Saturday, December 29, 2007

A sad situation

I just wanted to take a minute to say how sad the Herb Pope situation is. I can't say I have any clue what it is like where Herb is from, but from talking to a reporter who covered him in high school, he told me that as soon as Pope played his last game in high school, he wouldn't play another game until he was in the NBA. That is for a variety of reasons, but it is looking like that may be the case. I was told Pope had a plane ticket back to Las Cruces, so it's unfortunate that prior to coming back, this kind of thing happens. It's similar to when he was shot during an altercation the morning before he was supposed to travel for a tournament.
The question now is what the university will do. Obviously the school let Tyrone Nelson play for far worse, and it's not like Pope is going to spend a day in prison, but do you feel he should be allowed on the court at NMSU given his background and his potential that could land him oversees or in the NBA as soon as next season should he choose that path.


Friday, December 28, 2007

What are we talkin' about?

Herb Pope has yet to arrive in Las Cruces. I've been covering the prep tournament at the Pan Am, but I dropped by practice Friday night.

Hatila Passos and Paris Carter will be allowed to practice until grades become official on jan. 15. I saw Passos, but Paris Carter is still out of town after having twin baby girls. Both players will not play in games until their issues are resolved. If they can't get it cleared up by Jan. 15, both players are done for the year.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Worth the risk?

I have seen questions as to what potential penalties the university faces if Herb Pope plays but is eventually ruled ineligible. Here they are from the NCAA manual.

If a student-athlete who is ineligible under the terms of the constitution, bylaws or other legislation of the Association
is permitted to participate in intercollegiate competition contrary to such NCAA legislation but in accordance
with the terms of a court restraining order or injunction operative against the institution attended by such
student-athlete or against the Association, or both, and said injunction is voluntarily vacated, stayed or reversed
or it is finally determined by the courts that injunctive relief is not or was not justified, the Management Council
may take any one or more of the following actions against such institution in the interest of restitution and fairness
to competing institutions

• “Require that individual records and performances achieved during participation by such ineligible studentathlete shall be vacated or stricken;
• Require that team records and performances achieved during participation by such ineligible student-athlete
shall be vacated or stricken;
• Require that team victories achieved during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be abrogated
and the games or events forfeited to the opposing institutions;
• Require that individual awards earned during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be returned
to the Association, the sponsor or the competing institution supplying same;
• Require that team awards earned during participation by such ineligible student-athlete shall be returned to
the Association, the sponsor or the competing institution supplying same;
•Determine that the institution is ineligible for one or more NCAA championships in the sports and in the
seasons in which such ineligible student-athlete participated;
•Determine that the institution is ineligible for invitational and postseason meets and tournaments in the
sports and in the seasons in which such ineligible student-athlete participated;
•Require that the institution shall remit to the NCAA the institution’s share of television receipts (other than
the portion shared with other conference members) for appearing on any live television series or program if
such ineligible student-athlete participates in the contest(s) selected for such telecast, or if the Management
Council concludes that the institution would not have been selected for such telecast but for the participation
of such ineligible student-athlete during the season of the telecast; any such funds thus remitted shall be
devoted to the NCAA postgraduate scholarship program; and
•Require that the institution that has been represented in an NCAA championship by such a student-athlete
shall be assessed a financial penalty as determined by the Committee on Infractions.”


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Two hours until gametime

I was informed that the injunction is still in place, but Pope will not play today, even if he made the trip to Louisville. The two sides will meet again in a scheduled hearing Jan. 14. I will update this post when I get to the arena.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Nothing official but....

I have heard that Hawkins is good to go. Not from a qualified source though. We'll see...

Player grades....Up to the player or the coach

I will say this about college sports. There are loopholes in the grading system. I'm no expert on the loopholes. It wouldn't hurt me to become more adept at such things but it is what it is. And they do exist.

Now I will say, obviously the student athlete is the one responsible for getting to class, doing homework and getting the job done. But to think that a coach doesn't guide the athlete through the process is wrong.

From my understanding, Justin Hawkins always struggled with grades. He did last year and the year before that. But in the end, the staff found a way to get him through it and made sure he was eligible. Same with other players. For many players, the sport comes easy. Staying eligible is the hard part. And a lot of that falls on the player's support staff.

I don't know everything going on with the current situation at NMSU. But one must ask, why is the team's best player (Hawkins) stuggling with this? Why is another solid player (Passos) struggling with this? I'm no coach, but if I were, I would make sure that my two key players were in line and ready to roll. And that goes in all facets of life. Being a college basketball coach goes beyond the basketball court. That's what they sign up for. The good ones at least.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Herb Pope/Kenny Thomas

An unnamed source informed the Sun News on Thursday that there is a realistic chance that NMSU freshman forward Herb Pope will seek an injunction, which would allow him to practice and play for the Aggies this season pending the outcome of the initial certification process. The source also included Pope's fall semester was a successful one at NMSU in the classroom.

For those of you who have been around, how does this compare to former Lobo Kenny Thomas, who filed an injunction against the NCAA as a freshman in 1995. A judge ruled in Thomas' favor and he was ultimately cleared as a freshman, but had to sit for part of his senior season.


