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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Men’s basketball team will count on fresh faces for fire

In his first year as head coach at Texas A&M, Billy Gillispie has been dealt a hand that many coaches in Division I-A would consider cruel – or challenging at the least.
With only six returning lettermen from last year’s dismal squad that was winless in conference play, Gillispie is looking to a handful of freshmen and newcomers to ignite a refreshed A&M attack.
Signed in the off-season, freshmen Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones are expected to produce immediate returns for Gillispie and the Aggies and will see playing time right out of the gate.
“I think he is really progressing well, but he is a freshman, and a freshman in the Big 12,” said Gillispie about Jones, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound product of Normangee, Texas. “Even though there have been a lot of guys that make major impacts early, he will definitely have to be a big impact for our team.”
As a junior at Normangee High, Jones averaged 18.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 3.1 steals per game, while leading his team to a 37-2 record and a Class-A State Championship.
“He has continued to impress,” Gillispie said. “I saw him in the state championship, and I look forward to coaching him. He has a chance to come in and really help this team.”
Dominique Kirk, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound freshman guard out of Bryan Adams High School in Dallas was signed by Gillispie in May.
“Dominique brings a lot of game, but he also has a lot of intangibles, and I’m excited to have him join our backcourt,” Gillispie said. “He gives us some flexibility because he can play more than one position. He’s a playmaker.”
As a senior last year, Kirk put numbers unmatched in Class-5A in the Dallas area. Kirk was the only area player to post more than 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists per game, averaging 16.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
“Dominique will make an outstanding college player,” said Bryan Adams coach Jeff Stout. “He has tremendous work habits and is very coachable.’
Kirk said he isn’t worried about learning the new systems or about facing the competition in the Big 12.
“I like this team. I think there are some guys stepping up a little bit,” Kirk said. “We have to buy into the system, play hard every night and try to get adjusted to the college level. I’m a freshman, so I have to get used to the college atmosphere.”
Junior Antoine Wright, the Aggies’ on-court leader, added his remarks about the incoming freshman class.
“For the young guys, I try to encourage them to come into practice focused and ready to go,” he said. “It’s important for us to show the new guys that we are here to bind to what Coach’s philosophy is, and we are just here to learn like they are. It’s important for us to all get on that same page so we can have a better year.”

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