Friday, November 28, 2008

Aggies Move To 4-0 With Win Over UNC-Wilmington + A Quick Glance at Tulsa

Well, Tuesday night's game at Reed Arena may very well go down as one of the most unconventional wins of the year. The Aggies took down a VERY undersized UNC-Wilmington squad by a final score of 84-65. What made the game unconventional was that for the most part the Aggies' top three players were non-existent.

Throughout the first half, the Aggies were able to build a fairly commanding 41-26 lead over the visiting Seahawks, but the way that they got there however was far from normal. Josh Carter, Bryan Davis and Donald Sloan had a combined 7 points at the break.

The good news is that Turgeon was able to get 34 points away from his big three, but the bad news is that over the course of the year, you are really going to need for Carter, Sloan and Davis to be there for you night-in and night-out. Against top tier competition you can afford for one (or maybe two) of those guys to have an off night, but not all three of them at the same time.

So, who was key in coming up with those other 34 first half points? The two biggest guys early in the game were B.J. Holmes (finally ! ! ! ) and Derrick Roland. In the second half, Junior Elonu went off to put together the most complete game of his career and had his first ever double-double with 18 points (on 8-of-9 shooting) and 11 rebounds. Nate Walkup also responded nicely to his first start of the season (in place of Elonu) by having another great line of 9 points and 12 boards.

Holmes finally broke out of his slump with a great night shooting the rock and pitched in a career-high 13 points on the strength of 4-of-6 from behind the arc. Finally, Roland also had his best game of the year on a 5-of-8 night from the field to account for his 13 point evening.

Turgeon was pretty upset after the game on Tuesday night as the Aggies did not look very sharp and had a season high 16 turnovers, but he was happy with their season-high 21 assists. Turgeon said, "This was a little different style than they have been playing. I would not say that we played well. One thing I was pleased about is that we were not selfish."

Two quick hits for you guys tonight:
-- Antoine Wright scored a career high 24 points for the Mavericks on Tuesday night in 39 minutes in Dallas' 109-106 win over the Pacers.
-- The Aggies have now won 50 straight regular-season home games. Their last home loss was an 82-80 loss to A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 13, 2003.

The South Padre Invitational now shifts to the South Padre Island Convention Center as the Aggies take on Tulsa tonight in a semi-final game at 7:35. The Aggies will then play either Illinois or Kent State on Saturday.

Tulsa will present a great challenge for the Aggies, and I sure hope they can rise up and take down the Golden Hurricane. Vegas has the Aggies as 5 point favorites, and I think that is probably about right. Tulsa is led by junior guard Ben Uzoh (6'3"), who is averaging 18.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Joining Uzoh to lead the Tulsa attack is Junior center Jerome Jordan (7' 0") and sophomore guard Glen Andrews (6' 2") who both average 10.5 points per game. In addition, Jordan leads the team in rebounding (7.5) and blocks (3.8). Chad Ford of lists Jordan as the #19 prospect in the country for the 2009 NBA Draft.

Ok - You can catch the game on Friday night on Fox College Sports if you have either Comcast, Time Warner or DirecTV (Ch. 617), check your local listings.

Aggie Hoops Score Prediction:
Tulsa 64
Texas A&M 68

We'll have a couple more notes for you guys along the way this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Carry on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Aggies Take On UNC-Wilmington

Just a quick reminder for you guys that the Aggies will host UNC-Wilmington tonight at 7:00 in a 2nd round game of the South Padre Invitational.

Wilmington (2-2) is coming to Reed Arena tonight after losing their first round game at Kent State by a final score of 83-64 on Sunday. The Seahawks, who were 20-13 last year, only have one starter back, Chad Tomko, who is a pretty decent guard. Tomko put up 19 in their loss at Kent State and is averaging 21.5 on the season. Joining Tomko in the backcourt is 6'2" Johnny Wolf who is averaging 21.8 points through their first 4 games and scored 33 points against Troy and had 24 at Wake Forest.

The Aggies are about a 20 point favorite tonight and it would be a pretty big upset if they were to get caught sleeping and drop this game.

I think 20 is a bit aggressive, but this should be a decent 13 to 15 point win for the Aggies.

