Menzies Announces Roster Changes

Written By: NMSU Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State men’s basketball head coach Marvin Menzies has announced the addition of Hernst Laroche and Tyrone Watson to the Aggie roster, Sunday, Aug. 31. Sophomore forward Wendell McKines has returned to the team while sophomore forward Herb Pope is not returning to the Aggies this season.

"A decision has been made that Herb Pope will not play for the Aggies this upcoming season," Menzies said. "It is unfortunate things did not work out for Herb at NMSU, however, moving forward is best for all parties involved."

"We are building a program that will have chemistry and success, and in order to do that you must have development and continuity," Menzies said. "We wish him well in the future both on and off the court. Moving forward, I am very excited about our young team’s potential for this season and in the years to come."

Last season, Pope missed the first 19 games of the year because he was initially ruled an NCAA non-qualifier but he made 16 appearances after winning his waiver appeal. Pope scored 11.1 points and grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game.

McKines appeared in all 35 games and made 12 starts for the Aggies as a freshman. He averaged 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. McKines was third in the WAC in offensive rebounds per contest (2.69) and he was the only freshman ranked in the top 10.

"Wendell’s decision to return was a big plus for us, he is a superior athlete and a future ESPN highlight on any given night," Menzies said. "He was able to return after spending the summer back home and sorting things out. His family is supportive of his decision."

Laroche is a 6-1 point guard from Montreal, Quebec, and Watson is a 6-5 wing from Hamilton, Ontario. Laroche has signed a grant-in-aid letter and is eligible to play this year while Watson is redshirting this season.

Laroche (pronounced ERN-st La-ROW-sh) was a first team College AAA selection at Vanier College, a Canadian prep school, in 2007-08 after averaging 13.5 points per game and leading the league in assists (5.5) and steals (3.2) per game.

In his first season at Vanier, Laroche was named the conference rookie of the year following the 2006-07 season. He was also a starter on the Brookwood Elite AAU team in the summer of 2007 and 2008. In addition, Laroche was one of the top participants at the Nike Canada Top 20 Camp in the summer of 2007.

In 2005-06, he guided Page-Concordia to the Montreal Basketball League and Provincial Championships. Laroche was named the league’s most valuable player in the juvenile division (17 and under). He then was the starting point guard for the Quebec Provincial team in the summer of 2006.

Watson arrived in Las Cruces after playing on the Canadian Junior National Team in the summer of 2008. He guided his team to the bronze medal at the Nike Global Challenge and the squad also competed at the FIBA World Junior Championship Tournament.

At Hamilton Cathedral High School, Watson led the team to two consecutive Greater Hamilton Athletic Conference titles. As a senior, he directed Hamilton Cathedral to a 38-6 record with a team-high 15 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Watson was also a two-time first team league all-star.

The Aggies look to defend their first WAC regular season title and open the 2008-09 season at home against UC Riverside, Nov. 15.