Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Quick Thought on Alabama

Hey guys -

We just wanted to drop you a quick note in advance of the Aggies' game against Alabama on Wednesday night and give you a couple of things to watch for. The game will be broadcast on ESPN-U with a tip-off scheduled for 8:20 PM. ESPN-U is not available on Comcast-Houston but is on DishNetwork channel 148 and DirecTV channel 609.

The Crimson Tide are 3-1 on the young season and their only blemish was an inexplicable 83-85 home loss to Belmont University.

Alabama is led by another top-50 pre-season Wooden watch list candidate, 6'9" junior forward Richard Hendrix. Hendrix is simply a beast and is averaging 23.8 points and 14.5 points per game so far this year. The other big gun for Alabama is Alonzo Gee, a 6'6" junior guard who is averaging 15 points and 8.5 rebounds. The best 3-point shooter for Mark Gottfried's 2007-2008 squad is 6'6" guard/forward Mykal Riley, a JUCO transfer from Panola JC in the fine city of Carthage, Texas.

Joining Hendrix, Gee and Riley in the starting lineup will likely be 6'7" sophomore forward Demetrius Jemison (9.5 / 5.3) and 6'5" sophomore guard Mikhail Torrance (3.3 / 2.3).

Gottfried's rotations have generally been about 8 or 9 guys deep, but he has no significant contributors that come off the bench.

One thing that stood out to me more than anything about the Alabama starting 5 was that their backcourt seems to be quite tall - - 6'5" / 6'6" / 6'6". Does this mean that Kirk, Sloan and Carter will be able to fly by them with their speed, or does it mean that Gee, Torrance and Riley will be able to slow the Aggies down with their size.

On the perimeter I think you may see an extra dose of Derrick Roland as Turgeon will likely use Roland's size to help neutralize the Alabama guards. Inside, I would guess that Turgeon will call on both Junior Elonu and Bryan Davis to come off the bench and help pound on Hendrix as he is clearly the catalyst for the Tide.

A couple of other storylines leading into this game:

- Josh Carter, Richard Hendrix and Alonzo Gee all played together this summer at the Pan American Games Trials where Alabama coach Mark Gottfried was an assistant coach for Team USA.

- Richard Hendrix took a knee to the head in Alabama's last game against Southern Miss and has been limited in practice this week. Coach Gottfried said this week at his weekly press conference, "He’s cleared to play but we want to be real careful with that for a day or two. The negative side is he just hasn’t practiced so you can’t improve when you don’t practice. But at the same time, you want to make sure he’s all the way, 100 percent, which I think he is. So I think he’s ready to go, good to go. But we just wanted to be careful with him for a few days.”

- Vegas has inserted the Aggies as 12 point favorites on Wednesday night. I guess that number seems about right, the only thing I would be concerned with is to see whether or not the Good Guys have any hangover from their time in NYC.

Let's go with another Aggie win and say that they bring home a 71-64 victory on Wednesday night at Reed Arena.

Carry on.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NIT Season Tip-Off Champions!!

On Friday night your Texas Aggie basketball team absolutely dismantled a pretty good Ohio State team by a final score of 70-47 in route to winning the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Unfortunately, the third biggest story on Friday to come out of Aggieland was what the Aggie basketball team accomplished in NYC. There is no doubt their performance on Friday was overshadowed by the football team’s win over Texas and the news of Coach Fran’s resignation. It is too bad that most casual Aggie sports fans missed seeing their basketball team likely catapult themselves into the top 10.

By winning one of the top 2 or 3 “pre-season” tournaments played each year, the Aggies showed the entire country that they are again going to be a major player on the college basketball landscape during the 2007-2008 season.

On Thursday we talked about how we did not know much about Ohio State. Well Jim Boeheim, the head coach of the #21 ranked Syracuse Orange, thought enough about the Buckeyes to say, “Ohio State is without any question a top-25 team.” Boeheim made that statement after Ohio State beat his Syracuse team 79-65 in the other semi-final game on Wednesday night.

On Friday night, the Aggies came out and played hands down their most complete game of the season on both ends of the floor. They used suffocating man-to-man pressure defense to help slow down Ohio State’s inside-out attack and used great offensive balance to build two different leads over 30 points in the second half.

Coach Turgeon threw his entire suite of big men at Ohio State’s Kosta Koufus and they held him to only 10 points and 5 rebounds, both well below his season averages of 20.5 and 8.

