LAS CRUCES – The Aggies were busy in the last two weeks of the college basketball regular signing period.
New Mexico State had three players sign scholarship agreements, with Bakersfield, Calif., high school player Braxton Huggins signing a national letter of intent on the final day of the signing period, May 21.
“It’s unreal,” Huggins said. “I never thought that I would be signing to a Division I school. New Mexico State reminded me of home. There are not that many distractions. I can just focus on school and basketball. They said I would have a chance to play but it depended on how hard I work and how it goes in practice.”
Five NMSU players from last season’s NCAA Tournament team left the program for various reasons, and the status of former Oñate star Terrel de Rouen, suspended for the 2013-14 season, is unclear moving forward. Sim Bhullar left the Aggies after two years to pursue a professional career, and seniors Renaldo Dixon and Kevin Aronis finished their eligibility. Point guard K.C. Ross-Miller (Auburn) and Matej Buovac (Sacred Heart) transferred.
Huggins, a 6-foot-3 guard, as well as 6-foot-1 Toronto point guard Rashawn Browne and 6-foot-8 New Orleans native Harold Givens joined the Aggies during the regular signing period between April 16 and May 21.
The latest three additions join Matt Taylor, Jaylyn Pennie, Jonathan Wilkins and Pascal Siakam, who were all on campus last season, as well as Tanveer Bhullar, Sim Bhullar’s younger brother, to reload the NMSU roster.
Of the three latest additions, Huggins has the best opportunity to earn a roster spot for 2014-15 season as a player who is already qualified academically.
Browne and Givens are already in Las Cruces set to begin the first summer session Tuesday. Browne said he came to NMSU with the intention of redshirting this year as the Aggies roster already has two sophomore point guards in Ian Baker and Travon Landry. Givens is an intriguing prospect who committed to Florida International in 2013.
Huggins was the prep player of the year in Bakersfield last year after averaging 32 points per game and shooting 36 percent from 3-point range for Mira Monte High. Aggies fans can compare Huggins to current Aggies senior DK Eldridge in size and athletic ability. Huggins cleared 6-9 in the high jump of a track meet this season.
Browne and Givens, who said his vertical leap has been measured at 46 inches, committed to NMSU without making a visit to Las Cruces.
“New Mexico State was the most competitive team and successful team that was recruiting me,” Browne said. “That helped in my decision.”