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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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June 16, 2024

A&M basketball reaches long-overdue success

Billy+Kennedys+Aggies+are+winners+of+their+last+10+games%2C+last+losing+on+Dec.+5+at+Arizona+State+67-54.
Photo by By Morgan Engel

Billy Kennedy’s Aggies are winners of their last 10 games, last losing on Dec. 5 at Arizona State 67-54.

History has been made.

For the first time, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team landed in the No. 5 spot in both the AP poll and the coaches poll. The milestone is significant for both head coach Billy Kennedy and the Aggie program, considering the rough beginning to Kennedy’s tenure in Aggieland.

From being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2011 to a 14-18 record in his first season, Kennedy overcame many obstacles to get to this point. 

With a slight improvement to 18-15 in the 2012 season, expectations brewed leading up to Kennedy’s third year at the helm. Unfortunately, the Aggies couldn’t improve on the previous year and posted a similar 18-16 record. Many Aggie fans were looking for the athletic director to make a change at head coach and bring in someone who could deliver an NCAA tournament berth, something that A&M hasn’t seen since the departure of Mark Turgeon. 

With all the noise surrounding Kennedy and the program, Kennedy was retained by the Aggies, but expectations were understandably high. Newly- acquired transfers Danuel House and Jalen Jones from Houston and SMU respectively, along with junior Alex Caruso, were signs of hope that the NCAA drought would come to an end.

At the conclusion of the South Carolina victory on Feb. 21, 2015, the Aggies were sitting at a record of 19-7 and experts like ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi declared Texas A&M as one of four teams that were “on the bubble.” A&M stumbled toward the finish line, losing four of their final five games to fall into a National Invitational Tournament spot.

Although the Aggies failed to qualify for an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, there was again reason for optimism in Aggieland. The 2015 recruiting class of DJ Hogg, Tyler Davis, Admon Gilder and Elijah Davis was a highly rated class, with all four players within the top 64 of the ESPN top-100 recruits. 

This type of talent is usually reserved for basketball powerhouses like Kentucky and Duke, where top recruits routinely find their home. Impact freshmen like this don’t usually come to Aggieland, but Billy Kennedy and associate head coach Rick Stansbury managed to get these highly touted players. 

This season, Kennedy’s fifth, has been the product of hard work and effort. The Aggie roster is balanced between experienced senior transfers like Anthony Collins and talented freshmen such as Admon Gilder. All areas of the basketball floor are accounted for in this roster — from outside shooting in House and Hogg to rebounding and finishing in close from Davis and Jones. 

I’d say that Kennedy’s job is safe for the foreseeable future. 

Mickey Gashaw is an ocean engineering senior and co-sports editor for The Battalion.

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