Sunday, March 25, 2012
Going into offseason, some keys for the Aggies
I received some questions on my most recent Aggie basketball blog post concerning next year's team — starting lineup, needs, etc.
Here are some immediate keys that come to mind following this season and going into next season:
Replacing the departed: It's not easy replacing 20 points and 10 rebounds per game — along with the sheer motivational force and leadership — that the Aggies will need to fill with the departure of senior forward Wendell McKines. Nor will it be easy to replace the steadiness, and 10 to 15 points per game, provided by point guard Hernst Laroche. That, and they were the team's most consistent outside shooters. Every night, fans and followers of the program knew what they were getting from these two seniors. Replacing such production will not be an easy task, and might have to come collectively as opposed to one or two players filling the void.
Bandja Sy: From a pure skill and physical standpoint, Sy (pictured above) could very well be the top Aggie. For me, it's a mental game for the soon-to-be senior — competitiveness and consistency. Sy will never be a McKines in terms of mentality when he takes the court. But if he can develop a chip on his shoulder and put firm goals in front of him, Sy could be “the guy” on the Aggies next year. Yes, he has the physical tools to do so. The question is, will he realize those tools?
Tyrone Watson: For once lets accurately break down what Watson is on the basketball floor. A smart and unique player, Watson impacts the game in ways that don't necessarily show up in the box score — a player who can penetrate a zone defense, and an underrated passer from the small forward position. He brings his lunch pale every night, and was a good defender last year for the Aggies. No, he did not play well in the team's NCAA Tournament loss — seven turnovers against Indiana tell the story. And, yes, something has to give on his jump shot. When opponents are sagging off him eight to 10 feet on the perimeter, that tells part of the story on how they view Watson as a player. As a senior — like Sy — Watson has to pick his game up going into next year. And it starts by developing confidence and consistency on his jump shot.
Tshilidzi Nephawe: This 6-foot-10 center has the potential to be the Aggies surprise player next year. He played his best this season in the Aggies final three games of the year and his skills are apparent — a physical specimen with nice hands and a soft touch, Nephawe shot 74 percent from the free-throw line last season. He can also step out and hit the occasional jump shot. One key? Staying out of foul trouble and staying on the court. If Nephawe can do that, a world of potential awaits for a player that I anticipate should be the team's starting center in 2012-13.
K.C. Ross-Miller: The Aggies haven't had to worry about the point guard position the past handful of years because of Laroche's presence. Ross-Miller is one recruit we've heard a lot about. He'll have big shoes to fill at a critical spot.
Some footnotes: Can 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar play?….What will Renaldo Dixon's role be?….Will the Aggies have more consistent outside shooting?….Will Eric Weary emerge as a shooter?….Will Remi Barry realize his potential?….Will Daniel Mullings develop a jump shot? Oh, just please say yes….