If Marvin Menzies' far-flung recruits find the environment in Las Cruces a bit slow, well, good.

"We want to recruit kids who want to play basketball after college, who have a true gym rat disposition about them," the New Mexico State coach said. "They're not here to enjoy the malls and all of that. It's a true college town and kids come her to be on a mission."

That mission, he said, would be aiming to develop their basketball skills with the intent of making money playing basketball after graduation.

Eight of the current Aggies who will visit McKale Center on Thursday are foreigners, most of whom will presumably aim to return home to pursue professional careers. Only two NMSU players are actually from New Mexico.

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LAWildcat remarked on a previous discussion thread about the home-and-homes that NMSU has with UTEP and New Mexico. Those are both longstanding traditions, and they also provide good home games for programs that sometimes have trouble attracting other good teams to come to their place.

The fact that Arizona will return Thursday's game in Las Cruces next season is unusual, and Menzies appreciates it.

"It's difficult to get teams to go to Las Cruces for a host of reasons," Menzies said. "So anytime you can get one of those teams to come into town that will increase sales and create interest in our home schedule, that's a good move on our part. We appreciate Sean allowing that to happen."

The Aggies basically took over the home-and-home series contract UA had planned with San Diego State before the Aztecs ran into a scheduling conflict over the summer.

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Menzies said today he was disappointed he couldn't bring his team in at full strength, having lost likely all-WAC forward Wendell McKines to a broken foot last month.

"It's just one of those types of deals where we know the level of competition we have in front of us," Menzies said. "Our kids will be excited to play the game and I'm sure they'll represent the institution in a good way."

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Derrick Williams was named to the preseason Naismith Award watch list. A PDF of the official Naismith release is attached, since there is no online link as of now.

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Here's NMSU's stats through two games.

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Alex Stephenson played through injury for USC.

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Cal is relying on Brandon Smith at point guard more this season without Jerome Randle around.

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Steve Lavin had a sleepless -- literally and figuratively -- debut with St. John's during the late-night ESPN hoops marathon.

 

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball