My initial thought following New Mexico State’s men’s basketball scrimmage against Western New Mexico (a 98-49 NMSU win)? Encouraged.
What I really want to see from NMSU in 2012: Once again, a commitment to the defensive end of the floor and rebounding the basketball. This is how the Aggies played last year and, while they weren’t necessarily the prettiest basketball team in the country, getting wins and going to the NCAA Tournament was beautiful. This is a formula that can beat any team on any night and a gameplan one can pack up and take on the road.
They were just a much bigger and physical team than WNMU and the stats were expected, and all we needed to see: NMSU shot 23 free throws, WNMU three; NMSU grabbed 46 rebounds, WNMU 26; NMSU turned the ball over 16 times, WNMU 22; NMSU shot just over 58 percent, WNMU just over 38. In essence, a team the Aggies should have pounded, they did. Nothing wrong with that and the final score took care of itself.
What stood out: The Aggies have bodies and depth. I thought, for being 7-foot-5, Sim Bhullar moved well. Still don’t know how teams would match up with the Aggies if they elected to put Bhullar and Tshilidzi Nephawe on the floor simultaneously. Renaldo Dixon has looked good and B.J. West was the 11th or 12th man off the bench Tuesday. Ditto for Remi Barry. You could do worse than this rotation.
I thought Kevin Aronis gave them something they didn’t have last year — a shooter who goes up with confidence. He hit consecutive 3-pointers in the first half and looked good doing it. My surprise of the evening: Guard Eric Weary, who shot the ball well (three-of-five from the floor, one-of-three from 3-point range), made some nice passes and made some plays defensively. He came in late and made an impact in my mind.
Offensively, I thought the Aggies moved the ball better than they have in recent memory.
My one question mark leaving the gym? Point guard. K.C. Ross-Miller looked OK as the team’s starter, but it was against Western. Daniel Mullings did not look comfortable as the primary backup point guard. Terrel de Rouen checked in late and I thought he brought some good play to the court: He’s a tough kid who won’t back down to anybody; takes on the challenge defensively and wants the best player on that end of the floor; and is also a wildcard who came down court at one point and immediately pulled up for a jump shot (can't imagine this play is what the coaching staff typically wants from the point guard). This position will be one to watch when NMSU opens its season this Sunday at Oregon State.
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