Saturday, June 30, 2007

Menzies wins big

Herb Pope telling the Sun-News that he will be an Aggie next year is good news for a lot of people and great news for Marvin Menzies.

Imagine if Pope bailed. It would have been a bad PR hit for the school and a horrible way for Menzies to get started. Instead, Pope decided to stay and Menzies wins big before the team even takes the floor. The team can continue its forward thinking mentality and view itself, as in fact, a program on the rise.

Now the school will need to hold on to him for the long haul. Wins will be the easiest way to do that. Success will breed a place where recruits want to come and play ball. And Pope staying could be the beginning of that. All the newcomers will be in Las Cruces come tip-off including the reluctant JayDee Luster. Then the real games will begin and the real winning will have to take place.

Pope staying was the first big win in the Menzies era before it was even 24 hours old.

Friday, June 29, 2007

First impressions of Menzies

Marvin Menzies handled himself the best he could at Friday’s press conference. I don’t think he imagined the expectations that awaited him in Las Cruces. The Aggies are a talented team and people are expecting big things.

He will be asked to carry the torch that Reggie Theus ignited when he came here two years ago. One press conference isn’t going to determine how he’ll be as a coach when the bullets are flying at Duke or when the team goes on the road to Fresno. He won’t be Theus, who was personable, charismatic and, at times, inspirational. People didn’t see Reggie sweat in the line of fire. Menzies will be under the gun from the get-go and there will be no honeymoon period. He’ll be expected to win immediately.

If the Aggies slip from last season it will be considered a disappointment. Menzies can’t rock the boat and needs to get everyone on the same page. I think all the recruits will end up coming to Las Cruces and I believe the talent on the floor will be evident. He’ll have to make the pieces fit though. I think NMSU would be wise to bring its assistant staff back intact. I doubt all will return though. This is a big year for NMSU basketball and a huge hire for Dr. Boston. If it works out, all will be considered great. If it doesn’t, look out below


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mystery man

McKinley Boston is a savvy man. He shielded a candidate and the person has yet to be identified as of 12:33 a.m. mountain time Wednesday morning.

This signifies something significant though. Boston hasn’t been enamored with any of the candidates to this point and is looking elsewhere for a spark. It seems as if he thought the second round of interviews would allow him to zero in on a coach who separated himself from the pack…It hasn’t happened. The ordinary Rob Evans is like a piece of bread that has been left out overnight. Rod Terry, Gib Arnold and Marvin Menzies all bring different attributes to the table, but all come with question marks and no guarantees.

Who is the mystery man? Good question. Is Boston desperate? I don’t know if that’s the right word but he certainly is uncertain at this point. The next 24-48 hours will determine everything. If he had to make a choice right now, he wouldn’t be able to. The list is intriguing, but in his heart of hearts, Boston knows that the future of the program hangs in the balance. With the right man on the bench, the team can take another step forward. The wrong choice could be disastrous.

I still think Boston should role the dice. Evans? Too boring for my blood. I still believe it comes down to Terry, Arnold and Menzies. But then again, why bring in another candidate if you were certain the right name was on the original short list? It should be an interesting 24 hours

Monday, June 25, 2007

Meet the candidates

See my links section for bios on each NMSU basketball coach candidate.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Updated list

Very interesting developments in Aggie country this afternoon.

These are legitimate names. The only real surprise is Orlando Early, who came absolutely out of nowhere to become a darkhorse of sorts. Rob Evans is obviously a candidate too although I have to say I am surprised by this. I don't think he'll get the job.

If the list is on the money — and I believe it is, 100 percent — Boston is clearly conflicted for a number of reasons. He looks at some candidates with little or no head coaching experience while the one's who do have some might not possess the same appeal. I think he goes with a gutsy pick again. With that being said, it comes down to Rodney Terry, Gib Arnold and Marvin Menzies. McKinley Boston will choose the candidate who is best prepared to continue to move the program forward

Coaching list

Well, if you read the coaching list of candidates that McKinley Boston is going to interview in our paper, there are some very intriguing names to consider.

I think Boston is thinking young, unproven and wants to go with a slightly gutsy pick. Two guys that jump off the bat immediately are Rodney Terry and Cameron Dollar. Both seem to be what the AD is looking for – two guys who appear to have bright basketball minds, good recruiting records, look like they could relate well with players as head coaches. Texas’ freshmen class last season was ridiculous and Terry was on that staff.

I think you can eliminate Rob Evans from contention. He’s up there in age, and it’s just too close to the vest for Boston. Wayne Morgan doesn’t intrigue me greatly either. Internal candidates? I don’t think that’s a horrible choice but again, it’s too conservative for Boston. He’ll look to make a splash.

He said last night he has a favorite in mind. My money’s on him rolling the dice on Terry.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reggie knows what he's doing

Reggie Theus, well, he has put himself in the best position possible.

First off, he was guaranteed $6 million which is good for just about anybody. Aside from that, it’s a no-lose deal. Worst case scenario, Theus fails in Sacramento and pockets the cash. He’ll still have a job waiting for him in the college game, possibly at a program with higher prestige than NMSU. And if he gets the Kings to scrape the .500 mark, he’ll look like a solid young coach on the rise.

He’ll be talking today at NMSU at noon to discuss the search and say his final farewell. After that, it’s off to Sacramento. I think he will surprise people on the next level


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lots to discuss

Wild day in The Nation, with much going down surrounding the Theus fallout.