We'll go ahead and give you our first scoring prediction of the year and call it like this:

Texas A&M 77
UNC-Wilmington 63

I hope you guys all have a great Thanksgiving and we'll have a quick note for you after the game tonight.

As usual, you can watch for free online at

Carry on.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aggies Knock Off Jackson State --- Now 3-0

Well, for about 9:38 of game time on Friday night we saw our first glimpse of just how good this year's Aggie Basketball team can be when they are all on the same page, playing as one unit and making a few baskets. With 4:59 left in the 1st half, the Aggies finally decided to stop sleepwalking and start playing some basketball. Through the first 15 minutes, the good guys were nursing a slim 32-31 lead over a very energetic bunch from Jackson State. At the 5 minute mark they finally came to life and went on a quick 19-5 run to close out the half and head to the locker room in-control with a commanding 51-36 lead.

Coming out of the break, the Aggies kept the throttle wide open and scored 19 more points over the first 4:39 while holding the Tigers to only 10 and pushing their decisive lead to 70-45.

This nearly 10 minute outburst was keyed by three guys, Josh Carter, Bryan Davis and Donald Sloan, which should be of no surprise to you guys. These three are going to have to all be very good this year and will be the heart-and-soul of this team's successes or failures on the offensive end. Of those three, nobody was bigger during that 38 point outburst than Josh Carter, who scored 17 of his game high 25 points during that stretch. Carter was again outstanding on Friday night in going 8-of-13 including 5-of-8 from the three point line.

One other thing I found interesting was the Aggies' scoring distribution which I think was probably how Turgeon would like to see it every night:
Carter - - 25
Sloan - - 17
Davis - - 14
Elonu - - 10
Walkup - - 8
Loubeau - - 8

The Aggies are going to win a bunch of games this season if they can even come close to replicating this type of offensive efficiency with any sort of consistency. There is a little bit of the theory that says "things are never as good as they seem...." in play here, but I will tell you, it was awfully good to see the Aggies play that good on Friday night. Both Carter and Turgeon also were excited about what they saw. Turgeon said "What we saw tonight is a taste of what I get to see every day in practice. A lot of guys are doing well in practice but it is not carrying over to the games." While Carter added, "This is the first time that we have done what we are capable of for extended periods of time throughout the game."

There are a couple of quick hits I wanted to put out to you guys, then we'll let you get back to work:

--- With his 5 three pointers on Friday night, Josh Carter tied Bernard King's (1999-2003) school record of 232 three pointers. Josh will most likely break the record on Tuesday night.

--- BJ Holmes has gotten off to a very slow start shooting the basketball this year. Poor shooting is uncharacteristic for the sophomore guard. BJ missed his first 12 field goal attempts on the season before knocking down a three pointer with 13:18 left in the second half. BJ is now 1-for-15 (7%) on the season including 1-for-9 (11%) from behind the arc. BJ will be just fine as we work through the season, but you hope he snaps out of it soon as the Aggies need Holmes to be a contributor this season.

--- I also want to point out Acie Law had his best game as a pro on Saturday night vs. the Cleveland Lebron's - - Acie had 20 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists in just over 22 minutes.

We're going back to Reed on Tuesday night to check out game 2 of the South Padre Invitational when the Aggies host UNC-Wilmington. We will shoot you guys a note on Tuesday during the day with a quick peek at the match-up vs. the UNC-W Seahawks.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Aggies Open Padre Island Invitational Tonight

The Aggies play a 1st round game in the Padre Island Invitational tonight when they host Jackson State at Reed Arena, tipoff is slated for 7:00.

The Tigers should not put up a huge challenge for the Aggies, but they were the pre-season pick to win the SWAC this year. JSU is led by Grant Maxey, the pre-season SWAC player of the year, one of 4 returning starters. In their opening game, the Tigers lost to LSU in Baton Rouge 79-65 last Saturday.

We'll be heading up again tonight and will have a quick note for you guys over the weekend.

The game can be seen for free online at

Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aggies Move To 2-0 With Win Over SFA

Hey guys - The Aggies got past S.F.A. 55-48 last night in a game that was a defensive struggle from the opening tip.

