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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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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Freshman class brings hope to A&M basketball

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By: Vanessa Peña

Billy Kennedy speaking to the media during the 2014-2015 season. 

The Texas A&M basketball program has big expectations for the 2015 season. Not only are fans and players setting their standards high, but national analysts everywhere are also predicting special things for the future of the Aggies. 

A&M head coach Billy Kennedy has faced scrutiny from some, but the recruiting class he put together last year quieted most of the talk from his critics. Kennedy pulled together his best work in recruitment to date, inking a consensus top five class, which is widely considered as the best group in the program’s history. 

He went to prime basketball territory in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to get four star recruits: D.J. Hogg, Admon Gilder, Elijah Thomas, and Tyler Davis. Hogg and Davis played together in high school, and the rest are familiar with each other having played in the AAU program in the Dallas area. All have officially enrolled at A&M, and at the SEC teleconference Kennedy said he likes what he sees from the four freshman so far. 

“I like our new guys,” Kennedy said. “They’ve been well-advertised with a lot of hype and are still young, but the character and the talent they’ve brought to our program has been really refreshing.”

Kennedy said the seniors have helped the freshmen make a smooth transition.

“It’s rare you see four really good players who are also really good kids,” Kennedy said. “That has a lot to do with the culture that has been set by our three seniors, these kids have come in and learned how to work and adjusted right away. The seniors have done a good job leading.”

Though the incoming class and future of the program is young, they are positioned to make a huge impact on the upcoming season. They have shown they know how to win — Hogg even hit  the game winner in the state championship to bring the title home to Plano West. The team has shown it’s willing to do what it takes to win.

“All four have won state championships and that’s the biggest thing aside from being able to play,” Kennedy said. “The two big guys, Tyler Davis and Elijah Thomas, bring a presence about them that we need in the program right away.”

Kennedy said Hogg and Gilder have both been well advertised, and their work ethic and character make them stand out.

“I see them making a smooth transition at this point,” Kennedy said. “They’ll be young, inconsistent and want things to happen in a hurry. I’m sure they’ll struggle like most freshmen, but the thing that makes these four kids special is they’re solid kids and have won before and know what it takes to win championships.”

The freshmen, along with help and leadership from seniors Alex Caruso, Danuel House  and Jalen Jones, will be vital if the Aggies are to make a run in the NCAA Tournament next March. A&M has not participated in March Madness since 2011, but did qualify for the NIT Tournament this past season. 

Aggie basketball will open the season at home against South Carolina-Upstate on November 13.

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