LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO (KTSM) – New Mexico State has won 26 consecutive WAC games, back-to-back conference tournament titles and 11 straight games dating back to December 18. The Aggies pride themselves on doing whatever it takes to win and no one on the roster exemplifies that better than senior guard Shunn Buchanan.
If it’s true that the only stat that matters is win and losses, then Buchanan might be NM State’s most important player.
“That’s what winners do, and I consider myself a winner, and this program is a winning program,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan has helped NMSU to achieve one of the best stretches in program history. In his three seasons in Las Cruces, the senior has been a part of 75 victories and counting, as well as a pair of NCAA Tournament trips.
“It sure is nice to have a guy like that to be able to rely on,” NMSU head coach Chris Jans said. “His teammates believe in him and trust him. Certainly his numbers aren’t gaudy, but he affects winning.”
Buchanan will never lead the Aggies in scoring, but his uncanny ability to do the little things stands out.
“I think it just comes from the type of player I am. Being from Mississippi, we just breed gritty players,” Buchanan said.
His style has made him a fan favorite – “They accept me for who I am and what I bring to the table,” – and his basketball IQ makes him a coach on the floor for the Aggies.
When it comes to plays, he knows every position and where they’re supposed to be on the play,” NMSU guard Evan Gilyard said. “If coach really wanted to put him in at the 5, he’d know the plays through the 5.”
That’s preparing Buchanan for his next step; after his playing days are over, he wants to coach college basketball.
“Being a coach is just meant for me. Not everyone can make it to the NBA but I feel like coaching is for me and that’s the route I want to take,” Buchanan said.
“I think he’ll be one of the best. I think he could transition quickly into a coaching role,” said Jans.
There’s plenty of playing left for Buchanan, though. He and the Aggies are hoping for one more trip to March Madness.
“That would be very awesome, to have 3 years in a row to the NCAA Tournament,” Buchanan said. “That’s our goal here and now we’re trying to get wins in the NCAA Tournament.”
If and when they get there, they can expect Buchanan to be their unsung hero.
Buchanan and the Aggies are on the road this week at Chicago State and Kansas City.