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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Menzies Interview :: 01/12/11 | bleedCrimson.net :: Your Source for NMSU Aggies Sports News

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Menzies Interview :: 01/12/11

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bleedCrimson.net: This week you host Hawai'i and San Jose State, two teams that come in desperate for a win.
Marvin Menzies: Yeah that's what they are. You've got teams that are capable of winning games as is evident from their non-conference wins but unfortunately for us have struggled in conference so far so their hunger level should be pretty high so we've got to match their intensity and be able to try to protect our home floor.

bc.net: Hawai'i has had a lot of injury issues much like the Aggies but they come into this game about as healthy as they've been maybe since the start of the season and have big man Bill Amis back in the lineup.
MM: They've had to make adjustments for a variety of reasons and as a result it's a little difficult to scout exactly what you're going to see at the beginning of the game but eventually your system has to kick in and you've got to do a good job of making adjustments based on what the warriors are going to throw at us. I think it can be one of those things that until you see it on the floor you're not going to know 100 percent what you're going to have to deal with. You will in the way of what they're going to do offensively and defensively but in the way of personnel it'll be a little bit of a gray area until gameday.

bc.net: San Jose State comes in on Saturday and they have a great scorer in Adrian Oliver but fellow guard Justin Graham has also played very well this season.
MM: Both Adrian and Justin Graham are very solid players and returning experienced kids that are capable of winning the game by themselves if it's close at the end of the game. We've got to try to do what we can to have a cushion if possible and we can't leave it up to Adrian to make a big shot or Justin to make a big play. They're both excellent players that we're very familiar with and they're familiar with ours. It's just going to be a matter of having the kids decide it on the floor.

bc.net: Your team played very well against Fresno State, maybe one of the best overall performances of the season defensively.
MM: Well, you catch a team on their fourth game in 11 days and they don't have their legs 100 percent and their main stud gets in foul trouble, it's probably a little misleading but I was proud of what we accomplished even with those things being said. We've really started to put ourselves in a position where our kids are starting to get more and more comfortable with the things we're doing defensively and offensively as well in conference. We've been scoring at a higher clip and getting more comfortable with the offense now that we've got Hamidu and Troy and Gordo back and all three of those guys healthy and Wendell practicing. There's a lot to be said for the way you prepare for a game in terms of how well you'll play in the game. That's an area where Wendell has been an attribute for us. We're looking forward to continued growth throughout conference.

bc.net: The first weekend of conference play, the games Wednesday through Monday, your team was the only one to pick up a road win, then in the second weekend of play, Thursday and Saturday's games, your team was the only home team to win. It's been a crazy start to the WAC season.
MM: Yeah it is and the only way that works to our advantage is if we protect our home court this weekend and then go out and get a win or two on the road next time. Otherwise it all comes out in the wash if you don't protect your home floor and that's what we've got to do.

bc.net: Chili Nephawe has shown tremendous improvement from the beginning of the year until now and there seems to be a pretty big difference in his level of play and his basketball IQ.
MM: Chili is just a true student on and off the floor. He does a good job in the classroom and does a good job on the floor and he's trying to broaden his knowledge base and as a result he's growing exponentially in terms of production. So he's just one of those type of kids that comes along every once in a while that's a coach's dream. You love to coach him, he's got a great disposition and he's a true student of the game.

bc.net: Chili has only been playing for a few years, when you were out recruiting him, what did you see in his game that maybe other people didn't see?
MM: His physical stature and athletic base that he brings to the table are no brainers for any coach but it was the x-factor, the other things. His character, his desire to grow and get better in the game of basketball. I think those things were the most intriguing about his upside that made it a possibility that he could be an upper echelon player with those other components added in.

bc.net: Is that a similar trait that you're looking for with a lot of these guys you're recruiting overseas and guys that you've been able to find like Bandja Sy?
MM: It varies. You always want to get great character kids that are solid and that are going to be loved in the community. Those are not always easy to find but it's definitely something that you look for.

bc.net: We mentioned Bandja Sy, his development from the beginning of the season to now has also been pretty marked.
MM: He is a kid who was here for a year or two years in high school and had an opportunity to get acclimated to the US but the regiment that we have and the requirements and accountability that we have at the college level, he's never gone through. From his first year to now it's been quite an adjustment and he's just now starting to get comfortable and it's starting to show on the court because if you're comfortable off the court, you're going to be comfortable on the court.