A blogger on my last post said that he believed next season will be a rebuilding year for Aggie basketball. I don't believe so.
First off, one thing Menzies can do is recruit. He is resourceful and will continue to bring in pieces to help mold the program. The loss of Justin Hawkins and Fred Peete are undeniable, but all programs go through that every year. In my opinion, Passos and Iti are replaceable, particularly if Herb Pope returns. He is a player like none other on the roster and will be a much better player if he gets an entire season under his belt.
The team will miss Fred's gritty nature, as he was a capable scorer, became a distributor and was a more than solid rebounder from the guard spot. He was a versatile player. Still, Jahmar Young and Jonathon Gibson are better pure scorers. They may lack Fred's intangibles but that's something we'll all find out next year to be true or not.
The one area that needs clarification is the point guard spot. I don't know what happened to JayDee Luster this past year but it doesn't look like he fits into Menzies' plans. He remained nailed to the bench. Jahmar and Jonathon remain shooting guards. The answer may come in the form of Arkansas transfer Terrence Joyner. He's a big, talented guard, and could be exactly what the team needs. But I think the jury is still out at this position and a verdict probably won't come in until we see them in action next season.
Much of next season's success will also depend on how the conference shakes out. Again, it was a somewhat down year for the WAC. Will 2009 be any different? Nevada will lose Kemp, but they have some pieces. Then again, they need JaVale McGee to stay on board. He is a big kid. And you know some other teams will step up their game. But I would not say that next year will be a rebuilding season for NMSU. That's hitting the panic button way too early.