After a 30-5 2018-19 campaign that ended with a narrow defeat in the NCAA Tournament to Auburn, New Mexico State returned to the practice court on Thursday to prepare for the 2019-20 season.
Chris Jans enters his third year with the Aggies and returns 11 of his players from last season’s team. The Aggies also have added some talent and depth to the roster.
Expectations are always high in Las Cruces, but they will be especially high this winter. With the talent that returns to the roster, the Aggies are hoping to return to the NCAA Tournament and finally win a game in March Madness.
“On paper, we have a lot coming back from a team that won a ton of games, so we should be good and we’re not shying away from that in our locker room,” Jans said. “We’re talking about our expectations and with our mature group, I think we’ll handle it well.”
Senior guard Trevelin Queen returns to the Aggies after an impressive second half of 2019. Queen is getting buzz as a potential NBA Draft pick next summer, but his eyes are set on the upcoming NM State season.
“We’re trying to get that win in the tourney and we were so close last year,” Queen said. We’re just trying to get another title and more wins.”
The Aggies have been motivated all offseason by March’s one-point defeat at the hands of eventual Final 4 team Auburn. That loss has driven them to want more.
“It was like the perfect view of what we want to do and where we want to be,” senior center Ivan Aurrecoechea said. “This year, maybe it’s not Auburn; maybe it’s another team, but we’ll be ready to beat them.”
The Aggies open the season November 5 at home against Western New Mexico. Their first test is November 12 at UTEP.