Boston was downright giddy regarding the amount of interest shown in the job. It sounds as if some viable candidates are on the horizon and rightfully so. The NMSU job is a very attractive one as the Aggies have talent across the court. People are definitely wired up regarding the opening and it should be fun to see how things shape out over the next couple days.

While no player reaction was uncovered, some recruits were interviewed and that picture isn’t as rosy. Luster was genuinely hurt by the experience and doesn’t seem fired up about Cruces at all. It didn’t seem Pope was pleased either but he said the right things. And rightfully so. These kids aren’t coming here because of the proximity to El Paso and the view of the Organs. They came because of Theus. Boston will have to get the troops on the right page and the new coaching selection will have a lot to do with it.

Big week for NMSU and big week for Boston. He sounds optimistic and might have a few tricks up his sleeve


Theus leaving town

We knew it would come sooner or later. Unfortunately for Aggie hoop fans it came sooner as Reggie Theus will move on to Sacramento to coach the Kings.

What are your thoughts? Me, well, I’m surprised. I didn’t think he would get offered the job. And I really don’t know what he will do on the NBA level. He’ll be able to relate to the players. But from an X’s and O’s standpoint he could get into trouble. Pro basketball is all about in-game adjustments and Theus will have to play the chess match with some of the best coaches in the world on a nightly basis.

NMSU finds itself in a corner. McKinley Boston will have to bring in a coach who can keep the program moving in the right direction but finding one with Theus’ popularity or appeal is close to impossible. What will it mean to the current roster, the team’s standing in the WAC and the recruits being brought in? Will the fan base suffer? Only time will tell really. And ultimately, it will all be dictated by if the team continues to record victories. Some answers we’ll find out in the coming days and weeks. Others will take months.

As for coaching candidates, Arkansas assistant Rob Evans appears a likely option due to his ties to NMSU. He has former head coaching experience at Ole Miss and Arizona State. Tony Benford, an assistant at Nebraska and a Hobbs native, could also get some consideration. Glynn Cyprien and Ronnie Thompson, son of John Thompson, could also get a look. Obviously a member of the Aggies current assistant staff is always a viable alternative as well. And I’m sure Boston has some tricks up his sleeve, or at least would hope so.

Lets get some comments going, stir the pot a bit. If the blog is not your thing you can also get your comments out by emailing me a The community responses will be published on our Web site each day in the sports section.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Under center

Chase Holbrook put up big numbers last year and his name popping up amongst the NFL is not a huge surprise by any stretch.

I haven’t seen Holbrook take a live snap in a game as of yet but a few things do stand out to me when breaking things down. One, he threw very little interceptions while putting the ball in the air a ton. People say he has a strong arm and he does have nice size as well at 6-5, 235.

Still, questions will hound him if he is a “system” QB. NMSU’s offense asks him to throw, throw and throw some more. He has a ton of options in the passing game and uses them all effectively. Tim Couch garnered a No. 1 overall pick playing under Mumme at Kentucky and bottomed out as a pro. Right or wrong, people will ask the same things of Holbrook.

To say that he is a first-round pick right now is ridiculous and to say in 2009 he’s No. 1 overall is preposterous. A lot can happen this year and things change quickly in the NFL. All Holbrook can do is to keep producing in the offense — and lead the team to more wins. He’ll get his numbers. If NMSU can put up an improved season record wise, it will continue to add to his exposure. The supporters will point to the stats. The doubters will point to the system. The only guarantee is that he’ll continue to chuck it early and often


Monday, June 4, 2007

Bball sightings

The Aggies look like they could be in for a big season on the hardwood but questions do remain regarding the current roster.

Nelson is a big one and for a number of reasons. His legal issues will be something to keep an eye on as he could conceivably be off the roster if things don’t fall in his favor. If that’s the case, where does the team turn? A three-guard lineup with Justin Hawkins at the 4 is a possibility but would leave NMSU very small along the front line. A Martin Iti, Hatila Passos twin-tower combination at center and power forward would give the team size but it appears as if the Aggies are better suited with one of them to coming off the bench. That leaves prized recruit Herb Pope to see major minutes if such a scenario unfolds. That is intriguing considering the forward’s enormous upside but it’s still unclear and he’s still unproven, at least up to this point.

Really, even if Nelson is on the team, it will be interesting to see where he is as far as production is concerned. Two years ago he broke out but regressed badly last season. If he comes back strong and with a chip on his shoulder, he could be a force. If not, Pope could steal minutes from him and see his role increase down the stretch of the season. Much of Nelson’s year could be dictated by Pope’s performance. If the freshman makes a major push, Nelson could be the odd man out. At the same time, if Nelson plays the way the staff thinks he can and the way he did two years it will be NMSU’s gain all the way around. It’s still very much up in the air at this point.

The Aggies are also unsettled at point guard and that will be something to keep an eye on leading up to the season. Elijah Ingram was a gutty performer for them last year and will be missed. It will be Theus’ job to fill in the blanks at PG and find the right fit at the most important position on the floor. That will certainly be a point of discussion leading up to the season and throughout the course of the year.

On a side note, I will be leaving for two weeks on vacation. Obviously, those of you who aren’t enamored with my work probably could care less. Those who think I am somewhat knowledgeable will just have to wait for my return. And those who are indifferent, hopefully you will come over with time