Has Manny Obaseki's play unlocked a new level for Texas A&M basketball?

Texas A&M basketball is on a three-game win streak, and Obaseki's play may be to thank for the uptick.
Mar 2, 2024; Athens, Georgia, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Manny Obaseki (35) is fouled on his
Mar 2, 2024; Athens, Georgia, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Manny Obaseki (35) is fouled on his / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Improved play of Manny Obaseki could be the difference for Texas A&M basketball

The five-game skid for Texas A&M basketball that nearly knocked them out of NCAA tournament contention felt like it would never end. Going into a game in Athens, Georgia, it felt like another clear opportunity for an upstart team to knock off the flagging Aggie hoops squad.

But before the game began, head coach Buzz Williams made a move—one that read as slightly desperate at the time, but proved to be genius. He inserted former five-star and current junior Manny Obaseki into the starting lineup.

Up until that point, Obaseki had been, in my mind, a story of largely undeveloped potential. It's not hard to see how he got his lofty rating coming out of Allen—his athleticism and physical measurables jump out at you every time he's on the court. His ability to navigate traffic while driving with the ball was eye-catching at points, but he would sometimes make head-scratching decisions.

As I say, that had been the book on him up until the Georgia game. In that game, it looked like a switch flipped.

It didn't show up in the numbers, initially. He notched 12 points on 40% from the floor, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 26 minutes against the Bulldogs—decent numbers, but nothing outstanding. But there was something different about the team when he was out there.

Maybe it was his improved ability to handle the ball and make quick cuts that allowed Taylor and Radford to get a little more space. Maybe it was his aggressive defense, notching two steals. But something just looked different.

Headed into the matchup with Mississippi State last Wednesday, Buzz stuck with Obaseki in the lineup. There, he continued to blossom. He scored 17 points on 50% shooting against State, clearly showing increased confidence in his offensive game.

The regular season finale against Ole Miss, though, was his best game as an Aggie. As anyone who was within earshot of color commentator Jay Wright could tell, Obaseki's hot shooting did wonders for the Aggies in that matchup. This time, he logged 25 on 64.3% from the floor, including not only going 4-5 from beyond the arc, but tough drives just like this one.

Obaseki's growth into the potential he has flashed since day one is the biggest story for this team down this last stretch of the season. It's only a three-game sample size, but he has been a legitimate difference maker for the Ags in that time. If this is real—if it's not a flash in the pan—then this could be nothing short of a season-altering move for A&M.

The aspect of a third ball-handler and scorer—especially one so athletic and who plays with as much grit as Manny does on the defensive end—is massive for this Aggie team. It helps space the floor for the known quantities in Radford and Taylor. That also opens up opportunities for guys like Washington and Garcia in their roles.

Obaseki's breakout, if sustained, could carry the Aggies further than we thought possible a very short time ago. The Ags have made the SEC tournament finals in the previous two years—if this level of play is kept up, it very well could be three. If so... watch out, March Madness.