Tag:Wendell McKines
Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:59 pm

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: January 7, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 6:36 pm

NMSU will miss redshirt McKines

Posted by Eric Angevine

Wendell McKinesThat Wendell McKines was considering playing at all this season is a testament to how much he loves basketball, and how much it kills him to miss games when his teammates need him.

McKines, a 6-foot-6 senior forward for New Mexico State, is one of those do-it-all types. He has been an important scorer and rebounder for the Aggies, and became a reliable distributor last season as well. This season, he hoped to lead his team to a WAC championship before the league begins to break apart in chunks and migrate to other western conferences.

The nightly double-double threat will be denied that chance due to a broken foot suffered in the offseason that has kept him out of the lineup all semester. The team announced this week that McKines would shut it down this season, take a redshirt, and come back in 2011-12. His head coach says that stepping back from leading the team on the floor won't come naturally to his star player.

"He has a great personality," NMSU's Marvin Menzies told me in a phone interview today. "He likes being on stage and he loves performing."

McKines does have a flair for theater, and he's not shy. "I have a standout personality," he told the Las Cruces Sun. "But a degree is something that can never be taken away from me. Getting my education was one of the standout parts for me redshirting."

That's a great reason to come back and do things right. So is a good, old-fashioned dose of rivalry.

"I owe myself, my family and the city of Las Cruces to play a full year," he said in the same interview. "UTEP and UNM, they have to see me. They haven't seen me since '08."

In the meantime, the relentlessly upbeat McKines will focus on improving his handle and outside shot, Menzies said. He's also been the equivalent of an additional assistant coach, helping this year's freshmen adjust to life in DI.

"He's been where a lot of them have been," Menzies said. "He understands. He knows the frustation you have when you come from being 'the man' at the high school level. Making the adjustment to being part of a team is not always easy for kids. He shares his experience, which is comforting to them because they see his talent and know they'd like to get there some day."

Menzies doesn't see coaching in McKines' future just yet, though. He says the 22-year-old with the winning smile dreams of owning a business someday. With his outsized personality, the California native seems like a natural for the entertainment industry. Before then, however, both McKines and his coach hope there will be plenty more basketball. The player plans to work on improving his game and come back stronger next season.

The Aggies have some intriguing young talent coming into the program. Canadian Christian Kabongo -- whose younger brother Myck is a Texas Longhorn commit -- is already the third leading scorer for the Aggies in his freshman year. Speedy Remi Barry, a French-born partial qualifier who was courted by St. John's and several Pac-10 teams before the NCAA ruled against him, should be available next season as well. If junior power forward Troy Gillenwater opts to stay put rather than pursue NBA dreams, the team gets even tougher.

Losing Wendell McKines this year will be tough for New Mexico State. Perhaps his top-notch attitude will rub off on some of his teammates this season and make the whole experience worthwhile.

Photo: AP
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com