Wendell McKines To Redshirt 2010-2011 Season

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State men’s basketball senior forward Wendell McKines has decided to redshirt the 2010-11 season, head coach Marvin Menzies announced. McKines has been sidelined this year due to a broken foot he sustained in mid-October.
“After going back and forth on this tough decision, we came to the conclusion that for all parties involved the best thing for Wendell was to return for his senior season next year,” Menzies said. “The deciding factors for Wendell were his desire to complete his degree and to have a full season under his belt in his final season.”
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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 01/03/11

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the UTEP game?
Darin Spence: I went through quite a few emotions through that game. I saw the good in our team and I saw the bad in our team within that 40 minutes of game time. First half and even parts of the second half we executed so well on both sides of the ball and then we just did the opposite. I really believe, and this is no excuse by any means, this murderer's row, that gauntlet we went through those five games, we hit halfway through that second half the other day and we just emotionally we just fatigued, we just drained. That's not an out, that just what it is. I put the schedule together and hopefully it helps us down the road but I know it took a lot out of us. Because we played every game at a high competitive level, that's something that our kids have got to learn to play at that level and not have such roller coaster rides in games. Tough road trip, tough home games. I just think that it caught up to us and it took its toll on us.

bc.net: One of the bright spots from the game against UTEP was that your team ended up with 19 offense rebounds.
DS: That's great. It's something that this team is capable of, going after rebounds. The flip to that is we have to continue to get better on our defensive rebounding.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 01/03/11

The Aggie women's basketball team closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a disappointing loss to UTEP on Sunday afternoon. The Aggies started off decently, holding an early 8-5 advantage, but then fell behind 16-8. From there they outscored the Miners 22-7 to take a 30-23 lead into the halftime break and out of the start of the second half they were up 34-25 but then the Miners went on a 17-3 run and went ahead 42-37 and the Aggies just couldn't overcome that deficit eventually losing by seven 74-67.

The Aggies enter WAC play with a 6-8 record and start on the road at Hawai'i on Thursday and at San Jose State on Saturday. Unlike on the men's side, the WAC women have actually had a pretty good non-conference season. The WAC is the 14th rated RPI league in the country and has the 20th ranked strength of schedule (out of 32 conferences). Last season the league finished 12th in the RPI with the 12th highest SOS but prior to that, the league has been dreadful ranking 24th in the RPI in 2008-2009, 20th in 2007-2008, 17th in 2006-2007 and 15th in 2005-2006, the first season of the current WAC.

The league has improved this season with everyone except for San Jose State hovering around the .500 mark or better. The league has a combined of 61-57 but if you take away SJSU's 0-13 record, the WAC is a very respectable 61-44 (.581). That's the best record the WAC has had entering conference play in quite a while. Nevada has the best record entering conference play at 11-2 with wins over Illinois State (9-3), NC State (8-6), BYU (8-6) and Arizona (11-2). Boise State at 9-5 has a solid win over Idaho State (9-4), Southern Utah (9-5, 3-1 in the Summit League), Fresno State is 8-5 with wins over UC-Irvine (9-4), Pepperdine (9-5) and TCU (8-6). Louisiana Tech, also 8-5, has a win over a pair of SEC teams, Mississippi State (8-4) and Georgia (11-3). Idaho is 7-5 in conference play with a win over UC-Santa Barbara (7-6) and Portland (9-6). Hawai'i at 6-7 has played a tough schedule and has come away with wins over Ole Miss (8-5) and Oregon State (7-6). Utah State is 6-7 with a win over in-state rival Southern Utah (9-5, 3-1 in the Summit League). Outside of that win, they don't have a win over a team with a winning record.

The Aggies' 6-8 record includes wins over UTEP (8-4) and Northern Iowa (8-5). Unfortunately what looked like a good win at the time over North Dakota hasn't held up as well with UND struggling to a 2-10 record. Their eight losses have come against teams with a combined record of 56-33 with the worst record among the teams that beat them at 6-6 (New Mexico). This is certainly a case of the Aggies being a better team than their record indicates.

The Aggies certainly have some concerns heading into conference play. Their offensive lulls are a big concern. Four, five, six and seven minute stretches where they don't score any points quickly turn leads into deficits and while the Aggies have done well to come back and make the games competitive, often times being within one or two possessions of the lead (or in the lead), they simply have been unable to get over the hump. More than likely in large part due to the amount of physical and mental effort and energy they've had to expend just to climb back into the game.

The Aggies have just one loss in which they were out of the game with less than four minutes left to play, that being their 20 point loss against Houston.

