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Basketball tips off a new era Friday

November 11th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments


Western New Mexico University opens a new era in men’s basketball this Friday night, as Matt Enriquez, takes the reins of the men’s program. Matt of course has been at Western New Mexico for a long time starting his career as a player and a coach wearing the purple and gold. Matt was the assistant coach for Mark Coleman as well as interim head women’s basketball coach last season, but this will be his first full-time stint as a head coach and taking the reins of the men’s program.

Matt will have a tough job to rebuild a program that fell on hard times over the last three seasons winning very few games. Some familiar faces will be on the floor for the Mustangs but it will be a team filled with new players as we enter the Lone Star conference for the first time. Not only will Mustang fans have to get used to a new coach, new players, but also a new conference with different teams visiting Silver City. What can we expect from Mustang basketball this season?

there were probably two deficiencies in Western New Mexico basketball the last few years: size and shooting. Coach Enriquez may have addressed one of those deficiencies. Jordan Enriquez was probably the only consistent shooter last year but he will be joined by a couple of players who can knock down the rock. Eddie Giron is a freshman out of Monterey Mexico who has the potential to be a very consistent outside shooter both from midrange and beyond the arc. Emery Range will be back at the 3-4 position giving us a good swing player who can shoot at times and take it to the bucket. Willie McCray will be back at the point for the Mustangs and having some shooters to pass the rock to will help open the floor for him.

Latrell Spivey is the new big man on the roster. The 6 foot eight Junior from Glendale community college plays a bit more aggressively inside it is a solid rebounder and defender. That will help if he can get nine or 10 rebounds a game and have about as many points per game. Beyond him, the Mustangs do not have a lot of height until Daniel Van Den Kerkhof returns to action in about a month. The 6 foot 10 sophomore played well at times and while not a big body can score and rebound well enough. Until then the size advantage and other teams have over Western New Mexico will be significant.

This team will be young and probably streaky and not very deep. But coach has done a couple of things that we like. in practice, he is very good at explaining why certain things should be done the way he is coaching. For example he has put in some new offense of plays and tells them what the design of the play is intended to accomplish, whether that’s drive and pitch out or not put the ball on the floor and gain an advantage to passing quickly to get open shots. I think when guys understand why they are doing something it makes it easier for them to buy into it. He will also play more of an up-tempo type of offense trying to get open shots quickly as we will have an advantage over some of the size players that other teams have with our speed.

I think this team has the core players in position to win more games than they have the last two or three years and to build for success in the coming 2 to 3 years. They are probably a player or two away from being competitive in this league should a lot of the younger players live up to their potential. One thing I like about this team is that they seem to get along and really want to win as a team rather than just accomplish individual goals. That might be the most important principle installed into his team’s psyche by coach Enriquez.

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