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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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A&M men’s basketball takes on TAMU-Kingsville in exhibition

Photo by foto cowboy

Wednesday, March 23 in Reed Arena

The Texas A&M men’s basketball team is making its return to Reed Arena on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The Aggies will play Texas A&M-Kingsville in an exhibition that is free to the public.

Friday’s exhibition is the first return to action since the Aggies’ run in the NIT Tournament in March. Despite being left out of the NCAA Tournament, A&M made it to the NIT championship where they ultimately lost to Xavier 73-72. 

The Aggies started off their season 15-2 last year before losing eight straight games. With the season looking like a lost cause, the Aggies inexplicably finished 10-2, made the SEC Tournament finals and later the NIT championship. 

It is safe to say, then, that most do not know what to expect out of the Aggies this season. A&M coach Buzz Williams will try to build upon the success in the SEC and NIT tournaments and play with more consistency.

“I hope that we can somewhat begin this year the way the momentum carried us the last 14 games of last year,” Williams said.

Williams will certainly miss guard Quenton Jackson, who graduated and was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Washington Wizards. Jackson led the Aggies down the stretch, as the super senior averaged 14.8 points per game. Losing his most dynamic player, and best scorer will be tough for Williams to navigate.

“We’ll miss his competitive character,” Williams said. “We’ll for sure miss his speed and his skill. I thought over the last month of the season, he was one of the better perimeter players in the country.”

The Aggies also lost third-year guards Marcus Williams and Hassan Diarra. Williams took a leave of absence mid-season and ended up entering the transfer portal, and Diarra never fully took over a starting spot. 

Junior center Henry Coleman, senior guard Tyrece Radford and sophomore Wade Taylor IV highlight important returners for the Aggies. Coleman, Radford and Taylor were huge for the maroon and white down the stretch and will have to be again for a successful season. Williams ran a different style of offense late in the year which appeared to give a spark and aid in the late season turnaround.

“A lot of good things happened down the stretch that we liked, and then we’ve tried to adapt relative to our new guys to add to what we were doing toward the end,” Williams said. “Building off of what worked last season, and supplementing in new ideas that complement new players seems like a recipe for success for the Aggies. 

The Aggies will get the opportunity to try out new things in their exhibition match with A&M-Kingsville. This will be the fourth consecutive year where Kingsville played A&M before the season.

“I think this will be the last year of that. That will be our fourth year of playing Texas A&M-Kingsville,” Williams said. A&M-Kingsville not only has a familiar name, but it is a familiar face to Williams as he is good friends with head coach Johnny Estelle. 

Texas A&M-Kingsville finished 18-11 overall, and 6-7 in conference play, in the 2021-22 season. This will be Year 9 under Estelle as the Javelinas compete in Division II in the Lone Star Conference. Last season the Javelinas made the Lone Star Conference Tournament and earned a spot in the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament where they lost in the first round. 

Though a Division II team, Kingsville is certainly formidable, and the exhibition will be very valuable to both teams. 

Fans will anxiously await to see if the Aggies can make their NCAA Tournament debut under Williams this year. However, it will all start on Friday where the team will gain invaluable live action. 

The return to Reed Arena has been long awaited, and the team being back on the court this Friday should spark some excitement around College Station.

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