On the perimeter the Aggies put suffocating pressure on the Ohio State guards and held the three starters to a miserable 6-for-28 night shooting the basketball. In fact, all 6 baskets by the Ohio State guards were made by Jamar Butler as both David Lighty and Jon Diebler put up 0-fers.

Ohio State shot the ball about as poorly as you could imagine in the second half when they only made 5 field goals on 29 attempts (17.2%). In fact, Ohio State only made one field goal in the first 11 ½ minutes of the second half, a stretch that saw them go 1-for-17 from the field.

When Ohio State finally hit their 2nd FG of the second half the Aggies turned a 31-25 halftime lead into a commanding 54-30 lead. The Aggies would stretch that lead to 31 points at 66-35 and 32 points at 70-38.

From the 32 point lead at 70-38, Ohio State would score the final 9 points of the game to make the final score 70-47.

Offensively the Aggies showed great balance and patience against the zone defense that Ohio State coach Thad Matta threw at A&M for most of the game. The Aggies saw 4 players score in double digits and 9 guys scored overall.

The two biggest surprises to come out of this game were the breakout performances by two reserve guards, sophomore Derrick Roland and freshman Nathan Walkup.

Both kids posted career highs on Friday night when Roland scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and Walkup added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Both Roland and Walkup each made 3 three-pointers adding to their strong performances.

Dominique Kirk had a tough night shooting the basketball (1-for-6), but he did keep the offense moving by adding 7 assists and grabbing 7 rebounds.

DeAndre Jordan and Joe Jones again proved why they are going to be one of the toughest frontcourt combinations in the nation as they combined to score 21 points and grab 15 rebounds (Joe - 10 and 7 / DeAndre 11 and 8).

Turgeon again used a primary rotation of 8 guys, except the biggest difference in this game was that Nathan Walkup’s 14 minutes came at the expense of Beau Mulbach who was averaging 9 minutes per game. If this move is going to be more permanent going forward, that is fine by me.

I am sure Beau Mulbach is a heck of a nice guy, but he is a senior and his upside and value to this team is limited and short-lived. On the other hand, Nathan Walkup is a true-freshman, has more upside, and the more valuable minutes he can get right now, the better off he will be as he continues to develop over the next 4 years.

Do not misinterpret that as me saying Beau Mulbach has no value to this team, he certainly has value as a guy who Turge can call on to come off the bench to relieve one of the starters for a few minutes. I just think that if Walkup is going to be a guy you are going to rely on for the next few years you need to be getting him as many minutes as possible.

Joseph Jones was named the tournament MVP as he averaged nearly 14 points and 7 rebounds in the 4 tournament games.

As we said after the Good Guys’ win over Washington on Wednesday, the experiences that this group of guys got while in NYC for this tournament will be invaluable come March. It was as close of an NCAA tournament type experience as you can find. 2 games in 3 days. Big Arena. National TV audience. BCS Conference opponents.

When I mentioned above that we thought the Aggies now deserved to be ranked in the top 10 when the new polls are released on Monday, if you look at the teams ranked ahead of them that lost last week (Louisville, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan State, Marquette, Oregon, and Gonzaga) coupled with what A&M did in the DSGNITSTO, I don’t think there is any reason why they should not move into the top 10.

We will be going to the game against Alabama on Wednesday (8:00 on ESPNU) and after that I think we will be ready to go ahead and issue our annual “player-by-player” review of this year’s squad.

The Aggies are smack-dab into the meat of their non-conference schedule, a stretch that will see them play 4 games in a row against BCS Conference opponents. After disposing of Washington & Ohio State they next play Alabama on Wednesday and then travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats on Sunday, December 2nd (5:00 on FSN) as part of the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Challenge.


Turgeon keeps the program going at Texas A&M
(If you take time to only read one – read this one.)

The Early Word On ... Texas A&M
(If you take time to read 2, read this next.)

Texas A&M hasn't missed a beat
(If you have time to read 3, this is pretty good too.)

A&M men hammer Ohio State, win NIT Season Tip-Off

No. 15 Texas A&M shuts down Buckeyes' offense in second half

Carry On.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Aggies Playing for NIT Season Tip-Off Championship on Friday

The Aggies will be playing Ohio State on Friday evening for the NIT Season Tip-Off championship!!!

The game will tip off Friday at 6:00, right about the time the football game with Texas should be wrapping up.

