#60 New Mexico State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

New Mexico State Aggies

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #60
Conference Rank: #1 WAC

New Mexico State Team Page#60 New Mexico State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy New Mexico State Basketball Tickets

New Mexico State is absolutely dominating the WAC. They have not finished worse than third since Coach Marvin Menzies took over the program back in 2007. The Aggies have also made the NCAA Tournament three years in a row and four of the last five seasons. This year should be no different as NMSU continues to put out quality teams as the rest of the WAC regresses.

2013-14 Record: 26-10, 12-4
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Marvin Menzies
Coach Record: 152-89 at New Mexico State, 152-89 overall

Who’s Out:
The Aggies will look different without 7-5 center Sim Bhullar. He is off in the NBA now after averaging 10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. Bhullar was a massive presence on both ends of the floor and, unlike many big guys, he could play 30 minutes in a game. While Bhullar is a significant loss, New Mexico State can now use their athleticism to get up and down the floor. But Bhullar is not the only departure. Renaldo Dixon added more size to the frontcourt. The 6-10 forward was only a part-time starter, but played starter minutes and averaged 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds. Guard K.C. Ross-Miller transferred to Auburn. He dished out 3.5 assists per game and was occasionally a dangerous three-point shooter. Kevin Aronis was the first guard off of the bench during his senior season. He was easily the most productive and efficient shooter on the team and knocked down nearly twice as many three-pointers as anybody else on the team. The only other loss is Matej Buovac, who transferred to Sacred Heart, after averaging less than eight minutes per game.

Who’s In:
NMSU has quite a few newcomers and some of them will need to contribute right away. Tanveer Bhullar, brother of Sim Bhullar, will get a lot of attention. At 7-3 and 340 pounds, Tanveer is a smaller version of Sim and that is the only person he is a smaller version of. The redshirt freshman can at least provide a defensive presence this year. Junior college transfer Anthony January will add experience and depth to the frontcourt, as will redshirt freshmen Jonathon Wilkins and Pascal Siakam. Wilkins, a 6-10 big man, redshirted last season with a broken wrist and is a viable option to replace Dixon. Jalyn Pennie and Matthew Taylor will add options on the wing. Pennie is a lanky 6-7 wing who has the athleticism that this team is developing. The Aggies may get production from freshmen like Harold Givens, Rashawn Browne and Braxton Huggins as well, but many of the freshmen could end up redshirting since the young Aggies have so many freshmen options.

Who to Watch:
The Aggies will revolve around their top three scorers from the 2013-2014 campaign, Daniel Mullings, DK Eldridge and Tshilidzi Nephawe. Mullings is a dangerous slasher who averaged 16.8 points, 3.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals during his junior campaign. An All-American in some circles, Mullings is the player who will carry this team and take the big shots for NMSU. DK Eldridge is the shooter of the bunch. He knocked down 40.0 percent of his 105 attempts from beyond the arc. If the opposition keys in on Mullings too much, Eldridge will make them pay from long range. The other returning double digit scorer is Tshilidzi Nephawe. The 6-10 senior center may have been overshadowed by Bhullar, but he is a better interior scorer and just about as good on the glass. He averaged 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds and those numbers should go up without Bhullar by his side, well at least without Sim Bhullar by his side.

Final Projection:
Ideally, NMSU would have both Mullings and Eldridge off of the ball. Both are capable of running the point, but having somebody else set them up would be better for the offense. Tavon Landry averaged about 11 minutes per game as a freshman and is a capable point guard. Ian Baker is another relatively inexperienced player who can add depth to the backcourt. Even if they are not starting, they can handle some minutes and let Mullings and Eldridge score. But overall this team has depth in the backcourt and in the frontcourt, especially with the return of Remi Barry, who missed most of last season with a knee injury. They will not be as big, but they will be faster and more athletic and that is more than enough to dominate the WAC.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Travon Landry, Sophomore, Guard, 2.1 points per game
Daniel Mullings, Senior, Guard, 16.8 points per game
DK Eldridge, Senior, Guard, 11.2 points per game
Anthony January, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Tshilidzi Nephawe, Senior, Center, 11.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.0 (36th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.1 (96, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.8 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.1 (27, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (258, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.1 (65, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (212, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (31, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (124, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (216, 5)


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