TJ Starks maybe shouldn’t shoot outside shots
Starks gave fans plenty of reason for optimism heading into this season as his insertion into the starting lineup propelled the Aggies on a late-season run and into the tournament in 2018. However, it’s been a real struggle for the sophomore athletic phenom.
He, much like fellow guard Chandler, can’t shoot from the outside. Starks has shot just 21-for-95 from downtown, good for just 22 percent on the year. Those 95 attempts are 18 more than second place Mitchell on the team.
It’s a drastic fall off from the 32 percent he shot as a freshman. His overall field goal percentage has dropped from 38 to 34 percent as a result. Early in the season he had a habit of tanking late-game possessions by dribbling the ball at the top of the key and jacking up a three-pointer. It’s akin to the James Harden offense with the Rockets, only Starks can’t run it as efficiently.
He needs to understand his role in the offense and use his athletic ability to break down the defense and create open looks for his teammates.
Chuck Mitchell is hella fun
The JUCO transfer from Trinity Valley Community College has been arguably the Aggies best player in conference play. Kennedy seems more and more trusting of Mitchell and, as the Aggies only consistent threat from outside, he should be.
After shooting double digit shots in just one of his first seven games, Mitchell has shot in the single digits just once in the last eight games. That one time coming against Missouri when Kennedy sat the starters and played walk-ons to send a message. Chuck came on strong and was key to the defeat of Kansas State, scoring all 22 of his points in the second half.
He’s also one of the Aggies’ better perimeter defenders and is averaging more than two steals per game in their last seven (since conference play started). Mitchell is hella fun.
A&M finished a team with authority…finally
One of the Aggies’ biggest problems this season has been executing in crunch time of the second half. They faltered down the stretch against UC Irvine, Minnesota, Washington and Arkansas in various ways. It took a miracle banked three-pointer to come away with a win at Alabama. For whatever reason, the Aggie offense has always stalled late.
After turning a 33-26 early second half deficit into a 38-33 lead, A&M never relinquished it again and built a comfortable cushion late to put the game away. It felt nice to watch an Aggie game against a tough opponent and be the one in the driver’s seat.
Hopefully A&M can build on the positives and correct the mistakes for the rest of the season. They have arguably their toughest week of the year — even at home — with No. 19 LSU and No. 1 Tennessee coming to Reed.