Washington Look Back

A&M, plagued by the turnover bug, also had to overcome a miserable shooting night to beat a pesky Washington squad 77-63 on Wednesday evening.

In Wednesday's win, the Aggies were led by strong performances by Donald Sloan (18 points, 5 rebounds), Dominique Kirk (15 points, 4 assists) and Joseph Jones (17 points, 9 rebounds). Josh Carter had a very tough night shooting the ball in going 2-for-11 in scoring 5 points, but the junior from Dallas did manage to pull down 7 rebounds.

DeAndre Jordan had a ho-hum night in scoring 8 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He did miss his second shot of the game though, ending his streak of 17 straight makes.

One other guy who stood out was Bryan Davis - the big guy came off the bench and again proved that he is one of the hardest working guys in college basketball. Davis spent a good portion of time on the floor in the second half when the Aggies started to pull away from Washington. What Davis brings every night does not always show up in the boxscore, but he is out there busting his tail and making big plays on both ends of the floor for Coach Turgeon.

One big area of concern for this group of guys continues to be their HORRENDOUS free-throw shooting. On Wednesday night the Aggies managed to only make 22 of their 40 attempts (55%). Eventually this is going to catch up with them and cost them a game that they should have otherwise won. On the season they are 93 of 157 ( 59.2%). Ouch or Yikes, you choose.

Ohio State Look Ahead

OK - Let's take a quick look ahead to Ohio State.

The buckeyes are led by 7'0" freshman center Kosta Koufus (yes, he's Greek) who scored 24 points to help lead the Buckeyes past the 21st ranked Syracuse Orange in the other semi-final game on Wednesday night. Koufus is averaging 20.3 points and 8 rebounds per game on the young season. The other big gun for OSU is senior guard Jamar Butler who is averaging 16.3 points per game and shooting a stellar 54% from behind the arc.

Joining Koufus and Butler in the starting lineup will be Senior G/F David Lighty (13 points per game), Senior Forward Othello Hunter (13 points, 8 rebounds) and Freshman guard Jon Diebler (6 points per game).

Thad Matta's rotations do not extend too far beyond 7 primary guys as his bench is just not deep enough yet to rely on too many additional players.

If the Aggies can find a way to win on Friday it would be a great way for Turgeon's guys to head into the toughest part of their non-conference season.

On Wednesday night the good guys looked way too tight and flat-out nervous at times, I was glad to see them finally settle in and play some decent basketball. In fact, it was so bad at the start that Turgeon was even quoted as saying, "We were scared to death at the beginning of the game."

For a lot of these new guys, this is a rare opportunity to get some big game experience under their belts playing in the bright lights of the big city. These are the types of games and situations that can really pay dividends come March.

My guess is that the Aggies will come out looking much better on Friday and play a more complete game.

The guys in Vegas have inserted the Aggies as a 3 point favorite and I do not know nearly enough about Ohio State say with any great conviction, but I would guess that the Aggeis should be able to get on top of that number. If they come out and play like we have seen in certain flashes this season I think they can win this game by 10+ points.

I'll be the proper homer that I am supposed to be and we'll say that the Aggies will win by 8 and a final score of 72-64.


Defense wins for No. 15 Texas A&M in NIT Tip-off

A&M puts squeeze on Washington

A&M blocks UW's path to final

Carry on.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Aggies Defeat Ouachita Baptist - Head to New York City

A quick look back at Ouachita Baptist

On Saturday night the Aggies easily defeated Ouachita Baptist by a final score of 85-59.

The game was not nearly as close as the 26 point final margin indicated, and the best thing to come out of the game was that Mark Turgeon was able to play 18 different kids. It's always fun when the last 5 minutes of the game you keep asking yourself, "Who?"

All kidding aside it was good to see guys like Marshall Carrell, Chris Chapman, Shawn Schepel, Andrew Darko and Denzel Bowles get off the bench and get a few minutes late in the game.

Bryan Davis led all Aggies by scoring 15 points on a very efficient 6-of-9 from the field. Big #0 also added 6 boards, 3 offensive & 3 defensive.

However, the big story of the night was DeAndre Jordan, surprise-surprise.

Saturday, the 7'0" freshman continued to dazzle and set both a school and big 12 record in the process. Jordan finished the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds (the first double-double of his young career). Jordan had another perfect night from the field (his 3rd consecutive game without a miss) in going 6-for-6, and he set both a school and Big 12 record by making his 16th consecutive field goal without a miss. The old Big 12 record was held by Nebraska's Mikki Moore (13 straight). The last basket DeAndre missed was a jumper with 0:04 left in the first half of the Aggies' opening game against McNeese State back on the 9th of November.

