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  • Jordan Banegas

Three Takeaways from the Aggie Hour Podcast

First things first, if you have not listened to the Aggie Hour podcast, you absolutely have to. Adam Young does a fantastic job hosting and asks all the questions we wish we could; Aggie Nation is lucky to have him. NM State plans to continue this podcast through March of next year, which will be a welcomed sound, especially during this drought without any sports. Whether you listened to it or not, below are three takeaways from the hour long podcast that I thought was worth expounding upon. Enjoy!

William Benjamin is the Consummate Aggie - 

Could Las Cruces/Aggie Nation ask for a better representative as an alum? Not only was the man an all-time great on the court but he’s brought two state titles back to the Mesilla Valley and is an excellent example for youth off the court as well. From the Aggie Hour Podcast, we get insight into why Coach Benjamin came to NM State originally. Benjamin cites the unique opportunity to play UNLV and California schools in the Big West that would take him back close to family during the season. It’s worth noting that today, NM State has come closer to being the banner school itself than finding a conference mate like UNLV to attract talent.

Coach spoke highly of his time here and of the fans that would fill up the Pan Am to standing room only. He also praised his teammates, saying that the the tournament runs they went on couldn’t have happened without Reggie Jordan and Randy Brown, who ended up being 8-10 year NBA guys.

The most surprising takeaway of the interview was Benjamin’s glowing words about head coach, Neil McCarthy. The #3 all-time steals leader said that McCarthy put focus on the importance of getting an education and even paid the way for Benjamin to complete his degree out of his own pocket!

AY wraps up the interview reminiscing about all of New Mexico cheering for the Aggies in their 1992 Sweet Sixteen run. Apparently people throughout Albuquerque jumped on the Aggie bandwagon, cheering the Aggies at dinner, in the arena and across the city as they prepped for the big game.

Chris Jans Took an Unordinary Path to Stardom - 

Who doesn’t love a little inside look into our favorite guy’s road to HC? First we find out that coach Jans wrestled for ten years in his youth--does that surprise anyone? The man certainly knows how to fight. Similarly, we find out that Jans admired gym teachers for being able to wear a t-shirt and gym shorts for work (now we know the real fire behind our passionate leader). Jans shares that he was talked into getting a marketing and finance degree by his father and originally planned to be a stock broker. I know I’d trust him with my money, how about you? Coach started at a Sherwin Williams (yes the paint store) management program before landing his first coaching gig as the fourth assistant coach for a D3 college outside of Chicago. The starting salary was $1k/year before he was promoted to $1,500/year. In the meantime, he would valet cars and substitute teach to make ends meet. When asked which D1 coach he looks to emulate most? Tom Izzo--also not a surprise.

Chris Jans Has an Eye for Talent 

We knew this already from watching our Aggies the last three years but in the Aggie Hour Podcast, Adam and Jans dive into Jans’ recruitment of NBA players Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet. Jans apparently discovered Shamet in a back gym at an unknown tournament and looked around the place in amazement that no other college coaches were there. After a successful career at Wichita State, Shamet is the 6th fastest player ever to reach 250 three pointers in NBA history. VanVleet meanwhile was an integral part to the Toronto Raptors’ title run last year. According to Jans and those with eyeballs watching him play, he has a basketball IQ through the roof. To land this talent, Jans mentions he uses no slogans or catch phrases to define his program, only good play.

And while the Aggies have been on the winning side of things, Coach opened up to share that he’s still anxious before games about potentially getting embarrassed or looking bad and always wishes for more preparation time. He apparently has gameday routines that his wife calls superstitious. But once the ball is tipped Coach doesn’t hear a thing during games; he’s all locked in.

Enjoy these few takeaways but if you haven’t listened to the Aggie Hour Podcast yet, I urge you to give it a listen below. You won’t regret it!

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