Although a different era, the late 70s, I remember Ellenberger and Tarkanian had great success running with a pressing style of defense that featured mobile athletic players in that 6-8 to 6-9 range in the front court. 6-10 Wil Smiley backed up 6-9 Jimmy Allen on that Johnson/Cooper team. Both of them ran the floor with the rest of the team which always seemed to be on the fast break after causing yet another turnover. 6-8 Willie Howard and 6-5 Phil Abney playing at the 4 put down some spectacular dunks as the Lobos never seemed to stop running averaging 98pts a game with an offense fueled by it's defense.
UNLV and Tarkanian were doing the same with similar type and size players up in Vegas. Got to give credit to assistant Dennis Hodges who implemented that great defense at New Mexico, and then put in at UNLV for Tarkanian. It made the difference for UNLV as they went on to continued success and eventually a national title. I don't recall too many players over 6-9 during the Tarkanian Era.
I wasn't here during the Ellenberger days but give me some of that. 4o minutes of hell at altitude! Let's make the Pit the Pit again! Good point - you don't need a 7 footer to play winning basketball. Case in point South Carolina this year (not trying to steal from another poster - see that post)
Jeezus ... can we just keep focused and positive? For ONCE? FFS ... let's worry about then WHEN they get there.
Fwiw, I never intended this to be a negative post, nor was it an attempt to discredit coach in any way. It is a question that I have had for some time since Bradbury got here and based on what I saw of the Aggies last year and what I've read about coach, it is now a question I have concerning the men's program. As far as waiting until you get there, I always believe it is best to plan early in almost all situations in life.
I think the new big in Weir's system will be more of the Drew Gordon type athlete. Someone that can battle in the middle but still has the athletic ability to spread the floor. I think you can be successful in the MWC with 6'8" and 6"9" bigs. I think a good mix with that level can get us to the Sweet 16, but it might be difficult to get past that without the blue chip 6'11" guy. But hey, let's not be greedy. It would just be nice to win the MWC again and get back to the tourney and, most importantly, have a team that plays to its abilities.
That would be Connor MacDougal. He IS Drew Gordon-like athletically. And he has better skills. Now if he can just stay on the floor ....
Bob Huggins talks about how he can't compete for the same players as Kansas and other schools of the same stature, so he doesn't waste his time or budget on that caliber of recruit. Instead, he focuses on recruiting kids that can thrive in his specific system. This approach reminds me of what Bob Davie has done so successfully with our football team, and something I think Weir can do with our basketball team. In the end, it is better to have what you need than what people tell you you should have.
This is an important piece of why I thought that Dane and Connor would thrive at a school that is almost literally a mile high. They are both REALLY dedicated to fitness. The players we should be recruiting in my opinion should have ultra clean diets and the UNM training table should be a testament to that effort. Each individual's ability to quickly adapt to the cardiovascular stamina requirements of a constant motion offense and swarming defense should be assessed as they are brought into the pack. The specialization that Huggins refers to could literally be a line-up of the freakiest basketball playing triathletes available come recruiting time. I know the "Q" is a big MMA town so the Diaz brothers fitness as an example will make sense to most. In that way we win or lose with something almost wholly unique to Albuquerque's prized Lobo's in that the ability to exploit the altitude to maximize performance while training at world class facilities is rare indeed and that knowing the effort is completely controllable by the team.