, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (207, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.2 (214, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (83, 6)
Rebound Margin: 5.3 (22, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (25, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.6 (41, 7)


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