Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Key players for Aggie basketball going into 2012-13

(Tyrone Watson was a smart, steady and tough player for the Aggies last year. An improved jump shot could improve his value as a go-to player in 2012-13/AP photo)

Wrote a story the other day about New Mexico State guard Daniel Mullings. To read all about it, click here.

Daniel is a key player on this year’s men’s basketball team, along with a handful of other 2012-13 Aggies. This is a team with a number of question marks on its roster, although not necessarily in a negative way. Here’s how I see it:

No one on this year’s team can come back as essentially the same player they were a season ago. In Daniel’s case, it’s an improved offensive game on the perimeter — jump shooting, free-throw shooting, ball handling. Athletically, on a scale of one to 10, Mullings checked in at a 10 last season. He was a difference maker defensively and was a tremendous player in the open court. If he gets his perimeter game down in the halfcourt offense, the sophomore has the potential to be a very special player at NMSU.

Two seniors also need to see improvements in certain aspects of their game.

I like what Tyrone Waton brings to the basketball team — a smart and tough player, a leader. He’s a good decision maker and under-rated passer. A steady and consistent contributor. Would it be nice if his jump shot was more effective this season? Absolutely. When defenders lay off him on the offensive end of the floor — which we saw often last year — he has to make them pay by knocking it down. This would also increase his value as a go-to player on the team.

Another, Bandja Sy, has tremendous physical ability and was an X-factor last year for the Aggies: when he was hitting the 3-point shot NMSU became a much tougher club to defend and he was a good defender during the season. Simply put, a more competitive Sy would mean a potentially dominant player. We hearken back to last year’s 83-78 overtime win at Fresno State when Sy scored 22 second-half points and pulled down five rebounds and think about the possibilities that could await him. Fair or unfair, if Sy took the court like Watson or last year’s senior Wendell McKines, we see a potential force.

No, we have not given up on Remi Barry. And, yes, we think Tshilidzi Nephawe (with his soft pair of hands and adequate free-throw shooting) could be an X-factor on the team. With a front-court of Nephawe and 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar, along with 6-foot-11 B.J. West and Renaldo Dixon, the Aggies have startling size and potential skill to work with here. And we understand the shoes that must be filled at NMSU with the loss of McKines and last year’s steady point guard Hernst Laroche.

Yes, much is unknown about this year’s Aggie team. But the start of their season is also something to look forward to as we enter late fall and then winter.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

1 comment:

J.D. Benavidez said...

Great write up. I hope these guys can develop this year. That would be great for the team and for their chances to play overseas. I see Laroche and McKines are doing pretty well.