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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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3 takeaways from men’s basketball SEC Media Day

Guard+Wendell+Mitchell+dunks+the+ball+after+a+turnover.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Guard Wendell Mitchell dunks the ball after a turnover.

As November approaches, Texas A&M fans will likely be excited about the holiday season, but also what lies ahead for A&M men’s basketball.
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, head coach Buzz Williams and his players met with SEC media to address the potential of the new team and the influence of the new and transfer players.
Here’s what we learned:
Starting Over
With 11 new players this season, one crucial aspect the team lacks is experience. In fact, junior guard Tyrece Radford is the only player on the team to have ever competed in an NCAA Tournament game. The 2021-22 team has major room to improve and grow while flying under the radar. A&M is unranked, and its schedule consists of quality SEC teams that could make or break the season. Additionally, staying healthy will be crucial for the team to create a powerful starting five. Williams announced on his radio show on Monday, Oct. 25, that one of his transfers, graduate student and forward Jalen Johnson, tore his ACL and will miss the entirety of the season.
The team holds an abundance of talent and has already built strong chemistry. The real challenge for the team will be learning how to collectively play together and applying the lessons being coached to them.
“This team is looking real promising,” graduate guard Quenton Jackson said. “I really enjoy playing with these guys. Building chemistry wasn’t the hard part; being able to apply everything being taught to us will be the part of conflict.”
Buzz to sit out the first two games
Due to violations of NCAA rules, Williams has been suspended for the first two games of the season. The suspension is a result of Williams reaching out to a recruit during a dead period and having knowledge of other violations the coaching staff committed. The violation will go into effect against North Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 10, and run through A&M’s match against Abilene Christian on Friday, Nov. 12. Serving as interim head coach during these two games will be third-year assistant coach Devin Johnson, who has been a part of William’s staff for 11 years and has yet to lead as head coach. Junior guard Andre Gordan said he is ready for Johnson’s opportunity to start off the season strong.
“[I am] very excited for [Johnson],” Gordon said. “This will be a great opportunity for him. He is a great guy and knows exactly what he is doing. He is a father figure for us.”
Return of the 12th Man
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aggies played only 18 games last season and did so with little or no fans. This season, all fan restrictions have been lifted, and Reed Arena will be rocking as normal. In the game of basketball, fans play a huge role in shifting the momentum of the game, and because the team is so young, a majority of the players have yet to experience a packed NCAA matchup. Williams said he and his players are beyond excited to experience the 12th Man back in full swing.
“I can’t articulate [my feelings for it],” Williams said. “A lot of our guys grew up dreaming of having the chance to play at the highest level. I think [the team] is real excited … and they are ready to play.”
A&M begins the 2021-2022 season at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1, against A&M-Kingsville in an exhibition matchup at Reed Arena.

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