Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't count out Las Cruces High

The Las Cruces High School boys basketball team has gotten off to a sub-par start in District 3-5A play with a 2-2 record.

The team beat Alamogordo to start things off, then lost in overtime at home to Oñate — a game that lived up to the hype.

LCHS fell on the road at Mayfield despite a dominant first half showing. Friday night they barely squeaked by Gadsden in double overtime.

The Bulldawgs have had trouble when teams have thrown a counterpunch — twice LCHS has blown double-digit leads during district play. The first was a 13-point fourth-quarter lead against Oñate and the other an 11-point halftime advantage vs. Mayfield.

All while the District 3-5A race is as competitive as anticipated. The Knights hold a 3-0 league record — and a No. 1 ranking in the state — while Mayfield is 2-1 after a disappointing Friday loss at Alamogordo. The Knights and Trojans square off on Tuesday.

LCHS should still be right there in the end. The Bulldawgs have as much talent as Oñate and more size in the paint. They also have a solid head coach in William Benjamin. They are a young team and are still experiencing growing pains.

The Knights have arguably the two best players in the state in point guard Tim Jacobs and shooting guard Terrel de Rouen. And while Mayfield will forever be competitive under head coach Tommy Morrow, they aren't as skilled as their two crosstown rivals this year.

Las Cruces High faces a big Friday night game this week against Alamogordo. They can't overlook the Tigers with the Knights looming on their schedule again next Tuesday.

I would still keep my eye on the Bulldawgs. They have the talent to make a lot of noise in the District 3-5A race and in the state tournament. Don't let the choppy start in league play fool you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Conference realignment

Who was irritated that the Mountain West nearly added San Jose State and Utah State? I was.

Outside of market value, what do those schools bring to the table that NMSU doesn't? Nothing. And who cares about San Jose State in San Jose? No one.

Just wanted to write that.

Here is a list of schools that could be additions for the WAC as it looks to add pieces. Expect some movement in 30-to-60 days....

North Texas

Montana State
Cal Davis
Cal Poly
Sacramento State
Portland State
Sam Houston State
Central Arkansas

Cal-State Bakersfield
Utah Valley
Pan American
Houston Baptist

Friday, January 28, 2011

Davon House update

Davon House will not participate in this weekend's Senior Bowl as he recovers from an ankle injury.

House played with a sprained ankle during last season and re-aggravated it in the Aggies season finale against Hawaii.

Instead of going to the Senior Bowl, which is held on Saturday in Mobile, Ala., House will continue working back to 100 percent for the 2011 NFL Combine.

“I wish I ended up getting out there and proving people wrong,” he said. “I'll have to wait for the combine for that.”

The Senior Bowl is an annual game featuring the nation's top college football seniors and NFL Draft prospects.

The NFL combine will be held Feb. 23-March 1.

House, from Palmdale, Calif., was a four-year starter for the Aggies and an All-WAC player during the final two.

Last season saw House make 57 tackles, break up 10 passes and intercept two balls, returning one for a touchdown. He made 68 tackles, broke 13 passes, had three interceptions and returned a fumble 38-yards for a TD during his junior year.

Spoke to Jeff Farnham

For Aggie baseball fans out there, I spoke with Jeff Farnham on Thursday morning.

Farnham was a solid catcher for the Aggies from 2008-09 and was drafted by the Yankees organization following his senior season. His final season at NMSU he hit .371 with 13 home runs and 76 RBIs. He was also one of the team's top leaders.

He played last year in Short Season A-ball. The year before that he hit over .300.

The Yankees have talent at catcher throughout their organization. Farnham said he will report to their spring training complex in Tampa, Flor. on Feb. 20th.

Former Aggie pitchers Tyler Sturdevant and Jake Wilson are also in big league organizations, Sturdevant in Cleveland's minor league system and Wilson in the Chicago White Sox system.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Brandon Betancourt

Spoke to the Mayfield High senior last night at the MHS/LCHS boys basketball game.

He told me he had a great visit to NMSU this past weekend, so great in fact he's not going to visit UNM this weekend, and he will play football for the Aggies starting in 2011.

Betancourt, a running back, gave NMSU a verbal agreement this summer but was planning to visit to Lobos in late January. Not anymore.

He scored over 20 touchdowns his junior year at Mayfield and, despite being banged up for a good portion of his senior season, had a big playoff showing and helped the Trojans earn yet another state title.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

District basketball

District 3-5A hoops tips off tonight, with Gadsden facing Oñate and Las Cruces High taking on Alamogordo.

This district is going to come down to Oñate and Las Cruces High. And I like LCHS.

The Bulldawgs have size up front and a solid point guard in Joseph Garza. Watch an LCHS game — Garza rarely comes out if at all. Him being on the court and playing steady is the secret ingredient for the Bulldawgs.

The Knights have the state's best backcourt in Tim Jacobs and Terrel de Rouen. They play a low-risk, slowed-down style. Should they push the tempo against the Bulldawgs? I think so, as it would play to the Knights strength and run away from the Bulldawgs' height.

Either way, these are two good basketball teams and are top-five programs in the state this year. It will be a battle when they meet on the court. Their first meeting will be this Friday at LCHS.

And when you factor in Mayfield and Gadsden you have arguably the state's top district next to District 2-5A, made up of Eldorado, La Cueva, Manzano and Sandia. It should be fun the rest of the way.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Caleb Hull

Oñate High School raised eyebrows by selecting Caleb Hull to be it’s new head football coach on Thursday.

Hull comes in with no head coaching experience and wasn’t an offensive or defensive coordinator last year at Las Cruces High. He ran special teams, and also assisted with the lines.

I was surprised as anyone when his name was called. He beat out other coaches with longer resumes and who have ran programs. And, at the outset of the hiring process, he wasn’t on too many people’s radar.

I know the OHS athletics department has been taking some criticism for the move.

But here’s what I also know....

The Knights have to win, and they’re feeling more pressure than ever to do so.

They made the surprise move to hire Hull, but it’s also a bold move. And they believe he is the real deal.

And what’s wrong with hiring new blood? I’m all about giving the guy a shot and seeing what he can do.

But their will be scrutiny on the program if things don’t work out. Hull has a tough task in hopes of making Oñate a contender, along with crosstown rivals Mayfield and Las Cruces High, for the state championship.

He’ll have to attract local talent to the program on a consistent basis and have to beat MHS and LCHS. Wins are what will bring Oñate relevance in town.

The Knights didn’t go with a big name. They went with a coach who they think can win football games. Now lets see if he can do it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kyle Henderson at had an article on Mayfield running back Brandon Betancourt and his commitment to NMSU, along with UNM still showing interest.

This is something to keep an eye on as national signing day approaches. Betancourt is a local athlete who verbally committed to the Aggies, but UNM Has stayed on top of him.