Ever the optimist, Northern New Mexico College men’s basketball coach Ryan Cordova believes that the Eagles are poised for a strong season after finishing three games under .500 a season ago.
“I think my expectations as team are to try and get better throughout the year, from our first game to our last game,” he said. “We’ve already improved. That’s the one silver lining. Even though the win-loss column isn’t tallying up the way I want it to be, we’re getting better.”
And to be fair, the NAIA school out of Española has not ducked any opponents and has already beaten DII Western New Mexico University.
“Right now, we’re finding out who we are,” Cordova said. “I really like to know who we are, and we’ll use the next two and a half weeks to fine-tune things.”
The team is still young, but the players are quickly adapting to one another, he said.
“I think with some maturing, we can be dangerous down the stretch,” Corodva said. “When we play conference opponents, we want to be able to make a stand during that time, and hopefully go into the conference tournament with some real firepower and experience.”
What has Cordova particularly optimistic has been the team’s rebounding and its post play.
“The strengths for us this year is actually our post play,” he said. “We haven’t had that for a few years.”
Tyrique Weaver (6 feet, 7 inches, Jr., F) has developed into a force around the basket this season, averaging 16 points and six boards a game.
“And he’s consistently giving that,” Cordova said. “If I can count on that for the rest of the year, that’s fantastic.”
Alexander O’Guinn (6-8, Jr., F) put up 18 points and 10 boards against WNMU, bringing a smile to the coach’s face.
“He has shown signs of greatness,” Cordova said. “Against WNMU, he played great. We’re trying to get him to be consistent. That’s something we’re looking for.”
And Capital grad Jeremy Anaya (5-11, So., G) has settled into the point guard slot and looks quite at home there, although Cordova would like to see him take a few more shots within the offense.
“He’s done a really good job of keeping his turnovers down. That’s putting us in a position to keep each game close and we can win some games down the road. When I recruited him, that’s what I was hoping for. I didn’t think he’d be at this point until his junior year, so he’s progressing nicely.”
Now it’s a matter of bringing all of the pieces together.
“We need to continue rebounding and improving our execution on the offensive side,” Cordova said. “I think in about two or three weeks, you’re going to see us find who out we are and make a statement as to the type of team we’re going to be the rest of the season.”