The race on the women's side should be an interesting one with any of the eight teams with a legitimate shot at winning the league title. (We're going to go out on a limb and say that SJSU is probably not going to contend just based on their non-conference results).

Aggie outside hitter Kayleigh Giddens was named to the COBRA All-National First Team which was announced in the December issue. Giddens finished the season with 542 kills setting the NM State single season kills mark. She also set the kills per set mark averaging 4.84 kills per set.

Expect a decision regarding the playing status of Wendell McKines this week. Jack Nixon stated during his broadcast of the Idaho game that there should be an announcement this week regarding Wendell's status as to whether he returns this season or redshirts and comes back for a full season next year.

There are pros and cons for both. Obviously having him come back this season adds depth to the current roster and despite everyone's insistence that Utah State is going to run away with the league, we still think the WAC race is wide open. The downside to that option is a) Wendell pretty much wastes half of his final year of eligibility sitting on the bench in the non-conference and then really only plays at his full health/conditioning level for two-thirds to maybe a half of the conference season. Unlike last season when McKines sat out due to academic issues, he was still able to practice with the team and maintain a high level of conditioning. This season he has not been able to practice with the team (hard to practice with a boot on).

Should McKines redshirt, it would obviously be a blow to the depth of the team and there are no guarantees that McKines would make it through another offseason without re-injuring his foot. However, the Aggie roster next year would be absolutely loaded with a starting lineup consisting of seniors Troy Gillenwater, Hernst Laroche, Hamidu Rahman, Wendell McKines and likely a seasoned sophomore in Christian Kabongo with sophomores Tshilidzi Nephawe (with a full season of experience and an entire offseason of practice, conditioning and weight training), Renaldo Dixon, Bandja Sy (whose contributions are increasing in each game) and a high-energy sixth man in Tyrone Watson who is quickly becoming a glue player for the Aggies as well as a pair of big men in Abdoulaye N'doye (7'0") and B.J. West (6'11") who can provide a good five to 10 minutes of playing time each. Additionally the Aggies will have whichever incoming freshmen Menzies brings in.

There are certainly plusses and minuses to both scenarios but redshirting Wendell makes the most sense in the long term and as we've seen from Coach Menzies throughout his tenure, he always has his eyes on the future of the program.

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NM State vs. UTEP Game Photos

NM State vs. UTEP Game Photos

Madison Spence Scores 20 But Aggies Fall 74-67 To UTEP In Final Non-Conference Game

The Aggie women's basketball team dropped their fifth consecutive game as they fell 74-67 to UTEP on Sunday afternoon to wrap up non-conference play. Madison Spence scored a game-high 20 points but the Aggies would surrender a nine point lead midway through the second half as the loss snapped a four-game win streak against the Miners.

The Aggies jumped out to a quick 8-5 lead through the first four minutes as Jasmine Lowe scored six of the Aggies' first eight points hitting a pair of three pointers. However, the Aggie offense would hit a dry spell as they would not score over the next seven minutes as the Miners would build a 16-8 lead. Lowe would end the scoring drought by hitting a pair of free throws to draw the Aggies to within six at 16-10. Lowe would get a layup with just over seven minutes left in the half to bring the Aggies to within four at 16-12. After a fast break layup by UTEP's Kim Smith pushed the lead back to 18-12, Danisha Corbett would hit a three pointer to draw the Aggies to within three down 18-15. Malia Magazzeni would get a jumper to bring the Aggies to within one at 18-17. The Aggies would retake the lead at 23-21 on jumper by Tabytha Wampler and would extend their lead to 28-21 behind a three point play from Wampler and a pair of free throws from Kaitlyn Soto and the Aggies would take a 30-23 lead into the halftime break finishing on a 22-7 run to end the half.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 01/02/11

The Aggie women's basketball team is back in action today as they look to end non-conference play on a high note. The Aggies, losers of four straight, are also looking to sweep the Miners for the second consecutive season. The Aggies have won four straight in the series.

UTEP is 7-4 on the season including a win over New Mexico. UTEP's wins have not exactly been over the stiffest of competition earning wins against Eastern New Mexico, Alcorn State, Idaho State, Texas State and Cal State-Northridge, however, they are wins nonetheless.

Gloria Brown leads the way for the Miners averaging 11.5 points per game while oddly enough, only playing 15.9 minutes per game off the bench, she has played in all 11 games but has not started any of them. Dietra Caldwell is second on the team at 9.3 points per game and unlike Brown, Caldwell has started all 11 games and is the only player to do so. The Miners have a quartet of players averaging between 7.9 and 8.9 points per game.

