Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The “new” Pan American Center and Aggie hoops in general

The Pan American Center is shrinking!

NMSU recently announced the decision to reduce seating capacity for men’s basketball games at the Pan Am — formally seating around 13,000 fans, it will now seat just under 9,000. Essentially, the four “corners” in the upper deck will be blocked off.

First off, I can understand the reasoning behind it. The Aggies aren’t selling those seats — last year the team didn’t even average 4,000 fans — and it just doesn’t look good. I love the Pan Am, and it’s sad when its on TV and the entire east side seating is empty. The reality is that the seats that are blocked off, no one was sitting in them anyway. This is a move designed to condense the crowd and create supply and demand for the seats that are for sale.

But I will also say this: there have been times when Aggie basketball has drawn very well and the product should be THE ticket in town. It should be the buzz sport in town. I think there are a lot of reasons for fans not showing up to the Pan American Center — the economy, ticket prices, a new day and age for the young sports fan and a general disconnect between the fans and the program are a few. I also believe it can be cyclical and if fans can get into the program, they will support the team. AND that place can rock.

With all that being said, if I had to prognosticate I’d say the team isn’t going to average more than 9,000 fans per game this year. And if they did I think that’s a problem the Aggies would be willing to have.


As for the team, lets take a look at the squad with practice opening up later this week.

First off, I think the team has a good talent level.

The Aggies have put a lot on Wendell McKines, their senior forward who missed all of last season with a broken foot — he is their heart and soul, is extremely athletic, plays extremely hard and has charisma. Some players play better in the spotlight and with greater responsibility on their shoulders, and I think McKines is the type that can handle it. And I will say this: I would be hard pressed to find a better athlete to ever play in an Aggie uniform. Maybe there have been over the years, it's just hard for me to see it.

Outside of him, the team has bodies in the front court — Hamidu Rahman and Chili Nephawe are big while newcomer Sim Bhular is 7-foot-4!!! Still not sure if Bhular will play this year....Is the team going to get improved play out of Rahman this year? He was a non-factor in 2010 — injuries hurt here. I think Rahman can average a double-double but at this point he’s a role player.

I thought B.J. West and Renaldo Dixon showed flashes last year and wouldn’t mind seeing more playing time for them. Tyrone Watson has a role — a hustler who makes a positive impact on the game.

At this point the backcourt is thin.

Senior point guard Hernst Laroche is a steady player and will run the team. He isn’t flashy and he won't take your breath away, but he won’t turn the ball over either.

The Aggies do need a shooter/scoring punch next to Laroche and have some new players — Remi Berry, Eric Weary, Terrel de Rouen — who might be able to supply some help. Christian Kabongo, who brought intensity and fight to the court, returns at shooting guard.

I do want to say this: the Aggies have been a spotty defensive team the last few years and that needs to improve. They have had the athletes to be a better defensive and rebounding team and I think they HAVE to improve in this area. You know, teams win on the road with defense and rebounding. No reason the Aggies shouldn’t be better here. If a player can’t commit to playing on that end of the floor, just cut his playing time. That'll make him better, or you don't need him anyway. It's worked in basketball before….

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

I think it's a disgusting move from the Ath. Dept. to mask the Menzies pathetic attendance level!

Everyone knows that the Pan Am attendance has been shrinking since Reggie Theus left.
People just don't believe Menzies is a good coach or getting it done and it reflects on the attendance.

Boston gave Menzies an UNDESERVING contract this summer and even more fans are jumping off the boat and it would have really been noticeable on tv.

While the Pit is expanding, the Pan Am is shrinking!
Thank you Marvin Menzo for making our once proud BB program a laughing stalk.

McKinnes is a BB beast!

Anonymous said...

Was this new seating plan the brain child of the great Steve Macy by any chance ?

Oh BTW Teddy stick to writing about football cuz your knowledge of volleyball is zilch.Leave that one to Groves he actually knows something about the game.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Marvin!
Attendance under your watch is so bad, the Pan Am will shrink for the 1st time ever, due to the lack of bodies!! Pretty sad.

Maybe if you can actually beat UNM or Utep (3-13), people just might show up.
However, I've seen you coach and I can understand why people just don't to the games.

Anonymous said...

If NMSU really wants to hide how poorly games are attended, how about we "block off the top 7,000 seats? That would take us about half way down the lower bowl. Then, set the cameras to only show the first 3 or 4 rows. That way, no one, with the exception of those of us who attend the games, would know how dismal the attendance really is. Everyone watching on TV will mistake us for Cameron stadium at Duke, only crimson and not blue, of course.

NMSU has once again set the standard low...

Aggie007 said...

Anon 7:01,
It probably is the brain child of the great, effervescent Steve Macy. What a complete slouch. This guy comes in, "earning" $120K a year and acts like he is the sh*t and he's going to push NMSU Athletics' events to new heights, but he's done exactly the opposite. His mindset is not right for Las Cruces. He reminds me of King Farquaad from Shrek. Not only does he have a height disadvantage [and hair-challenged], he is the boss that nobody would want. The Las Cruces market needs somebody who knows the market and can make it a fun, exciting atmosphere; not one who alienates the majority of the fan base. Once Macy came in, that went out the window.
To agree with the first poster, it is unfortunately true that while UNM's the Pit is expanding, the Pan Am is shrinking. Please listen Dr. Boston; Macy is not the right guy!

Anonymous said...

The Aggies have never in their history averaged enough fans to fill the reduced capacity at the Pan Am. This move has nothing to do with Menzies. Pull your heads out and start supporting the team.

Anonymous said...

It seems like the seating capacity should be set to accomodate the largest attendance, not the average attendence. Accomodation for average attendance would by definition would force the average attendence to shrink---just simple math. Why are we talking about average attendance anyway. We should be talking about largest attendance and increasing attendance---not trying to fool people watching on TV.

Anonymous said...

BTW, with beans being a staple food in this area of the country, it is not a bad idea for the crowd to be spread out a bit.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, the decline started with Henson. Theus days were just a spike in a decline.

Anonymous said...

A few comments above, the poster states that the Aggies in their history have never averaged enough fans to fill the reduced seating at the Pan Am.

Maybe they meant the old seating capacity of the Pan Am. In 89-90 and 90-91, the Aggies averaged right around 10,500, actually setting the record in 91'. I went to school during this time and remember the games when they played poor opponents still drawing 8,000 people.

If this team could win consistently, the attendance would improve drastically, even if you don't like Menzies. I'm hopeful that they brought in some fast guards because that is what this team is sorely missing.