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Pete's Ponderings-February 16
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/18/2009

Ole Pete has had his eye on a bunch of frisky colts known as the New Mexico State men’s basketball team for nearly four months now. These young’uns are making strides towards becoming a right solid team as we head to the WAC tournament. I’m not saying they have become an unbeatable juggernaught but I do see where they have matured in some areas and I will give you the benefit of these old sodbusters eyes for you to ponder.

 

I know the last couple of home games have been squeakers but they did end up in the win column. Earlier in the season, the games at North Texas and Long Beach State were close too, but the Aggies couldn’t close them out. If we go back to the first game versus the Nevada Wolf Pack, NM State had the Pack on the run but let them slip away, not so in Reno. Pete thinks small steps can be considered progress and they can add up to a good season.

 

Look at the improvement of Las Cruces native Gordo Castillo. He has come out of his shell in many ways. Defensively, his effort has been strong all year. There seemed to be a little hesitation in looking for the shot through the first two months of the year, but since mid-January, Castillo has shown the confidence to take a make a clutch basket, like the backbreaker in overtime last week versus Fresno State. Head coach Marvin Menzies also is using Castillo at the end of the game for his good decisions and reliable performance.

 

Speaking of maturity, you have to look at Jahmar Young in this area as well. He looked like a steed that couldn’t be broken his first year, now just 12 months later he is steady on the court, and making a claim for player of the year just as a sophomore.

 

The two Clydesdales that Menzies has in the middle are snapping to as well. Hamidu Rahman and Chris Gabriel were thrown in the deep end of the creek in November, but are holding their head above water and making waves just in the first year on the court of a Division I program.

 

Something else that is a good sign to my way of thinking is the fact that the Aggies have been able to play the other team’s game and win. NM State would rather force turnovers and play at a fast tempo and use a lot of razzle-dazzle but they have grown as a half-court offense and the team is learning to grind it out as well.

 

Finally, look at Wendell McKines. He is Mr. Double-Double. A little homesickness was cured and he is leading the league in rebounding, and his perimeter shooting is now to be feared. Sometimes progress up a steep grade comes slowly. The Aggies are marking that rocky trail in sure but steady strides.



‹ New Mexico State Aggie Athletics


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