The Miners are averaging 72.2 points per game and allowing just 63.6 points per game. They shoot the three ball well as a team hitting 36.8 percent of their attempts and hold a +7.4 rebounding advantage per game which is something the Aggies have struggled a bit with at a -5.3 RPG margin.

The keys to today's game will be to get off to a good start in both the first and second half and avoid the offensive drought that has plagued them this season. The Aggies have dug themselves double-digit deficits in all their losses. They've also made big runs in the middle of the second half to make a game of it. If they can avoid the large deficit, that scoring run could finally propel them to victory.

Today's game will be available on AggieVision with radio coverage also available on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces. Streaming audio and video will be available via Aggie Access (subscription required). ESPN3.com will also provide streaming video.

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The Daily Aggie :: 01/01/11

Happy New Year Aggie fans! Unfortunately 2010 did not end the way anyone hoped it would. The Aggies lost on the road at Boise State 81-78 after leading the first 36 minutes of the game. Unfortunately for Aggie fans, it was a familiar feeling but we'll get into that in a bit.

We talked yesterday about Boise State's Jekyll and Hyde defense and it showed again last night. This time it was a bad first half followed by a good second half as the Aggies shot 69.6 percent in the first half but just 37.5 percent in the second half.

The Aggies struggled in the final 2:00 of the game committing three straight turnovers after tying the game at 72.

Despite the loss it's still a good road split and the Aggies have the exact same conference record after two games (1-1) as last year's NCAA tournament team did. The Aggies have a three-game homestand and all three will be tough games and the next five games will say a lot about where the Aggies will finish in conference play. The three upcoming games at home are against Fresno State (1-0), Hawai'i (0-2 but much improved) and San Jose State (also 0-2 but played their first two on the road and have the best scorer in the league in Adrian Oliver). After that the Aggies head to Nevada and to Utah State. If the Aggies can survive that stretch and come away with a 3-2 or 4-1 record, they'll be in great shape heading into the final two months of the season with six of their final 10 games at home (including a Bracketbusters game).

We mentioned in the opening that yesterday's loss was a familiar feeling for Aggie fans. For all the highs of 2010 (a WAC men's basketball tournament title, a WNIT trip, another WAC men's golf title, another individual cross country title for Courtney Schultz), 2010 was marred by tough losses where the Aggies gave up late leads and also injuries. The Aggies were relatively healthy to start 2010 but the fall 2010 season was unlike any other we can remember in Aggie sports in terms of injuries. Nearly every team that took the field/court in the fall/winter of 2010 had to deal with injuries to key players.

Aggie football lost several offensive linemen for the season, lost starting quarterback Matt Christian for several games, saw injuries to Kenny Turner and Seth Smith and lost a projected starting safety before the season even began. Those are just the ones we can remember off the top of our head.

Aggie soccer played without Crystal Burns for a couple of games, Burns is one of the best players on the Aggie squad and definitely one of the biggest scoring threats the Aggies have. They also lost starting goal keeper Mikaela Bitner for a good chunk of conference play (to a concussion if we remember correctly).

The Aggie men's cross country team ran without their leader, Ian Ruybalid who suffered a stress fracture and did not compete for the Aggies the majority of the season. Had Ruybalid been healthy the Aggie very well may have hoisted their first WAC championship on the men's side as they finished second to Boise State this year.

Aggie volleyball saw outside hitter Stephanie Ziegler go out with a season-ending foot injury just six matches into the season. The Aggies were 5-1 when Ziegler went down and they would struggle to find a replacement at the second outside hitter spot the rest of the season. The Aggies also middle blocker Kelsey Brennan miss time with an ankle injury (going down in the match against Pepperdine, a match that they likely would have won had she not been injured in the first set). They also lost libero Ellen Miks midway through conference play to a concussion. Miks never returned to action after suffering the concussion. Aggie freshman Amanda Tonga also suffered a shoulder injury and was limited in her effectiveness.

Aggie women's basketball lost Madison Spence for just over a month after she suffered a concussion. The Aggies went 3-2 without Spence in the lineup and even though she has returned, she has not yet returned to the high level of play that she was at prior to her concussion. The Aggies have also played without Kelsie Rozendaal for the first 13 games of the season, Rozendaal is a glue player for the Aggies and one of those kids that often times goes unnoticed in the box score but does all the little things that helps teams win games. The Aggies have also lost Camila Rosen for the season after she suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Senior guard Danisha Corbett is also hampered by an MCL sprain which limits her explosiveness.