Early signees

The Aggies grabbed seven players in the early signing period for football. They include:

RB Seth Smith

WR Marcus Anderson

DT Chris Romero

LB Justen Alford

DT Jonathan Davis

OL Joe Suder

WR LaVorick Williams

Nice pickups...Would have liked to see more help on D, particularly in the secondary. Still, Williams is supposed to be a stud. Suder is a house - 6-foot-6, 330. There is talent in this program, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Player grades

For those who have not heard at this point in time, it appears as if grade eligibility is an issue on the NMSU basketball team.

Nothing has been officially confirmed at this point, but I have heard that Justin Hawkings, Passos and Paris Carter have all failed to meet grade requirements this past semester and face the possibility of not playing.

From my understanding, the three did not make the trip to Louisville but are back in Las Cruces trying to work things out. Work things out? It sounds like a mess. Again, nothing has been confirmed. But I believe it is true.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hawkins health

I talked with Justin Hawkins prior to basketball practice on Friday. He said he felt a sharp pain in practice in his left hamstring the day before the Aggies played Prairie View A&M. He said it had nothing to do with the knee on the same leg that he sprained against Lemoyne Owen, and that if he HAD to have played, he probably could have. The Aggies had two full days off but Hawkins practiced Friday and Saturday. More to come on Hawkins early next week as they prepare for a tough weekend with road games at UNM and Louisville.


Friday, December 14, 2007


Stories on Young and Pope...Spoke to Boston about Pope. He said he expected him back next semester



Young cleared

Jahmar Young has been cleared to play ball...Here's the initial report with a greater one coming later today

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Theus story

It's really short but here it is...

Theus quits team

Londale Theus quit the Aggie basketball team. Marvin Menzies announced confirmed the report on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Apparently ....

Apparently Jahmar Young's case has been moved up the ladder within the NCAA, which helps explain why a potential decision has been moved from last Friday to some other non-specified time.

On Wednesday, I was told that Young's file was considered by a committee last Friday, but has since moved on to an advanced level committee.

I'm working on a story where I tried to address some of the questions that I have seen on this board and others. It just attempts to clear up some of the initial eligibility hurdles that Pope and Young faced.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hawkins out

Apparently, Justin Hawkins is out of action tonight because of a hamstring injury. That's a big hole to fill

Monday, December 10, 2007

Full story

Dunn is hired and NMSU gave Mumme a one-year extension. Here's the story....

Joe Lee Dunn

It looks like NMSU is set to hire Joe Lee Dunn as the team's new defensive coordinator. Dunn confirmed that he was coming to NMSU on Monday.

Dunn is currently coaching at Ridgeway High School in Memphis. Dunn is formely of the SEC conference, where he served as defensive coordinator of Memphis, Miss. St., Arkansas, and Mississippi. He also served as defensive coordinator for South Carolina in the late 80s and was head coach at University of New Mexico from 1983-86. He compiled a 17-30 record with the Lobos.

“I haven’t signed a contract but I have told them I would come there and be their defensive coordinator,” Dunn said.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jahmar Young

I had a little conversation with NMSU Compliance Officer Braun Cartwright. I asked him if the next response from the NCAA could be yes, no or send more information.
He said he was told that the ruling would be either yes or no, and that the NCAA would review Young's file this week. The University submitted Young's file late last week and when I spoke with him, it was 6 p.m. east coast time. So the university is expecting a decision in the next two days.


Great win, now what

I just had a couple thoughts after Tuesday's game. Obviously it was a big win for the new staff. Does this win temper any of you folks who have doubted Menzies or the Aggies toughness thus far? For me I think Tuesday showed what players and Aggie coaches have talked about, but not really advertised. Their schedule thus far was ridiculous, and they played shorthanded, injured and on the road. Against the Lobos though, they were clearly the superior team and I think have a great chance to sweep the Lobos. UTEP is a much better team in my opinion, but with a win, I'm wondering what you folks who were critical will think.

Stefon Jackson had a great game against the Aggies last time, matching Justin Hawkins shot for shot, so that is an intriguing matchup. I have seen UTEP coach Tony Barbee talking about playing better transition defense the last couple of days, but the last game seemed to come down to a battle in the paint, and if the Tuesday was any indication, the Aggies are re-committing themselves to pounding the ball inside and getting to the foul line.

Finally, 6,800 for a unm game? Whats up with that? Is it the 3-6 record? No reggie? I don't understand "Sports fans" in Las Cruces. Help me out


Monday, December 3, 2007

Mumme staying

For those who did not read my article two days ago, Boston confirmed that Hal Mumme will be back next season. A few things I'm sure factored into his decision.

First off, Mumme has two years left on his deal. The school will not buy him out. I just don't think that was going to happen, so they bit the bullet. Next year will be critical. The team will need to win 6-7 games to justify keeping him on board.

This season was also a tough one to judge how far the team has come. I said it time and again, when you're top players are hurt, it's tough to win games.

The problem I saw with the team is that they're built to win one way - scoring touchdowns. If they don't outscore people, it's all over. Good teams can beat the opposition in a number of ways. One week it's the defense, the next week, the kicking game steps up and field position plays a big factor. Not with this team. Score, score, score. That's the mantra.

I expect the team to be better next year with a full cast of players. But there are no guarantees that everyone stays healthy again. Holbrook will always be a target dropping back 50-70 times a game. In football, people get hurt. Receivers, QBs, RBs, linebackers, DBs, linemen. It's a fact of the sport. And the schedule will be much tougher. No cupcake 1-AA school is coming to town. Tall order for Mumme and company next season.