The Achilles heel for the Aggie men’s basketball team to this point of the 2012 season? Thus far, it’s been its halfcourt offense.
There are couple reasons for such struggles: For one, the team’s point-guard position remains a work-in-progress. KC Ross-Miller right now is their best option at that spot, and the Aggies will likely remain committed to him and hope he comes around by conference play. At the moment, NMSU’s 17-turnovers-per game rank third-worst in the WAC (UT-Arlington sits at 19.3 and Seattle 22).
Another issue is the Aggies don’t necessarily have a go-to player in their halfcourt offense. The last handful of years, point guard Hernst Laroche was a steady, consistent hand and power forward Wendell McKines could impose his will on the game. Would the Aggies have lost a 22-point lead against Niagara with Laroche and McKines on the floor? A pure hypothetical, obviously, but one where the answer seemingly comes back as no.
Not that the Aggies don’t have players to potentially fill this void. Tyrone Watson can make a play with the ball in his hands, yet is versatile, not a one-trick scorer. Daniel Mullings is athletically gifted, but still at his best in the open floor. Centers Sim Bhullar and Tshilidzi Nephawe are big, strong and imposing, yet are still developing moves in the low post.
The Aggies remain a team at its best on the break — last year they needed their defense to create their offense, pushing transitional opportunities that way — yet can stall in the halfcourt. With that, the season’s still very much in front of them.
While the pre-conference season appears to be rough, Marvin Menzies’ teams, for the most part, have gotten better as the season progresses. The WAC does not appear particularly strong, meaning the Aggies should be right there in the standings.
Wednesday night’s game at UTEP? It’s a winnable one. With that, pre-conference games such as Southern Miss, UNM, South Alabama and Missouri State don’t figure to be easy, simply because the Aggies are still very much finding themselves.
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