The two teams combined to only make only 29 shots on the night while missing 62. The Aggies went 15-of-44 (34%) while the Lumberjacks went 14-of-47 (29%).

Three quick things I want to point out:
1.) Derrick Roland did a phenomenal job on SFA's Josh Alexander. Alexander hit 7 threes to account for his 21 points, but 4 of those were when guys other than Rolland were guarding him. Is Roland ready to take over the title of the Big 12's best defender, a spot held down the last 4 years by Oklahoma State's Marcus Dove?

2.) Nate Walkup - welcome to the big-time!!! The sophomore from Deer Park was great last night in grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 7 points. It was easily Walkup's best all-around game since he stepped foot on campus at the beginning of last season. With Junior Elonu in foul trouble all night, Walkup played 27 minutes and was a huge key in the Aggies' win.

3.) This was a classic "book the win and move on" game for the Aggies. SFA is a very good mid-major team who won 26 games last year and should easily get to that number again this year. Turgeon had a pretty funny quote after the game when asked about playing SFA so early in the season. "I have regretted ever since we signed the contract to play them, because i knew how good they were. I knew that this early in the year that we were not ready or this team. I think we played really well but didn't score well."

Here is Brent Zwerneman's recap from the Chronicle this morning:

The Aggies are right back at it on Friday night when they host Jackson State at 7:00 in College Station.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Aggies Win Season Opener!

Hey guys - I am sure everyone saw, but the Aggies did what they were supposed to do and took care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff last night with little problem.

The 76-47 victory for the good guys was never close and they looked MUCH better as a unit than they did last week for their exhibition game vs. TAMU-Kingsville.

Here is a brief recap from Brent Zwerneman who writes for the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle:

We made it up to Reed yesterday afternoon and my quick 2 cents is that as a group, the Good Guys looked much better. Their defensive effort was quite strong against a pretty good sized group from Ark-PB, especially when they were crashing the boards. The Aggies out-rebounded the Golden Lions 38-28 including a very impressive 23 offensive boards for the Aggies.

It is also worth nothing that Josh Carter was simply awesome last night and there is no other way to put it. The lone contributing Senior on the A&M squad had 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting (including 5-of-9 from downtown) while grabbing 6 boards and 2 steals.

Now, outside of Carter, the Aggies shot a very poor 31% (7-of-54) from the field and an even worse 14% (2-of-14) from behind the arc. My guess is that you will not see the Aggies miss this many shots very often. I am chalking it up to a little early season rust and just knowing that I have seen this group shoot the ball much better than they did last night.

One other thing I want to point out is that I found it very interesting to see that B.J. Holmes was the first guy up off the bench for Turgeon last night. There were also quite a few rotations where Turgeon had all three point guards (Sloan, Harris and Holmes) on the floor together. There was about a 5 minute stretch of the 2nd half where he went super-small and had Holmes, Sloan, Harris, Walkup and Loubeau on the floor together. I still have some concerns about this team's lack of size on the interior, but man alive when he goes small they can get up and down the floor like nobody's business. When they were playing fast it was awfully fun to watch.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday) the Aggies host the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin in what will undoubtedly be a closer-than-you-think game for the Aggies. The 'Jacks were 26-6 last year and beat Oklahoma in Norman. They have 4 starters back from last year's squad and are just as good if not better this year. They are led by Josh Alexander who was the 2008 Southland Conference player-of-the-year.

We will be making the trek to Reed again tomorrow and will have a quick look back for you guys later in the week.

Let me know if you guys have any questions or anything else you want to know about this year's squad.

If you are just hangin' around the house (or stuck at work late) tomorrow night you can log onto and watch the game free online.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

2008-2009 Season Preveiw / Roster Breakdown

Hey guys, I hope you are all doing well. Basketball season kicks off on Sunday and I could not be more excited. The Aggies play their home opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Sunday afternoon at 4:00 in a game that should not be much of a contest. The Aggies also played the Golden Lions last season and put up their most impressive defensive effort of the year in holding A-PB to just 37 points as the Aggies waltzed to a 64-37 victory.

