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When asked how he would describe this year’s team, Las Cruces boys basketball coach William Benjamin doesn’t hesitate. “Special,” the head coach quickly replied.  “I have a point guard that’s very good and I have a big man that’s very good as well.  To have those two things together like this is special.”

The Bulldawgs are considered the favorite to make a run at the blue trophy this season because of their combination of talent and size. “I have Isaiah Carr who’s damn near 7-foot and I have another kid named Kaden Self who’s 6’6” and very mobile.  When you have a point guard like Deuce who can get people the ball and can get to where he wants, I’m blessed.  I’ve had size, but never size like this.  I don’t know if the state has seen a 7-footer like Carr with his ability to catch, his touch, and his ability to finish.  And he blocks shots, as well.  If he’s not blocking, he’s going to make you think about it when you come in there.”

Deuce Benjamin is one of the top scorers in the state.  The senior guard was named the MaxPreps New Mexico Basketball Player of the Year last season. “I‘m very proud of him, he’s worked very hard, he’s focused, which is very hard in this day and age of social media.  He’s been able to improve step by step and day by day and hopefully he can continue to get better.”

“Deuce can score the ball, he knows how to get the ball in the hoop whether he’s shooting jump shots or getting to the basket.  His intelligence of the game is starting to come out and understand you don’t have to score all the time to affect the game.  You can affect the game by being a defensive player, you can affect the game by making good passes, and if you’re a good ball player you should be able to make the game easier for you and make the game easier for your teammates around you.  I think he’s going a great job of that.”

The Bulldawgs played in the state final each of the last two seasons and many of the fans think Las Cruces has the opportunity to go undefeated. “Of course, it’s realistic.  We’re not going to sugar coat or lie, we have an opportunity to run the table, we know that, but we also have an opportunity to lose too if you get ahead of yourself and talk about running the table.  We have some tough games coming up.  It’s always tough to go on the road in district and we still have to go to Hobbs.”

Coach Benjamin knows the expectations are there for Las Cruces to win it all this year, but he says a great record or a possible number one seed doesn’t guarantee anything. “Three years ago, we lost in the 1st round and we were 28-0.  We lost to our district rival Onate.  I try to help them remember that things can happen, it only takes one game, it’s not a seven game series.  We try to keep it realistic and keep it in perspective and have fun with what we’re doing, but understand we have a long way to go to get better so we have to continue to work.”

The Las Cruces Bulldawgs start district play this week.

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