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

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

The Battalion

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A&M men’s basketball set to tip-off regular season against North Florida

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Men’s basketball head coach Buzz Williams made an appearance at the Saturday, Nov. 6 Midnight Yell to drum up support for the upcoming men’s basketball game. 

Texas A&M men’s basketball officially tips off its regular season this week at Reed Arena, looking to grab its first win against North Florida.
A&M enters its third season under head coach Buzz Williams looking to improve off last season’s 8-10 record. The 2021 squad will look vastly different from last year’s team that won just two conference games, finished last in the Southeastern Conference in offensive efficiency and ranked 12th in defensive efficiency.
However, Williams will be absent for games one and two due to suspension. Assistant coach Devin Johnson, who is in his third year at A&M and 11th year as a member of Williams’ staff, will take over head coaching duties. Williams said Johnson is special because of his relationships with the players and that he’s equipped for success because of his knowledge of Williams’ system.
“This is a great opportunity for him,” Williams said. “He’s more than prepared. He knows what’s good about what we do and what’s bad. He’s very familiar with our team because he’s the closest person in our program to our players.”
Freshman guard Manny Obaseki said as one of Johnson’s players, he’s happy to see Johnson in a head coaching role and that Johnson is ready and eager to step into the position.
“Devin’s my guy, so I’m really excited for him,” Obaseki said. “I can tell he’s really excited. You can just tell with the pep in his voice and his energy that he brings when he’s talking to us. It kind of just shows that he’s prepared and he’s ready.”
The night of Nov. 10 will be the first time A&M and North Florida have faced each other. The Ospreys’ roster is young, with only one junior and the rest being either freshmen or sophomores. However, that junior is standout forward Carter Hendrickson, who was selected to the preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference team.
Hendrickson earned first-team All-ASUN honors as a sophomore and was the ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Last year he led North Florida in points-per-game, was third in the conference in three-pointers made and had five games with 20 or more points. He could pose problems for A&M’s guard-oriented playstyle that was on display against A&M-Kingsville, which the Aggies won 76-72.
North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said Hendrickson’s nomination was well-deserved and that he’s had great preparation for the start of the Ospreys’ season.
“Carter Hendricksen has earned this accolade,” Driscoll said. “He has done an amazing job, along with our entire team, preparing himself physically and mentally for our challenging non-conference slate, which will launch us into the grind of ASUN play.”
Williams said it will be a good opportunity to go up against a team that can shoot from 3-point range, and that his team will have to be disruptive and not allow many open looks.
“I anticipate they’ll play zone [defense] 85 percent of the time in the game,” Williams said. “They led the country last year in threes-in-transition, and they were top-10 in the country in three-pointers-attempted. 17 percent of their shots last year were two-pointers. If you’re late on the catch or you don’t contest the shot, they’re good enough to beat you.”
Junior guard Tyrece Radford, a Virginia Tech transfer, and sophomore guard Marcus Williams, a Wyoming transfer, will play important roles for A&M right away in game one. Marcus Williams earned Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors last season, averaging 14.8 points and 4.3 assists-per-game. His 14.8 points-per-game ranked eighth among freshmen in the country.
Coach Williams said Marcus is a great player who makes the right decisions on offense as a ball-handling guard, and he has grown as a defender since arriving in College Station.
“He’s a really good player, he has a really bright future,” Buzz said. “Has really good instincts offensively. Very comfortable off of a ball screen and makes the right read at the right time. He’s made strides defensively, that’s where he’s got to continue to improve. But he has made significant strides. He changes the complexion of our team.”
Marcus said he looks at himself as one of the leaders of the team, and that his freshman year at Wyoming gave him that opportunity because people have seen what we can do.
“I feel like being a leader on this team is a big part of my role,” Marcus said. “I feel like I have a role of being a leader just from the background and me coming here with what’s projected onto me.”
The Aggies and Ospreys tip-off their regular seasons at 7 p.m. at Reed Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Both teams will be looking for their first regular win of the 2021 season and their first-ever win against the opposing school. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network+.

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