Tag:New Mexico State
Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:59 pm
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Wendell McKines healthy and ready to lead NMSU

By Jeff Borzello

If Wendell McKines can average half of what he put up in the San Francisco Pro-Am this summer, New Mexico State has a chance to compete with Utah State in the WAC.

McKines, who missed last season with a broken foot, averaged 34.4 points and 15.1 rebounds during the legendary summer league and won MVP honors. He also scored 53 points in the championship game. While a summer league is certainly not Division-I college basketball, those numbers are a positive sign for McKines.

Heading into last season, McKines was a preseason all-WAC selection who had averaged 11.5 points and 9.9 rebounds the two previous years. The 6-foot-6 forward was expected to combine with Troy Gillenwater up front for the Aggies to form one of the fiercest forward tandems in the west.

Instead, he suffered a broken foot during a preseason practice in October and ended up missing the entire season after officially taking a redshirt year in January. By all accounts, McKines is back and ready to lead the Aggies.

“This summer all I wanted to do was work hard,” he told the Oakland Tribune. “This was an opportunity for me to challenge myself, and I did. Life throws things at you. I just had to bounce back.”

If McKines is indeed healthy and back to the form that helped him post 25 double-doubles in a two-year span, New Mexico State could be poised to make a run at the top of the WAC standings.

Head coach Marvin Menzies returns eight players who were in the rotation last year, not including McKines. Hernst Laroche is a solid point guard, while Christian Kabongo scores at the rim effectively. Tyrone Watson and Hamidu Rahman will welcome the return of McKines in the frontcourt.

Two X-factors heading into the fall are K.C. Ross-Miller and Remi Barry. The status of Ross-Miller, who originally committed to Kentucky in 2007, is up in the air. The NCAA clearinghouse denied him admission at LSU, so he attempted to go to Florida International. He surfaced at New Orleans in January, but then transferred to New Mexico State in the spring. If eligible, Ross-Miller is a very good guard who can really fill it up. Barry is a France native who picked up plenty of high-major interest in the spring of his high school season. As a non-qualifier, he had to sit out last season but should be ready to suit up this fall. He has a high ceiling and would make an immediate impact up front.

Combine all that with a seemingly healthy and motivated McKines, and the WAC might not be a walk in the park for Utah State anymore.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: March 8, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Conference tourney preview: the WAC

It’s sad to see the WAC in this condition. A league that once garnered four bids in 1998 has been lucky to get two on a consistent basis in the new millennium. Even the teams that will soldier through this year’s tourney will be greatly diminished by Tai Wesley gets it done for Utah Statenext season, as Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada prepare to go to the MWC, and Hawaii decamps for the much smaller Big West. This year, that leaves Utah State (28-3, 15-1) as the far and away best team in the conference, yet still a bubble team or worse if they fail to take the league auto bid.

The challengers are Boise State (19-11, 10-6), which forged a respectable season under new head coach and former Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice, and possibly Idaho (18-12, 9-7) or New Mexico State (15-16, 9-7), though neither of those last two seems particularly likely.

As the top seeds, Utah State and Boise State get double byes, skipping the first two rounds of play. Idaho and NMSU get a one-day reprieve and the four lower seeds battle in Las Vegas on March 9 for the right to face their more rested counterparts later down the road. The league's ninth member, Louisiana Tech, did not receive a berth in the postseason tournament.

As the WAC attempts to stave off complete collapse by inviting new low-RPI members, this tournament will look very different next season. Enjoy the current configuration while you can, if you can.

WAC bracket page


****

Title game: 7:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 12 (ESPN2)

 

BEST PLAYERS  

  1. Tai Wesley (pictured), Utah State
  2. La’Shard Anderson, Boise State
  3. Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State
  4. Adrian Oliver, San Jose State

 

Conference RPI: 13

KenPom.com rating: 10

Sagarin rating: 13

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Utah State

 

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance:

Utah State: 2010 (lost to Texas A&M)

Boise State: 2008 (lost to Louisville)

Idaho: 1990* (lost to Louisville)

New Mexico State: 2010 (lost to Michigan State)

Hawaii: 2002 (lost to Xavier)

Nevada: 2007 (beat Creighton, lost to Memphis)

Fresno State: 2001 (beat Cal, lost to Michigan State)

San Jose State: 1996** (lost to Kentucky)

*member of Big Sky

**member of Big West


Posted by Eric Angevine

Photo: US Presswire

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