OK – We had a chance to scoot up to Reed Arena last Wednesday to watch the exhibition game against TAMU-Kingsville and wanted to pass along a couple of observations from the game. We’ll use the same format we’ve used the last couple of years and just give a quick thought or two on both the “old guys” and “new guys”.

Let’s start with the “old guys”.

Josh Carter – Carter is in an interesting position this year. Being the only Senior on the team kind of forces him into the de-facto team leader roll. I will be very curious to see how Turgeon ultimately decides to use him. He has always been at his best when he can spot up behind the arc or just catch-and-shoot and use his quick release to score the basketball. Carter does not handle the ball very well and looks a bit awkward when trying to create space on the perimeter with the ball in his hand. When he does have the ball on the perimeter, he has a great move to the basket when he can attack the rim and put the ball on the floor with a couple of dribbles going straight at the hoop. Carter will be relied upon greatly to shoulder much of the scoring load for the Aggies.

Bryan Davis – I am also not sure what to think of Bryan Davis. There are times he looks so good as a force in the middle, and there are times on the offensive end where he reminds you of a guy like Marlon Pompey. I hope we see more of the Bryan Davis that led the Aggies in scoring 4 times last season and less of the Bryan Davis that went 1-for-8 and scored 3 points in the exhibition game against Kingsville. One thing you know you are going to be able to count on with Davis is that he will be a big body in the middle that Turgeon can count on to grab more than his fair share of rebounds and take up a lot of room in the paint.

Junior (Chinemelu) Elonu – Even though he is just a junior this year it feels like Elonu has been a member of the Aggie basketball team for about 7 years. One thing that stood out from watching Elonu last week was that he just looks like a beast on the inside, and the guy can jump out of the gym. I don’t think the Aggies will look to #41 to shoulder a large amount of the scoring load this season, but with them being so thin on the inside they will certainly need 25+ solid minutes per game from Elonu. I would look for Elonu’s major contributions to come in the areas of blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. Junior is easily the most athletic guy on the squad.

Donald Sloan – Sloan is going to be the biggest key for success in the Aggies' 2008-2009 campaign. When you see Sloan this year you are going to think something looks different. The Junior from Dallas looks like he has bulked up just a touch, and he came out on Wednesday with an attitude that he was willing to put the entire team on his shoulders and lead them into battle. He looks like a guy who learned from last year how to be a leader and came out with an extra dose or two of some much needed confidence. Sloan will also be relied upon heavily to put up points for the Aggies while running the offense.

B.J. Holmes – The small guard enters his second season with the Aggies and will be relied upon off the bench to run the show when Donald Sloan needs a quick break. Holmes has an above average shot from the perimeter and as mentioned, his biggest strength will be running the Aggie offense for 10 minutes +/- per night. There will also be a few rotations where Turgeon will want to go small, and you will see both Holmes and Sloan on the court together at the same time.

Derrick Roland – I would look for Roland’s primary roll to be filling the defensive gap created from the departure of Dominique Kirk. Roland can get low and has extremely long arms that help make him the Aggies' most effective defender. Roland could also be one of those “sneaky scorers” for the Aggies where you look up at the end of the game and he has 16 points and you have no idea how he got there. Roland will most likely be the guy left open on the offensive end as teams will rotate to Carter and Sloan in an attempt to slow down the Aggies. Roland has above-average offensive game, and if there is one surprise to keep your eye on this year, it may very well be the emergence of Roland as an offensive key for the Aggies.

Nathan Walkup – Walkup is one of those guys who you just can’t help but root for. He is a kid who always looks like he is trying 110% to only be 90% as good as everyone else around him. It’s these elements that make him a fan favorite. Walkup busts his hump on the defense end and is actually an above-average defender but he also has a deadly shot from the perimeter. The one thing that I would look for from Walkup is his ability to actually pull the trigger. I feel like there are more than a handful of times when he is on the floor that he still has a pass-first, shoot-second mentality. Hopefully as he works through year two as an Aggie he will develop a little more tenacity on the offensive end.

OK – Let’s now take a quick look at the “new guys”.

There are basically two new guys, both freshmen, that are going to have to grow up very quickly and become immediate contributors for the 08-09 Aggies.

