2009-2010 bleedCrimson.net Aggie Men's Basketball Preview :: Centers

The early season absence of the Aggies' primary front courters, the play at center becomes of increasing importance for the Aggies. The Aggies entered last season with two freshmen centers, Hamidu Rahman and Chris Gabriel, who had hopes of replacing two year starters Martin Iti and Hatila Passos. One of the freshmen established himself as the Aggies' future center and as a result the other, Chris Gabriel, transferred out of the program.

Hamidu RahmanHamidu Rahman played in all 32 of the Aggies' games last season, starting 27 of them. The Aggies got fairly steady production from the big man all season long. He averaged 6.8 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game, second on the team only trailing Wendell McKines. With the transfer of Chris Gabriel and the absence of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater until at least December 13, Rahman will be heavily relied upon to hold down the fort in the post. "Hamidu is going to be our anchor in our post play, especially at the beginning of the year with his backups being inexperienced. He knows that and has worked on his body and done a fantastic job of putting himself in a position to be the guy we go on the block," said Coach Menzies.

Offensively, Rahman hit 53 percent of his field goals in his freshman season converting most of his baskets from close range. Rahman was a bit enigmatic at the free throw line. While he converted just 55 percent of his free throws on the season he showed that he was capable of being strong at the line. He hit nine of 10 free throws against rival UTEP in a hostile environment at the Don Haskins Center and then hit six of seven free throws in a loss to in-state rival New Mexico.

As a freshman Rahman did a good job of playing defense without committing fouls. He fouled out just once and averaged just 2.4 fouls per game, relatively low for a shot blocking center. As a shot blocker he averaged 1.375 blocks per game a number that will likely improve this season.

Rahman will need to become a bigger force on the boards in his sophomore season. He failed to grab more than eight rebounds in any game in his freshman season. "He's going to be the man in the middle with the idea of being a defensive presence first and rebounding second and being able to score around the block, any points he can contribute will be an extra benefit," said Coach Menzies. "He's very capable of doing that. We're hoping that those three areas are things that he's going to be able to contribute."

Backing up Rahman will be the aforementioned B.J. West and freshman seven foot center Abdoulaye N'doye. N'doye is the third recruit from Senegal on the Aggies' roster and bring a raw, unpolished game to the desert southwest. Coach Menzies is hopeful that N'doye will be able to play some minutes in relief early. "He's a long, relatively athletic big man who runs the floor well for his size. He's got some pretty good defensive instincts already but his best basketball is ahead of him," said Menzies. "He's got a lot of catching up to do. He started playing the game late but could be before he leaves the university, one of the better big men to come out of here. He's very raw at this stage but I'm very excited about his passion for his academics and getting better on and off the court. I think he's going to end up being a crowd favorite when it's all said and done."