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