Turnovers are terrible for point guards and tough on rosters. Heading into his second year as head coach at New Mexico, Paul Weir has a roster full of turnover and one glaring question in the backcourt. Who is their starting point guard?
“If there’s a position on our roster that is going to be something I worry, concern, question about us, we’re going to need good point guard play this year,” Weir said while addressing the local media this week.
Last year senior Antino Jackson and Chris McNeal were the teams’ primary options at point with Jackson getting the bulk of the duty late in the season. They combined for 19.9 points per-game as Jackson led the team with 80 assists and McNeal was second with 64. With the transfer of McNeal all the minuets are up for grabs.
Weir said he hopes point guard doesn’t turn into the Michigan quarterback position, referencing a Netflix documentary he began watching, multiple guys without one taking the reins. He wants more consistency out of the position this season and that means there is a lot of work to be done beginning June 4th, which is the start of next seasons workouts for the 2018-19 roster.
Year one of the Paul Weir era showed that being a starter doesn’t mean you are the guy. With that said who will be competing for the bulk of the playing time at point?
McGee will be a sophomore as he joins the Lobos after one year at South Plains College. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 7.8 ppg while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from three.
“I love Keith McGee. I think he is an amazing fit for our program,” said Weir adding, “He’s an electric athlete at the front of our press, pushing the ball in transition, he is going to be tremendous here.”
McGee was named MVP of the 2018 NJCAA Basketball Championships after scoring 20 points in the title game for South Palins. Weir knows there will be an adjustment from the JUCO level, but the sophomore to be has his coach excited about his potential.
Everyone believed Mathis could shoot. However, it wasn’t until this past season that he and his jumper got the chance to show everyone just how good he was. Mathis hit 47.3% of his three point shots last year, which was fourth best in all of division one college basketball.
He’s getting a look at PG due to need and with his performance last year Weir is giving him a chance to take on a bigger role as part of the offense. “That’s what we are going to work on all summer, continue to develop Anthony as a ball handler,” said Weir.
This does not mean he will stop shooting as Weir made that very clear during his press conference. The 6-3 guard made 207 three-point shots last year and adding shots off the dribble would only make him that much more dangerous.
The 6-foot-5 Ohio State transfer spent his redshirt year taking his basketball frustration out on his Lobo teammates during practice and now gets to take it out on opponents. He has a strong mental and physical presence on the court.
Lyle could be the bridge at the position despite Weir not wanting to lean on him, “He played it in the Big-10 so if we have to go that route we will.”
As a freshman in 2015-16, Lyle lead the Buckeyes with 147 assists and backed that up with 142 his sophomore season. He shot 45.8 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from the three his final year at OSU.
Whether it’s playing point or off the ball, Lyle’s play is going to be a big factor in how good UNM will be next year.
Rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, the hype train for the incoming freshman is full speed ahead. The 6-foot guard spent his senior season playing for the University School of Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Weir didn’t put anything out there on Drinnon other than, “and a freshman” when addressing the backcourt. While Makuach Maluach had an unexpected breakthrough freshman season, putting high expectations on a freshman point guard won’t help anyone.
Weir in UNM’s release when Drinnon committed to the Lobos, “His talents as a guard who can defend the ball, shoot from three and play fast make this a perfect match.”