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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

June 26th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


New Mexico Lobos

Overall Rank: #135

Conference Rank: #7 MWC


2005-06: 17-13, 8-8, 5th

2005-06 postseason: none


For a team that lost six of its top eight players, there sure is a lot of hope at  New Mexico.  And rightfully so.  The Lobos needed a star and go-to-guy; now they have two.  J.R. Giddens and Aaron Johnson, a pair of transfers, will immediately create a dangerous inside-outside combination.  However, there are problems.  With such a large turnover of players, the team chemistry will be interesting to watch and that will mostly fall on the shoulders of Giddens.


Whoís Out: The inside-outside combination of Mark Walters and David Chiotti were the senior leaders last year.  As a senior, Walters averaged 15.5 points and 3.1 assists.  Chiotti added 11.8 points and a team high 6.3 rebounds.  Kris Collins, who started 18 games, and Jeff Hart, the main long range threat off the bench, have also run out of eligibility.  If that wasnít enough, Anthony Teague, Joel Box and Kyle Prochaska are all transferring.


Whoís In: Giddens averaged 10.1 points and 3.8 boards two years ago as a sophomore at Kansas.  The 6-5 wing has an amazing amount of athleticism and will provide some fun finishes at The Pit.  Johnson, a transfer from Penn State, is a monster on the glass and led the Big Ten in that category two seasons ago.  The 6-9 Exton, Pennsylvania product is solid on the offensive end as well, averaging 11.8 points per game as a junior.  Jamaal Smith is a high scoring point guard who averaged over 20 points per game last year at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.  One of the top point guards in the juco ranks, Smith should be running the show from the get go.  Fellow junior college transfer Jeffrey Henfield will fill in some minutes at the shooting guard spot.  Incoming freshman Roman Martinez will need some time to develop his game, but the two guard has the skills to contribute this year.  Forward Sean Imadiyi and center Derek Oestreicher will battle for minutes in the post.  Imadiyi is an athletic player who can play on the wing as well as the post.  The 6-7 Tempe, Arizona native averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as a senior at Corona del Sol High School.  Oestreicher is a true paint player.  The 6-10, 230 pounder isnít afraid to battle inside, but could use a redshirt season to gain some strength.   


Who to Watch: Tony Danridge is the only player returning who started over half of the games last season.  The 6-5 swingman didnít put up great numbers, averaging 8.4 points and 2.5 rebounds.  Danridge, despite playing at the two and three spots, isnít a three-point shooter.  With the decent shooting newcomers headed to Albuquerque, Danridge will be confined to the small forward spot.  The lack of long range shooting has been a hindrance to New Mexico, but it shouldnít be anymore. 


Final Projection: The depth isnít too bad in the backcourt with Ryan Kersten and Blake Harden having starting experience.  The frontcourt, outside of Johnson, is worrisome.  Forward Daniel Faris saw very limited minutes as a freshman, but given the opportunity, could become an impact player off the bench.  Walk-on Kellen Walter is another frontcourt option.  The 6-10 senior played in all 30 games last year, averaging just 5.9 minutes per contest.  Walter did prove to be a productive option though and could see some more minutes if the other choices take a while to adjust.  In the end, with the newcomers, itís all about team cohesion.  It might take a little while, but this could end up being a dangerous team.


Projected Post-season Tournament: none


Projected Starting Five:

Jamaal Smith, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

J.R. Giddens, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Tony Danridge, Junior, Forward, 8.4 points per game

Sean Imadiyi, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

Aaron Johnson, Senior, Forward, DNP last season

#136 Saint Joseph's Ľ Complete List Ľ #134 Iowa State

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