DeAndre is now 20-for-22 (.909) on the year and very clearly leads both the Big 12 and the nation in the category of FG percentage.

We'll talk about DeAndre's struggles from the free-throw line (0-for-4) some other time.

The only other thing that stood out from Saturday was Josh Carter's ho-hum night.[<--- sarcasm] Josh threw in 3 of the 5 three-pointers that he put up. JC finished with 12 points and as usual, he made more than he missed.

A quick look ahead to Washington

OK - Let's take a quick look ahead to Wednesday night.The Aggies take on Lorenzo Romar's Washington Huskies at 6:00 CST in the semi-finals of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The game against U-Dub will certainly be the best competition that A&M will have faced to date and should provide a very good measuring stick for the 2007-2008 Aggies.

The Huskies are led by 6'7" Junior forward Jon Brockman, who through three games this year is averaging 23 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Brockman had a monster game in scoring 31 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in the Huskies' win over Utah that put them into the semi-final matchup with the Aggies. Brockman is listed on the pre-season Wooden Award watch list.

Joining Brockman in the Huskie frontcourt is 6'6" Quincy Pondexter.

My guess is that Turgeon will look early and often inside to Joe Jones (6'9") and DeAndre Jordan (7'0") to take advantage of the severe size mismatch in favor of the Aggies. That being said, I will be curious to see how Jones and Jordan handle the speed and quickness of the smaller Brockman and Pondexter when the Aggies are back on defense.

Usually "smaller" translates into "quicker" and this is certainly the case with the Huskies. I suspect that you will see Turgeon operate a revolving door off the bench and use the athletes he has at his disposal to keep fresh legs coming at the Huskies. The Huskies start a three-guard, two-forward rotation but Coach Romar has 9 guys that are averaging double-digit minutes this season.

The other DSGNITSTO semi-final features Ohio State vs. Syracuse with the two winners meeting in the championship game on Friday while the two semi-final losers will meet in the consolation game.

I hope you guys all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy spending time with your friends and family.

We'll have a quick look back at Wednesday's game and also take a quick peek at their match-up with either Syracuse or Ohio State on Friday.


Aggie men's basketball team beats Ouachita Baptist

Davis, Jordan carry No. 15 A&M to rout

Freshman breaks Big 12 record in A&M victory

Turgeon signs pair of Florida prep standouts

Carry on.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NIT Tip-Off Update

Well, first off, let me apologize to you guys for not getting this put together sooner. I took a new job at my company in September, and well, let’s just say that this fall I will not have nearly the time to dedicate to this project as I have over the past two basketball seasons.

That being said, I am going to try my hardest to get regular reports out to you guys on a timely basis and as my job and home-life will allow.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the Aggie basketball team and their upcoming trip to New York City!!!

The Aggies faced their first big test this year, games in back-to-back nights. They passed not necessarily with flying colors, but they did pass nonetheless.

ORU Recap

On Tuesday night the good guys took on Scott Sutton’s Oral Roberts team (yes, Scott is Eddie’s son and Sean’s brother). ORU, while not a big national name, usually fields a very competitive group. You need to look no farther than last season when they went into Lawrence and knocked off the #3 Jayhawks.

ORU has a pair of guards that would see minutes for just about any team in the country in Robert Jarvis and Adam Liberty. Both players are quick, scrappy guards and will be the backbone of Sutton’s squad this year.

OK, enough about ORU – let’s get to the game from Tuesday night.
The Aggies came out a little bit tight and fell behind 8-to-12 early in the 1st half before they went on a monster run that showed Aggie fans and a national ESPN-U audience just how good this group could be.

From the 12:44 mark of the 1st half, the Aggies outscored the Golden Eagles 29-to-5 to close out the half with a 37-17 lead. The nearly 13 minute run was easily the Aggies’ best stretch of basketball this season.

The best thing about the run was that the Aggies were knocking down shots from all over the floor. Josh Carter, Joe Jones & Derrick Roland each hit three-pointers, and DeAndre Jordan was doing what he does best, crushing people with power two-handed dunks.

On the defensive end of the floor, the Aggies bowed up and put some serious pressure on the ORU perimeter shooters. The defensive charge was led by Dominique Kirk (no surprise) but also Derrick Roland. D-Ro was simply outstanding in helping to shut down both Jarvis and Liberty.

