Pete's Ponderings-July 28
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  07/28/2008

Most of my faithful readers know ole Pete likes to reflect upon our Aggie heritage, both sporting and otherwise to get a perspective on what it is we have built and are building upon here in the Mesilla Valley.


With that in mind, I refer you to ESPN’s website and its analysis of the best Division I men’s basketball programs in the modern era. That being since the NCAA went to a 64-team tournament back in 1985. The Aggies are No. 61 by ESPN’s calculations, better than anyone else currently in the WAC and better than New Mexico and UTEP. Our namesakes, Utah State’s Aggies are a close second in the WAC schools, but clear and away NMSU has shown a solid national rep, when it comes to top-level hoops.


It makes this old ranch hand chuckle a little when I see the conference ratings and see Nevada, a school that acts like it invented the sport listed at No. 75, fourth best in our league. This shows you that a Johnny-come-lately have to earn its spurs to be considered among the nation’s elite. Of course, the tapestry of success just gets richer if you probe beyond the 1985 point of demarcation.


Presley Askew’s teams in the 1960s, Lou Henson’s run of NCAA berths in the 1970s and don’t forget Ken Hayes’ NCAA trip from 1979. That was a solid team that won the All-College Tournament, with a victory over Neil McCarthy’s Weber State Wildcats in the championship game. McCarthy saw the light and came south to establish the winning tradition that helped put the Aggies into this ESPN ranking.


Former Albuquerque Journal reporter Andy Katz was one of the originators of the poll and his reasons can be found on the ESPN website. It’s the sorta thing that makes Pete pop his buttons, the fact that others know what we have felt since the 1960s, from Askew on through Marvin Menzies. From the old men’s gym to the remodeled Pan Am Center, Aggie hoops are as good as any program nationwide.


Even though most Aggie fans know that hoops has been a consistent winner, that reputation takes on new meaning when you see how we are viewed by those who see the entire picture of college sports. The point Pete is trying to make is that more fans need to feel the pride of what we have here in Aggieland. In all of NMSU’s sports there are national figures as players, coaches or administrators. Don’t lose the faith Aggie fans. Even though you may still be learning about our past, Pete thinks it is a mirror image of what will be the Aggies future.

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