top of page
  • Jordan Banegas

Under the hood of Aggie Hoops with Keith Roberts

Outside of the Final Four run, we're living in the golden age of Aggie basketball. No one has had a better seat (behind the bench) for this run than NM State Basketball's, Keith Roberts. Roberts has been with the program for seven incredible seasons. He's seen three different coaches at the helm, four NBA players, has six WAC Championship rings, and a 155-30 record behind the bench, but two things remain the same for the Aggies: winning and Keith.

A lifelong diehard Aggie hoops fan despite growing up in Las Vegas, Roberts began his career with the program as a manager in 2013 under Marvin Menzies. His results on the court and behind the scenes led to a speedy ascension to graduate assistant and most recently as Special Assistant to the Head Coach, Chris Jans. It's clear that few know the NM State program like Roberts, that's why I was honored to visit with him for the below Q & A about his time on the hardwood of our favorite arena. Answers have been edited for formatting and clarity.

Being a part of 6 NCAA tournament berths and a 155-30 record behind the bench makes you arguably the winningest Aggie in program history. What does that mean to you? Does one stick out from the rest? 

I was raised on Aggie Basketball, and to have been a part of the program during this run has been extremely special. I feel honored to say that I have been a part of Aggie Basketball and I just hope that I helped the program in the different support roles that I have had.

One really doesn't stick out from the rest. The beauty of making the tournament is that the team and staff is doing EVERYTHING at the highest level. I live for that time of year. Every practice, film session, meeting is done with laser focus. It's a joy to be a part of. 

Favorite Jans moment from your time with him? 

Favorite Jans moment...too many! But a general moment I've been lucky to have is before games in the coaches locker room. It never failed...whether we were at home or on the road, him and I would always bump into each other in the coaches locker room at some point pre-game. We would have just a short convo either on the crowd, how we're feeling, or whatever. That brief moment was always sweet to have.

Favorite Jans Quote? 

Coach Jans says the realest things in the most simplistic fashion. That's part of his genius. Hands down my favorite quote of his has to be "Don't show me what you can't do." How true (and how simple) is that?! Once you hit the floor, you're gonna play to your skills, not try a move you just started practicing last week. 

What was the most memorable moment(s) of your tenure on the Aggie bench? 

Naturally there are too many to count! A few basketball moments I hold dear to me are sweeping unm in Jans' first two seasons. Celebrating in that tiny visitor's locker room is second to none! Beating #6 Miami and the ensuing locker room celebration is up there, alongside the victory in the true Lou Henson Classic in Chicago's United Center. Going out of the same tunnel Jordan and the boys went out, and sharing the locker room post game with Randy!

Personally, there's one singular moment and one more holistic. We're in the Pit during the 2014/2015 season. It's my first time behind the bench in Albuquerque. We're about to tip off, and Coach Marvin Menzies, mind you, who could be doing anything in that moment...he could be shouting some last minute instructions to Ian Baker, he could walk down the bench to Travon Landry to remind him of a key piece of the game plan...he could be doing a lot. He walks a few steps down the bench, makes eye contact with me and says "Are you ready?" with a wink. That's so special to me, because, like I said, he could've been doing anything else right before tip, but he chose to do that. Amazing!

The last thing is the biggest honor ever. During the 2016/2017 season Lou Henson would watch a number of our practices. I would be the one to escort him down to the floor from the doors. I would be the one to sit down with him, answer any question he had about the guys. Mainly we would just chat. He would talk about different philosophies, draw up plays, etc. That's the greatest gift I've ever received. I grew up idolizing this man, and now I'm here listening to him talk about basketball, getting to know him, creating a friendship with him and his family. Whaaaaat?!?! 

Any pregame rituals that the players/program does that fans don't know about?

Each team has something different every year, but there's a constant pregame ritual that's been in the program since AJ's been around. I'm sure you all have seen a video or two of it on Twitter. The guys do the "Shoot" dance to the song made famous by Blocboy JB and Tay Keith.

What's something the fans don't know about the Pan American Center? 

So next time you roam the southwest concourse, check out the floor. You can still see marks from the old hallway that led to the locker rooms before the renovations.

Also, the old tunnel is intact. Those same steps that Lacey, Benjamin, Brown, Channing, and many legendary opponents that have walked through are still there.

Favorite away venue of all-time?

1. The Pit

1a. The Don

Funniest thing you've heard yelled at our guys from opposing student sections/fan bases?

Ya know, there's been a shift in student sections over the last half decade. They're not so much about the constant trash talk as they used to be. There's this one time in Phoenix. I'm standing around mid court while the team's in layup/dunk lines. One of our guys misses a dunk. Naturally, the Havocs get on that player. He's hearing from the moment he rebounds it to get in the line closest to them. It's finally his turn. He gets the ball and just flushes this NASTY dunk. The Havocs get quiet immediately!

Expectations for the 2020-21 season? 

I expect more of the same with the new look squad! I expect the team to play Aggie Basketball and I can't wait to enjoy every second of it!

Who's a newcomer to watch for 20-21? 

Watch out for Wilfried Likayi and Marcus Watson! Wilfried is no stranger to the scheme and culture of the program. Watch out for his motor! Marcus is well polished and can make immediate noise for the Aggies.

What's next for you? 

Right now I'm looking to get into the education industry. It's been a dream of mine to teach in a classroom setting. Basketball wise, I have a few things cookin'. We'll see where the cards play out! 

I also look to support the program in any way I can. My journey with the program will never end. I've been a fan, Panamaniac, and member of the program. I can't wait to add the title of booster to that!

394 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page