Texas A&M basketball made a run to the Sweet 16 last season, but most of their production has graduated or left for professional basketball.
Billy Kennedy has his work cut out for him in the 2018-19 season for Texas A&M basketball. He lost three starters and a senior bench contributor from the unit that made a run to the Sweet 16 last year. Replacing players that produced 63 percent of their points in 2017-18 won’t be easy, but Kennedy has a plan to utilize his team’s strength this year.
Given most of the guys lost were front court players, Kennedy has shifted the offense to go with more of a small ball attack, a la Villanova or the Golden State Warriors. He returns both guards from last year so it only made sense to make the shift.
But the SEC Media doesn’t see Kennedy being successful with this new offense. Either that, or they see a major drop off in terms of talent, as they picked the Aggies to finish 12th in the SEC this season. Here are the standings they predicted:
- Mississippi State
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
Moreover, the Aggies did not have a single player make the preseason media All-SEC teams. This could be another rough season for Kennedy and the squad.
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But don’t tell that to the Aggies. They believe they are ready to contend and love the new offense. See the possible starting five talk about the expectations for this season.
T.J. Starks emerged as a freshman with a ton of swagger and gave the Aggies a much-needed jolt at the point guard position after Duane Wilson went down. He played with so much confidence and grit that he seems like he could be one of the best point guards in the SEC if he just progresses naturally as a player.
Admon Gilder was once upon a time a Top 100 recruit that went mostly forgotten about with the dominance of the Aggie front court over the last couple of seasons. His ability to defend and hit shots will be crucial to this new style of basketball.
Wing Savion Flagg took over when DJ Hogg sat out a couple games due to suspension and played well. Most importantly he proved in that stretch he could shoot from the outside. He will have to continue improving in that area to keep defenses honest the way Hogg did.
Some of the reason A&M isn’t picked to finish high is their 2018 recruiting class was not that exciting. It ranked No. 120 in the nation, by far Kennedy’s worst finish as the Aggies head coach. He hadn’t finished with a recruiting class worse than No. 51 in his eight seasons.
Wendell “Chuck” Mitchell was one of the better JUCO recruits coming out and Christian Mekowulu is a senior graduate transfer who will contend for the starting big man spot. Brandon Mahan will be a rotation player, but he shot 50 percent from three in his last season in JUCO. He could be a sneaky weapon for this offense.
There’s a chance this team surprises a lot of people the way Alabama did a season ago. Kennedy just has to get the offense moving and there is potential to have one of the best guard rotations in the conference.