I understand why Jalen Poyser might want to leave UNLV. He was brought in by the previous staff. But I'm a little surprised Zion Morgan and Troy Braxton Jr. are also leaving. While at NMSU, Menzies usually kept his better players in the program more than a year. I say Menzies has two more season before he starts feeling the heat of the Administration (and Rebel fans) to succeed.
When he loses 18 losses next year,they will realize they made a terrible mistake. he had a terrible season and players realize he cannot coach is way out of a paper bag. This will hurt his one strength which is recruiting.
I wouldn't worry about UNLV players leaving this year. Menzies will have no problem recruiting high level players to a better conference and a place like UNLV. I agree with JT and my prediction is they will be around top half of MWC his second year and top third the following year. Once he gets his guys in for a few years, they will be competing for MWC championships just like he did here year after year. He recruited and developed players that were a shot away from knocking off MSU and SDSU in NCAA tourneys to the WAC. I can only imagine the athletes he will get at UNLV.
UNM is a whole different situation. He didn't inherit a program in full meltdown and come from the outside to get it back on track. Alford left the program with years of success, NCAA tourney appearances, and high attendance. It has steadily gone downhill since, including first round losses in the MWC tourney last 3 years I believe. I don't think Neal lasts past this year.
Word around the Mountain West tournament was that UNLV fans are already not very happy with MM. They were asking UNM fans to please take him back to New Mexico, lol.
Thats probably fan perspective but the decision makers will give Menzies time. The problem is that the entire UNLV community will be extremely restless if there isn't notable success by year 3 (tournament). Menzies can undoubtedly get it done if given 4-5 years. 3 years is a tall order given the hand he was dealt.
Yes, Menzies is in instant-gratification Las Vegas where people don't like to lose. If he can show progress and hope, he will get some more slack. But if he flounders, like some of you think he will, he will be gone.
It's not as if Dave Rice was not recruiting high caliber players. The number 1 pick came from UNLV not too long ago. There are coaches that are good recruiters, some are good at x's and O's, some know how to get the most out of what they have and provide good chemistry and fewer who do a good job at everything. We will know in 2-3 years whether Menzies' can get it done at UNLV, but high level recruits do not guarantee success.
if you look at the team he put together in the previous version of the WAC - Young and Gibson firing 3s, Wen and Troy in the paint, Hamidu protecting the rim, that team would have competed just fine in the MWC. I think he will bring in even better talent in the MWC. Couple that with the team unity he promotes, which many players spoke of as they graduated, and I just don't see him having issues. The only thing that could derail him is if it doesn't happen quick enough as others have mentioned. I don't see there being a ton of pressure on season 2, other than improvement though. Season 3 will be the year that it really turns the corner. Tough to imagine a school with that type of history falling so hard, even briefly. He inherited a mess.
I loved the level of games, especially in the WAC tourney, when we had Fresno, Boise, USU, and Nevada. I wish there was a way we could get into the MWC or even CUSA for all our sports. Alas, it isn't happening in the near future. We need the big boys to go to 4 16 team conferences and end the B12. Basically we need chaos so a slot can open up somewhere for us to fill. I still remember hearing on 690am in El Paso when the WAC took NMSU. And here we are. At least the WAC 2.0 has improved. GCU and CSUB have really upped their games thankfully. Jack Nixon said Utah Valley is improving faster than the other schools in his opinion. So not all is lost, but it definitely isn't the old WAC and it isn't close to the MWC in terms of schools that the average fan wants to see.
MM is a super individual and I think all would agree. He is also a tremendous recruiter. There can be no doubt there. The issue has always been his coaching. I remember attending the WAC championship game at the PAC when they had renovated it and we lost in triple OT to Boise St. The Aggies were on a nice scoring run and after scoring, MM jumped up and called a timeout. It killed all the momentum and was something that the Boise coach should have done, not the coach that is making the run and has all the momentum. It was the weirdest thing and I remember me and my friends discussing how strange it was. It's like he suddenly remembered in his coaching 101 manual that when there are momentum runs, you have to call a timeout, but he didn't realize the other coach was supposed to do it.
I think people forget we were not favored those 2 years that the PAC hosted the tourney. But we were playing at home to sold out crowds, so we had a huge advantage. Not sure MM would have been that successful if the games were not in LC.
In future years, the talent of the WAC was diluted and he won easily with superior players. That does not make him a good coach. I like the guy. I have a lot of respect for him. He continued our hallowed winning basketball tradition. But I don't think he's a good coach and was just in the right place at the right time to rack up a bunch of wins and have success. Time will tell.
If we join the MWC or CUSA would we become Vanderbilt? In a better situation but probably never get to the big dance in basketball or have a winning season in football? Could we stay in the top 4 EVERY year in basketball? Whether we like it or not our budget is not on par to most of these schools.