And of course the Aggie men's basketball team has been hamstrung by injuries as Wendell McKines has not played at all this season after suffering a broken foot in the first week of practice. Troy Gillenwater and Hamidu Rahman both missed significant time with injuries and Gordo Castillo also missed a game with an ankle sprain.

Update: We completely forgot to mention Aggie baseball losing their top two hitters for extended periods of time. Catcher Ben Harty at the time of his wrist injury was absolutely crushing the baseball, hitting over .400 and the team's home run leader at the time. The Aggies also lost Mike Sodders, a First Team All-American, was also playing very very well at the time of his injury.

You'd be hard-pressed to find another school that has endured as many injuries to key components as the Aggies did in 2010.

The second part of the story in 2010 was heartbreaking losses, many of them ending Aggie seasons.

Obviously the one that sticks out in everyone's mind is the men's basketball team's 70-67 loss to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament but there were several other tough losses to swallow in 2010. The Aggie softball team lost 4-3 on a walk-off home run in the 8th inning against Fresno State after rallying to tie the game with home runs in the sixth and seventh innings. We'll get back to softball in a second.

The Aggie volleyball team lost in five at New Mexico after taking a 2-1 lead in the match, they lost in five at LSU after rallying to win sets three and four (after getting dominated in sets one and two). But the toughest loss of the season came against Utah State in the WAC Tournament semifinals as they held a 13-10 lead in set five and lost 16-14 ending their season (a bit of the sting from that loss was take away since Utah State would go on to win the WAC tournament in stunning fashion over heavily favored Hawai'i).

The Aggie football team had a 20-17 lead at Utah State with 9:29 left to play but lost 27-22. The Aggies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half of the game but could not hold on. This was a disappointing loss for the Aggies but after coming from behind to beat New Mexico AND San Jose State "at the buzzer", sports has a funny way of evening things out. Call this loss penance for those two exciting come-from-behind wins.

Okay, we can all agree that those were all heartbreaking losses. However, no two Aggie teams suffered devastating losses quite like the Aggie baseball and softball teams did in 2010, particularly in the postseason.

The Aggie baseball team lost twice late in the regular season in walk-off fashion. The Aggies held an 8-3 lead over Hawai'i but lost in the 10th inning on a walk-off home single. Four nights later the Aggies lost 9-8 in the 11th inning on a walk-off home run at USC. This coming after the Aggies had scored rive runs in the top of the 7th inning to erase an 8-3 deficit. And the most devastating loss of the season came in the final game of the season as the Aggies led Nevada 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning and had for the most part dominated the game. Nevada's Cullen Mahoney hit a pinch-hit two run walk-off homer to send the Aggies into the offseason, 5-4.

Those were all tough losses, no doubt. But nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the heartbreak the Aggie softball team suffered in 2010. After a disappointing conference season in which they had to win six of their final seven games just to make the WAC tournament, which was being held in Las Cruces, the Aggies jumped out to an 8-0 lead on Boise State only to see the Broncos rally to score nine unanswered over the next four and a half innings to send the Aggies to the losers bracket.

The next day the Aggies jumped out to a 6-0 lead on San Jose State. The Spartans rallied to take a 7-6 lead heading into the sixth inning. The Aggies scored two runs to take an 8-7 lead but the Spartans scored two in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-8 lead. The Aggies ended the season losing an eight run lead and a six run lead.

With all the injuries and heartbreaking losses in 2010, the Aggies are due for some good fortune. Here's hoping that 2011 will bring better health and better results for the Aggies.

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Aggies Lose Lead Late; Fall 81-78 At Boise State

The New Mexico State men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker against Boise State on New Year's Eve falling 81-78. The Aggies shot 69.6 percent from the field in the first half hitting 8-of-12 three point shots including a halfcourt buzzer beater by Troy Gillenwater but held just a six point lead over the Broncos at the break.

The Aggies would maintain a slim margin throughout the second half but the Broncos would take their first lead of the game at 68-67 with 4:09 left to play as Robert Arnold hit a three pointer. After an Aggie turnover on their ensuing possession, the Broncos would turn the ball over under their basket with Hernst Laroche coming away with the steal, however, Boise State's La'Shard Anderson would appear to knock over Laroche creating a turnover which he would take in for a layup to give the Broncos a 70-67 lead with 3:17 left to play in the game. Laroche would answer with a three pointer to tie the game at 70 with 2:47 left. Boise State would retake the lead as Anderson would hit a jumper with 2:17 left in the game but Hamidu Rahman would knot the score at 72 with a short jumper in front of the rim with 1:55 left to play.