Dash Harris – A quick-as-a-gnat point guard whose primary strength will be handling the basketball, Harris showed some flashes last week where you can see that he is a pretty slick ball handler. I think Harris could be a guy that can draw some oohs-and-ahs from the crowd as he can flip the ball with no-look, head-fake, and behind-the-back passes with regularity. He is certainly a guy that brings an element of quickness to the lineup and can push the ball the length of the court in a flash. When Harris is running the show I would look for the tempo of the game to be ratcheted up a notch or three.

David Loubeau – A big power-forward (6’9” 215 lb) who has an offensive arsenal that is already more advanced than anything you saw from DeAndre Jordan all of last year. Loubeau’s size and athleticism is obviously nowhere near as advanced as Jordan’s was, but it will not take but a possession or two on the offensive end for you guys to see how much more advanced his overall offensive game is. There were a couple of plays where he got the ball with his back to the basket and a defender behind him. One time he made a quick drop-step move right around his man and went unabated to the rack. The other time he turned toward the rim, squared up, threw a pump-fake at the defender and went right around him with two dribbles again getting to the rim with ease.

I think both Harris and Loubeau could be key contributors this year, but more so Loubeau than Harris just out of roster-necessity. With Elonu and Davis being the only other front-court guys on Turgeon’s roster, Loubeau is going to have to be ready to go immediately and probably to the tune of 15 to 20 minutes per game.

Harris will be spending time right away playing behind Sloan and Holmes, but there are certainly times when Turgeon will be forced to go small and run plenty of sets with any 2 of those 3 (if not all 3) on the floor at the same time.

I would look for your day 1 starting line up to look like the following:
PG Sloan
SG Roland
SF Carter
PF Elonu
PF Davis

I would then look for the following guys to log 10+ minutes per game coming off the bench:
PG Holmes
PG Harris
SG/SF Walkup
PF Loubeau

Obviously, Turgeon’s primary strengths in his roster come on the perimeter as he has a full suite of backcourt guys at his disposal. The good news is that he will easily be able to go 9 quality guys deep, but the biggest concerns lie in the fact that he only has 3 big guys to rotate down low.

I am both very excited and quite curious to see how this group is going to come together. I have to admit, it is a little odd to watch Aggie Basketball without any of the guys on the floor who helped get this thing started (Antoine Wright, Acie Law, Joseph Jones or Dominique Kirk), but it is awesome that they helped lay the foundation to build the program to the point of sustainability that we see today.

When you look at this year’s roster and schedule – I would take an early guess that we’ll see a breakdown along these lines:

Non-Conference Record - 13-2
Conference Record - 8-8
Overall Record - 21-10

I would look for the Aggies to again make the tournament as somewhere between a 7 and 10 seed and win a game or two.

Again – All of this is pretty much just speculation at this point as there are so many pieces that they need to put together. I could easily see this group winning as many as 24 or 25 games, but I could just as easily see them only winning 18 or 19 games.

I think through 6 games we will have a much better idea of where this team will stand and just how good they can be. They should cakewalk to 4-0 (A-PB, SFA, Jackson State and UNC-Wilmington) before they head to Padre for the South Padre Invitational where they have a match-up with Tulsa and then either Illinois or Kent State. When you leave Padre after a pretty decent jump in competition we should know a whole lot more about this group.

Finally – It is also worth pointing out that Mark Turgeon had three guys sign letters of intent to play for the Aggies next season. The three guys we get to wait a full year to see are Naji Hibbert, Kourtney Roberson and Khris Middleton. All three players are in’s top 100 prospects (Hibbert #59, Middleton #64 and Roberson #87), and ESPN rated the Aggies' haul as the 16th best in the country. You can read much more about the recruiting class here:

OK – I’ve taken enough of your time – we’ll be going to the game on Sunday and will have a recap for you guys when we return.

I hope you guys all have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Aggies Win Exhibition Opener - 72-59

Hey guys - the Aggies had their 1st exhibition game last night as they dropped Texas A&M Kingsville 72-59.

We went up to get our first look at the 2008-2009 squad and will have a full breakdown for you over the weekend.

Here is the quick recap from