What a sad state of affairs that has led to Herb Pope leaving the Aggies.
I for one am upset. I know, many will say that if he doesn't want to be a part of the team or the team feels like it's in its best interest to let him go, then that's exactly what should happen. But we never saw the real Herb Pope last year on the basketball court. Would we have this year? We don't know. And that's the problem. It is unfulfilled potential for Pope the player and the Aggies as a whole.
Herb was a different type of player. Some will say difficult, some will say selfish. I will not use those terms. He's a gifted player who needs the elements around him to be right. I won't judge him as a person or his character. Make no mistake, he came to NMSU because he thought Reggie Theus would be the head coach. And I think this is a big factor. It takes a certain type of coach to handle a personality like Herb's. I don't think coach Menzies and Herb meshed well. Would Herb have come to Las Cruces if Menzies was here from the get-go? Just my opinion here, but I would have to think the answer would be no. Pope went out on a limb coming to NMSU. It was unconventional. When the infrastructure around the program shifted, it changed everything for him before last season even got underway.
I don't think the team is better without Pope. I was excited to see him on a frontline with Gillenwater and McKiness. I thought that would be formidable, challenging WAC opponents on a night-to-night basis. Who knows? He could have been an all-conference caliber player. He also could have been sub-par, much like last year. But it would have been nice to know.
I can honestly say that I hope things work out for him, I really do. He needs a strong supporting cast around him to help him grow as a player and a person. Just bouncing around from program to program is not the answer either. On a serious note, he needs to go to school, play ball and get a degree. Get an education. That's what this should be about with Herb Pope. His life has been hard enough. Let the man be, let him move on. I hope it works out for him. I just don't know if it will.