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Mountain West Basketball Countdown: #1 - Elijah Brown

Elijah Brown is the first overall player in the 2016 MW countdown.

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico guard Elijah Brown is ranked #1 overall in the 2016 MWC Connection Basketball Countdown.

Brown, who spent the 2013-14 season with the Butler Bulldogs, is the main reason why New Mexico will contend for a MWC title this season. Brown scored 21.7 points, grabbed 5.5 rebounds, dished out 3.2 assists and also recorded 1.1 steals per game last year. Other notable metrics include 83.7% minute percentage, 29.9% shot rate percentage, and 7.2 fouls drawn per 40 minutes, possibly his most intriguing statistic. Brown’s knack to draw fouls has helped him earn countless trips to the line, where he converts more than 85% of his attempts.

Brown will be without backcourt teammate Cullen Neal this season after he opted to transfer to Ole Miss in the spring. What New Mexico does return, however, is efficient forward Tim Williams (3rd overall player in the MW Countdown), rim protector Obij Aget and quality wings Sam Logwood and Xavier Adams.

This is a make-or-break season for the Lobos. Head coach Craig Neal’s seat is warming after two sub-par seasons following a 27-win, nationally ranked team in 2013-14. There isn’t a player in the Mountain West this season that has as much pressure on his shoulders than Brown, who is capable of single-handedly willing the Lobos to victory down the stretch.

If the preseason player of the year can produce as analysts project, New Mexico will at least be in the NCAA Tournament conversation come March.

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