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  • Jordan Banegas

Aggie Basketball Alum Forming Team for TBT

Who should be on the team and what should they be called?

Word on the street is that Aggie great, Brandon Mason is working to field a team of NM State Basketball alumni to enter the "TBT." A winner-takes-all $1 million basketball tournament full of fringe NBA players and former college stars.


Aggie fans have been calling for a team to compete in this tournament for years and 2022 appears to be answering those calls.


I would like to play general manager for a minute and put together a roster of recent Aggie alum whom I would love to see repping the crimson and white again.


Here's a breakdown of my Aggie all-star wish list by position:


Point Guards:


  • Jonathan Gibson - Obviously would be the prize of the group. Outside of global superstar, Pascal Siakam, Gib is the most accomplished Aggie alum of the last decade. Hoping his contract with the Beijing team would still allow him to compete in the TBT but I won't hold my breath.

  • AJ Harris - AJ was robbed of his 6th year of eligibility; seeing him suit up for the Aggies in the TBT would help a fanbase heal.

  • Ian Baker - Ice, ice, Baker. The Big Shot Maker would not only be the steady PG presence this team would need but he is still playing professionally and is in Cruces often.

  • Hernst Laroche - "The Rock" started every single game he ever played as an Aggie--from his first as a freshman to his final as a senior. Let that sink in and then consider he has already volunteered his services.



Shooting Guards:


  • Zach Lofton - Slime would be a big 2 guard and could easily play the 3. Either way, Zach would be a force to be reckoned with in the TBT. State happens to have a plug with his current professional coach overseas, Casey Owens.

  • Braxton Huggins - Sure he graduated a Fresno State Bulldog but who wouldn't say no to that smooth shot?

  • Daniel Mullings - Mullz is an accomplished pro whose extensive experience in international play would push a deep group of Aggie shooting guards for minutes.

  • Sidy N'Dir - Sidy gave Aggie Nation glimpses of how high his ceiling was--I imagine a few years developing as a professional has done him a lot of good. This bouncy guard is a must.

  • Jahmar Young - JY is a Las Cruces resident and would hopefully be an easy get. B-More's finest was at one point one of the finest guards in all of college basketball. A reunion of him and Gibson in the backcourt could run with any group of "power 5" has beens.

  • JoJo Zamora - Another Aggie with a high ceiling whom I imagine has only developed more since graduating. Plus, you can never have too many shooters...




Small Forward:


  • Trevelin Queen - The Houston Rocket is an obvious addition here, but who knows what his availability will be like later this year.

  • Wendell McKines - Big Wen is must for this team. He and Jemerrio would be the heart and soul. His push late in his career to be a 2 guard is why I list him as a SF here. Win with Big Wen. He's a must. Don't even field a team if Wendell can't be there. Maybe even restart the blog?

  • Justin Hawkins - J-Hawk has still got it. A couple years ago, Hawk would've been one of the better players in all of the tournament. We all know this Aggie legend still has it and I wouldn't want any other leader taking the Aggies into battle.

  • Bandja Sy - Can I say "high ceiling" one more time? Bandja spent most of his Aggie career oozing potential. His pro career has only done more to refine the athletic freak we all know and love.




Power Forward:


  • Troy Gillenwater - Troy played in last year's tournament for an east coast based team, Team Hines. Troy's skill level on the post would be a huge asset for the Aggie team to compete down low.

  • Renaldo Dixon - Renaldo has the size and awareness to play a key reserve minutes at the 4. That and he's a dear friend of mine whom I'd love to see compete stateside again.

  • Eli Chuha - Mr. Aggie whose career spanned 3 coaches while he stayed loyal throughout. His low post scoring would be huge.

  • Jemerrio Jones - The only worry here is if he is on an NBA contract or not.


Center:

  • Ivan Aurrecoachea - Gib tossing lobs to the Spaniard? Yes please.

  • Sim Bhullar - An NBA appearance should be an automatic qualifier for this roster.

  • Chili Nephawe - Can you imagine what grown man Chili looks like now?

Starting lineup:
  1. J-Gib

  2. Zach Lofton

  3. Trevelin Queen

  4. Jemerrio Jones

  5. Ivan Aurrecoachea

Even slightly undersized down low, this group could compete with anyone in TBT.


Second Unit:
  1. Ian Baker

  2. Daniel Mullings

  3. Bandja Sy

  4. Troy Gillenwater

  5. Chili Nephawe

Call this one the "all-Menzies team"


Bench:

AJ Harris, Hernst Laroche, Braxton Huggins, Sidy N'Dir, JoJo Zamora, Justin Hawkins, Wendell McKines, Eli Chuha, Renaldo Dixon, Sim Bhullar.


What's in a name?


So what do we call this powerhouse of Aggie players? The debate was started on Twitter by Adam Young. You can vote for the options or add your own in the thread.



Here are some names I have seen tossed around:


- Pistol Pete's Posse

- The Zias (Would need permission from the Zia Pueblo)

- Lou's Dudes (A hat tip to the hall of famer)

- Lou's Crew

- PanAm Posse (PanAm has a global brand we could take advantage of)

- Six Shooters (My personal favorite, and we have a whiskey to match)

- Pete's Pistoleros

- New Mexico State of Mind

- Rio Grande Gang (Utah State already calls us "thugs")

- Crimson and White Legacy

- Desert Dynasty (a hat tip to the decades of dominance we've enjoyed out west)

- The Panamaniacs (a phrase that is copyrighted by a big Aggie fan whom I'm sure would love to give permission to use.)

- Aggie Nation (Not to be confused with the cult in college station)

- The Pride of New Mexico (Think the marching band would let us borrow?)

- Down South Aggies (Proposed by a loob fan in gest and I actually like it.)



What do you think of the lineup? Did I miss anyone?


What do you think of the names? Make your voices heard--it's now or never.

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