ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After some deliberation, Wendell McKines decided that it would be nice to conclude his New Mexico State basketball career with a full schedule of games.
McKines has yet to play this season after suffering a broken foot during an Oct. 16 practice, and on Tuesday coach Marvin Menzies announced that the senior forward would redshirt the 2010-11 season. McKines also missed 10 games of the 2009-10 campaign because of academic issues.
“I owe myself, I owe my family, I owe the city of Las Cruces to play a full year. UTEP, (New Mexico), they haven’t seen me since ’08. They’ve got to see me. The season starts in 10 months for me,” McKines said.
Menzies and McKines finalized the decision during last week’s two-game road trip to Idaho.
“I was practicing last week, just to see how I was feeling. I was feeling pretty good, but after talking to my family and really thinking about my life long term, I decided to come back next year,” McKines said.
The Aggies (7-9, 1-1 Western Athletic Conference) have been riddled with injuries all season: Troy Gillenwater has missed five games with a sprained ankle, and Hamidu Rahman has been out six with a calf ailment.
Both Gillenwater and Rahman returned to action last week against Idaho, and the potential addition of McKines, who averaged 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds last year, would have stabilized NMSU’s chance to win the Western Athletic Conference tournament – the Aggies’ lone realistic shot at a postseason berth of any kind – in March. McKines estimated that he could have been playing within the next few weeks, but Menzies nonetheless feels that the appropriate decision was made.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are gonna get an opportunity as a result of Wendell not coming back, and I think in the long term it’ll be good for the program,” Menzies said.
At the moment, the Aggies are set to return their entire roster in 2011-12 with the exception of senior guard Gordo Castillo. The addition of McKines makes that group look all the more formidable.
“The whole team, they support my decision. I’m looking forward to helping them on the court next year,” McKines said.
As NMSU’s No. 6 all-time rebounder, the 6-foot-6 forward will also have a better chance to further etch his name into the school’s record book.
“We knew that obviously he’d have a much better chance of doing that with a full season under his belt. It wasn’t a consideration in the decision,” Menzies said.