The Golden Eagles shot a putrid 6-for-23 (26%) from the field in the first half, including only going 2-for-11 during the Aggies’ big second half run.

Coming out of the break, the Aggies looked very shaky again on both ends of the floor as ORU went on a 14-to-3 run to cut the Aggies’ 20 point half-time lead to only 9 points at 40-to-31. A big contributing factor to the ORU run was the fact that the Aggies turned the ball over 5 times in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd frame.

Turgeon, trying to stop the rally, pulled 4 of his 5 starters less than 4 minutes into the 2nd half. The guys off the bench (Roland, Davis, Elonu, Mulbach) responded well, and Junior Elonu helped to lead a huge charge that saw the Aggies push the lead right back up to 18 points at 51-33.

From that point on the teams basically went on cruise control leading to the final score of 67-53.

The Aggies were lead by Josh Carter’s 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. DeAndre Jordan also did not disappoint in scoring 12 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. Jordan is simply a beast, and you guys need to all make it a point to get to Reed Arena and check him out. If he is not one-and-done I will be very surprised.

Scott Sutton also had some nice things to say about the Aggies and also Jordan. “Aggie fans need to get out and watch this young kid play. He's a special player, and he's probably not going to be around here very long. I thought that was a little disappointing, that only 8,400 people showed up.”

Cool. Ouch.

But you understand his point.

Quick Hits from the ORU game.

- 9 players saw double digit minutes for the Aggies with six guys playing 23+ minutes each (Jordan, Sloan, Jones, Kirk, Carter, Roland). The other three players who got into double digit minutes were Elonu, Davis and Mulbach.

- In the 1st half, ORU only made 6 field goals and had 1 assist. What that tells you is that A&M’s defensive pressure really took them out of their normal offensive flow. All but one of their six made baskets was outside of the normal flow of the offense.

- Junior Elonu had his best all-around game as an Aggie. The big sophomore only scored 7 points and had 3 rebounds, but let me tell you, he was single handedly responsible for thwarting the 2nd half run by ORU. His hustle and aggressive play not only propelled the Aggies in the 2nd half, but he also got the crowd on their feet on multiple occasions.

The other game in College Station on Tuesday night saw UTEP knock off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, setting up a matchup between the Aggies and UTEP with a trip to New York City on the line.

UTEP Recap

Taking a quick look back at Wednesday night’s win over UTEP:

The UTEP Miners came out as hot as a team possibly could in the 1st half of the game. The group from the West Texas Town of El Paso (yes, you should be singing a Marty Robins song in your mind right now) came out and hit 7 of their first 10 three point attempts in pulling out to an early 29-to-19 lead with 8:40 left to go before the break.

The only reason the Aggies were able to hang around by halftime was due to their tenacious inside play. Turgeon’s boys were crashing the boards at a mad pace and grabbed a ridiculous 13 offensive rebounds in the first half. Those 13 offensive boards allowed the Aggies to outscore the Miners 13-to-0 in 2nd chance points heading into the break.

As they headed to the intermission, UTEP was smelling an upset as they had an impressive 42-34 lead. UTEP took control of the first half behind the strength of their 8-for-16 from behind the 3 point arc.

Coming out of the break, UTEP took further control of the game and pushed their lead to 10 points at 46-to-36 when Stefon Jackson slammed home a dunk at the 19:10 mark of the 2nd half.

The Aggies rattled off the next 6 points of the game and cut the lead to 4, but UTEP responded with a little 6 point run of their own. When the dust settled, UTEP held their second 10 point lead of the 2nd half at 52-to-42.

Derrick Roland hit a layup, followed by back-to-back threes by Kirk and Carter, and the Aggies found themselves right back in the game.

From the point where they were down 10 at 42-52, the Aggies went on an 18-to-6 run capped off by a Beau Mulbach free-throw that put the Aggies ahead 60-to-58 at the 7:50 mark of the final frame.
Both teams set up shop, dug in deep and tried to find a little extra energy as the wear of playing in back-to-back games was certainly taking its toll on both groups of kids.

The next 4 minutes of the game seesawed back and forth with both teams taking leads and also saw the scored tied up 4 different times.

At the 2:15 mark, Josh Carter hit a three pointer that finally put the Aggies up for good and allowed them to punch their ticket to the Big Apple. The Aggies defeated the Miners by a final score of 81-76.