Troy Gillenwater would be stripped going up for a jump shot and foul Boise State's Paul Noonan who would hit a pair of free throws to give the Broncos a 74-72 lead with 1:02 left to play. On the ensuing inbounds play, the Broncos would trap Christian Kabongo near the sideline and he would step out of bounds giving the ball back to the Broncos. Daequon Montreal would hit a short jumper and get fouled with 57 seconds left. Montreal converted the three point play giving the Broncos a 77-72 lead which the Aggies would not be able to overcome in the final minute of play.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 12/31/10

The Aggie women's basketball team dropped another heartbreaker last night losing 65-60 to the Lobos in Albuquerque. The pattern was a familiar one, the Aggies played close early, got down by double-digits in the second half, put on a furious rally late only to come up short in the end. It had been the story for the Aggies the previous three games and last night it was no different. This time the Aggies actually took a two point lead with just over two minutes left but could not hang on.

The Aggies are playing well on defense but they just can't seem to be able to string together enough stops at the end to pull off the win.

Danisha Corbett returned from injury to play last night to score eight points and Jasmine Lowe had arguably her best game of the season scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

The one area the Aggies did not do well last night was free throw shooting. The Aggies hit just 8-of-15 free throw attempts (all 15 attempts coming in the second half) and are a team that is a very good free throw shooting team normally hitting over 70 percent of their tries.

The Aggies are back in action on Sunday against UTEP as they wrap up non-conference play.

The Aggie men's basketball team wraps up their first conference road trip today as they face Boise State. The Aggies and Broncos have had some very competitive games during the Coach Menzies era with the Aggies holding a slight 5-3 edge in the series including an 88-85 and 95-92 victory last year.

This season the Broncos are under the direction of first-year head coach Leon Rice who has the Broncos playing very competitively. They are 8-5 overall and 1-0 in league play.

Yesterday we mentioned the Jekyll and Hyde play of the Bronco defense from half to half. In several of Boise State's games there have been instances where they have played outstanding first half defense only to see their defense completely evaporate in the second half. Against UC-Davis, BSU held the Aggies to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half but allowed 60.7 percent shooting in the second half. Long Beach State could only muster 37.5 percent shooting in the first half but hit 51.9 percent in the second half. Drake hit 37 percent in the first half and then torched the Broncos for 72.7 percent in the second half. UT-Pan American hit just 30.4 percent in the first half and then 63.6 percent in the second half and Louisiana Tech hit just 20 percent in the first half but exploded for 55.6 percent in the second half.

There is definitely a trend there with the Broncos. If the Aggies can hang close in the first half, they should be able to find much better success in the second half.

Obviously, that trend has not been the case in every game, in some of the games the opposing team just shoots well the entire game (in the mid 40 percent range or higher in some cases).

Even though the Broncos are allowing just 63.7 points per game while scoring 74.6 points per game, we expect this game to be a high scoring shootout as most of the Aggie/Bronco games have been.

The scoring matchup to watch tonight will be Troy Gillenwater versus Boise State's Robert Arnold. Arnold is the second leading scorer in the WAC averaging 15.8 points per game. However, the last time these two teams met, Arnold lit up the Aggies for 35 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

Today's game is scheduled for a 5:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff with radio coverage via the Aggie Sports Network. Streaming audio will also be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

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Aggie Women Fall Short At New Mexico 65-60

Jasmine Lowe scored a team-high 17 points and Madison Spence added 14 points but it was not enough as the Aggies fell to New Mexico 65-58 on Thursday night. New Mexico State trailed by 11 at halftime but rallied to take a 56-54 lead late in the game after a three pointer from Jasmine Lowe but a Lobo three by Jessica Kielpinski gave New Mexico the lead on the next possession and the Aggies would be unable to retake the lead in the final two minutes.

Both teams would start out cold shooting from the floor as the Lobos took a 9-6 lead into the first media timeout. However, over the next four minutes both teams would combine for just two baskets as New Mexico maintained a three point lead, 11-8 with 10:59 left in the half. The Aggies would stay close and trailed 17-15 with six and a half minutes left in the half but the Lobos would go on a 13-2 run to extend the lead out to 30-17 with 1:36 left in the half. After a layup by Danisha Corbett cut the Lobos lead to 30-19 with 47 seconds left before halftime, UNM's Morgan Toben would bury a three to give the Lobos their largest lead of the game at 33-19. Kaitlyn Soto would hit a three pointer to cut the lead back to 11 and the Aggies would head into the break down 33-22.  Continue Reading This Post >>