Seeing the good guys bounce back from two 10-point second half deficits showed that this group has some heart and will not fold under pressure.

Up next is a quick match up with Ouachita Baptist on Saturday before they head to MSG where they will get their two biggest tests of the young season.

The Aggies will play the Washington Huskies on Wednesday evening before playing either Ohio State or Syracuse on Friday.

Quick Hits from the UTEP game.

- 7 players played double digit minutes on Wednesday night with Dominique Kirk leading the way playing 37 minutes.

- Tuesday night’s hero, Junior Elonu, only played 3 minutes on Wednesday night. I wonder if he was hurt?

- After lighting it up in the first half, UTEP only managed to go 2-for-10 from the 3 point line in the 2nd half.

- One big red flag, A&M on managed to make 23-of-39 free throws. Yikes!

- Part of the reason the Aggies found themselves down at halftime was that they only went 1-for-8 in the 1st half from behind the 3-point line.

- As will most likely be the case in most games, A&M outrebounded UTEP 43 to 28.

I hope to put together a quick thought on Washington for you guys next week as well as a look back at Saturday night’s game against Ouachita Baptist.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend Recap / Pre-Season NIT

I was out of town all weekend and did not get a chance to pass a few links along to you guys, but the Aggies opened up on Friday night with a very impressive 73-50 vicotry over McNeese. The game was actually on FSN and I am sorry that I did not know that in advance. I wish I would have known so that more of you could have tuned in to watch.

Speaking of TV, the first two games of the Pre-Season NIT this week are on ESPN-U Tuesday night and Wednesday night at 8:00 CST.

We will be going to both games and have MUCH more for you later in the week.

Here are a few links following the win on Friday night:
/topstories/stories /111007dnspoammen.38a8b1d.html



One other note - - the pre-season NIT is an NCAA event, therefore student's sports passes are not valid for entry into the arena. The students must independently purchase a ticket for the games this week. Not wanting the South end of Reed Arena to be partially empty, Turgeon went out and spent $10,000 of his own money purchasing tickets and is giving them away to the students.

Seems a heck of a way to make a first impression if you ask me.

Have a good week, don't forget to tune in on Tuesday & Wednesday night.

Carry on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Aggies Wrap Up Exhibition Season 2-0

The Aggie basketball team wrapped up the exhibition portion of their schedule last night with a hard-fought 71-62 victory over Tarleton State. The Aggies looked much better at times during the win, but one thing that remained clear is that this group of guys has a lot of work to do before they are ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Alabama, Arizona and LSU all before heading into the rugged Big 12 schedule.

That being said, the difference in the offensive flow of the game from last Thursday night to the game on Monday night was VERY obvious. They looked much better, much more in-sync, and all seemed more comfortable working together in Turgeon’s offense. I would suspect that it will do nothing but get even better from here.

Here are a few highlights/thoughts from last night’s game:

- Turgeon rolled out a new starting lineup - - - Jordan / Sloan / Kirk / Carter / Jones. I’ll be curious to see if these are going to be the guys that he is going to war with for the most part of the early slate. If there was one surprise in my mind it was that Jordan started ahead of Davis. Do not interpret that as me saying that Davis is better than Jordan; I am simply saying that after Davis started game 1 and played VERY well in that game I was surprised to see him come off the bench in game 2.

- Turgeon also used a primary rotation of only 7 guys last night, the above starting five, with Bryan Davis and Derrick Roland coming off the bench to play 25 and 23 minutes respectively.

- Elonu (8 min), Mulbach (3 min), Walkup (4 min) & Homes (4 min) were the only other Aggies to see action on Monday night.

- Bryan Davis had a blue-collar day at the office yesterday scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and grabbing 6 rebounds.

- Joe Jones led the Aggies on Monday night with 17 points (11-of-14 from the FT line).

- The NBA league pass is on a free-preview this week and tonight you can watch both “Aggies in the NBA” go toe-to-toe as Antoine Wright and the New Jersey Nets host Acie Law and the Atlanta Hawks. The game tips off at 6:30 central time. If you go to your guide and scroll down to where all of the sports PPV channels are you should be able to find the “NBA League Pass” games.

- Don’t forget the Aggies open up the regular season on Friday night against McNeese State at 7:00.

Additionally, here is a decent recap of last night’s game from The Eagle:

Hope you all have a good week.

Carry on.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Emporia State Quick Thoughts

First things first, if anyone wants to go to opening night on Friday this week, we are going to be unable to use our tickets. Please let me know if you have any interest in using them. The Aggies open up the regular season against McNeese State on Friday at 7:00.

OK – Now that we are done with our shameless plug, I am sorry about the delay in getting back to you after Thursday’s first Exhibition game.

I am going to wait a couple of weeks before getting you a full roster review of each guy, but I at least wanted to give you a couple of quick thoughts after watching them in person on Thursday.

The first thing that stood out to me is how young this year’s team is going to be.

At one point in the first half, Turgeon had the following guys on the floor:

Donald Sloan – Sophomore (Starter)
Derrick Roland - Sophomore
Josh Carter - Junior (Starter)
Bryan Davis – Sophomore (Starter)
DeAndre Jordan – Freshman

Also consider the following guys that will likely make up the balance of Turgeon’s 11 man rotation, most of whom are going to be major contributors this year:

B.J. Holmes – Freshman
Nathan Walkup – Freshman
Junior Elonu – Sophomore
Joseph Jones – Senior (Starter)
Dominique Kirk - Senior (Starter)
Beau Mulbach - Senior

We will certainly discuss those 11 guys in the coming weeks as we start to piece together what Turgeon’s rotations will look like as they work their way through the early part of the season.

For the better part of the entire night, the Aggies looked very unpolished and sloppy, but they were playing some of their best basketball when that group of 5 youngsters listed above was running the show.

I know a lot of you guys are curious about the big fella, DeAndre Jordan, so let me give you a couple of my early thoughts on the not-small freshman from Houston.

There is no doubt that you can tell DeAndre could be a very special player. I know it is an overplayed term in today’s sports landscape, but Jordan just screams out ‘potential’. He has “man-amongst-boys” size, and for a guy who is pushing 7’0” and checks in at 260 lbs, he seems to move up and down the court quite effortlessly.

All of that being said, there were times when you could tell that early in the season, he is simply going to be too young and too raw to handle the day-to-day minutes that he will no-doubt command in the very near future.

In-fact, Jordan did not start on Thursday, and I would suspect it will be a few games before he is officially declared a starter.

If you need one additional perspective on where Turgeon stands with Jordan, check out this quote from Turgeon at the Big 12 media day in October, “He’s going to have a tremendous year for us and a great career. But people have to be patient with him out there and understand that he’s been so highly talked of, it’s the biggest recruit A&M has had in a long time. There’s a lot of pressure on him.”

I guess what I am trying to say, is that all of us, myself included, need to express extra patience with Jordan.

He will show flashes of just how good he can be, for example, the two NASTY dunks he had Thursday night, or the two tremendous blocked shots he had.

Then again, in the very next sequence, he will draw a foul inside and knock his first free throw off the backboard completely missing the rim altogether. The next time down he would dribble off his foot, or hang the ball out too low while trying to get position inside and let an undersized guard come in and swipe the ball right out of his hands.

My biggest fear is that DeAndre will be one-and-done before heading off to join Acie Law and Antoine Wright as “Aggies in the NBA” and that we may not get to enjoy him playing his best basketball.

Then again, does it ever hurt to have as many guys as possible in the NBA with “Texas A&M” by their name?

We’ll have much more on Jordan and the rest of the 2007-2008 Aggies in the coming weeks.

On Monday (November 5th) the Aggies close out their exhibition season against Tarleton State (I’ll go ahead and answer your next question, the school is located in Stephenville, TX).

Don’t go to sleep on the TSU Texans though, they went into Waco and handed the Bears a 95-85 loss on Friday night. I hope Tarleton State does not provide as tough of a test for the Aggies as Emporia State did, but then again, with as many young guys as are playing in a new system, it could be a few games before they all start to click.

Carry On.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Exhibition Season Opens Tonight!

Hey kids -

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. The pumpkin in front of our house did not wind up smashed in the street, so I guess ours was a success.

Anyway, the Aggie Basketball team kicks off their exhibition slate tonight at Reed Arena against Emporia State. We will be going up to get our first look at the 2007-2008 squad and we will have much more for you guys over the weekend.

You can watch the game for free online by clicking on the following link:

Articles of interest

Aggies Open Exhibition Slate Against Emporia State:

Woodson deciding which players will run offense (Acie Law):

Bulls rally but fall to Nets in OT as Kobe rumors rage on (Antoine Wright career high):

Carry on.