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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Hardwood Hustle

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Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

(left to right) Juniors Tyler Davis and Admon Gilder celebrate with sophomore Robert Williams after a play during A&M’s exhibition game against Texas Oct. 25 in Houston. The game was held to raise money for Rebuild Texas, which benefits hurricane relief efforts. 

With the return of one of the top NBA prospects, sophomore forward Robert Williams, No. 25 Texas A&M is primed to have a breakout season after a disappointing 2016-2017 campaign.
The Aggies will begin the season Friday, 5,203 miles away from College Station against No. 11 West Virginia in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany at the Ramstein Air Base for the 2017 Armed Forces Classic. 
However, due to suspension for violating Texas A&M policy, Williams will be forced to sit out both the season and home opener. He is expected to return Nov. 20 against Oklahoma State.  Juniors Admon Gilder and DJ Hogg were also suspended, but are now available against the Mountaineers. 
At the time of suspension, A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said he hoped the players learned from their missteps and put this transgression behind them.
“Unfortunately, young people make mistakes. We will handle this matter internally and move on as a program,” Kennedy said in a statement.
Williams opted to return for his sophomore season with the Aggies after a strong freshman debut in which he averaged 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 25.8 minutes a game. His performance earned him several post season accolades following the conclusion of the season, including SEC defensive player of the year and SEC All-Defensive team. 
Entering the season, Williams was named named Co-SEC player of the year, Third Team Preseason All-American and Preseason First Team All-SEC.
Back in October, Williams traveled to Nashville for the 2017 SEC men’s basketball media days alongside junior center Tyler Davis and Kennedy. While in the capital of country music, Williams said the team was anxiously waiting for the season to tip-off and ready for a deep run in the NCAA tournament come March.
“Talking about the season is like a teaser,” Williams said. “We’re obviously looking forward to the season. We know we can do great things, we’ve got great things coming for us.”
With a year of play under his belt, Williams said he hopes to be the leader of the freshman on the team can look up to since he was in their shoes just a season ago.
“The freshmen coming in — we’re going to need them to play big minutes if we plan on going far,” Williams said. “I feel like I can step in and  lead more than I could last year.”
A&M was picked by members of the media to finish third in the Southeastern Conference, behind Kentucky and Florida. Davis was a part of the 2015-2016 team that earned a share of the SEC crown with Kentucky and made a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. 
On the flip side of things, Davis also saw last season come to an end early after disappointing loss in the SEC tournament to Vanderbilt and without a bid from the NCAA tournament.
Davis assures last season’s struggles will not be an issue and opponents they face will know that the Aggies mean business once on the hardwood.  
“I don’t care what they think when they see us,” Davis said in an interview with Texags.com. “But when we get to playing, that’s when I’ll care what they think. I want them to fear us when we’re playing.”
This season, the Aggies are set to face several teams who earned postseason bids to the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The team will be on the road when they face No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 Kansas and No. 10 USC. Additionally, out of the 31 teams the Aggies will challenge only 14 of them did not make a postseason run.
As the only senior on the A&M roster, center Tonny Trocha–Morelos said he hopes to make his last season the best yet.
“Man, I’m so excited, I’m excited about senior year,” Trocha–Morelos said in an interview with Texags.com. “I’m excited about this team. I trust my guys and the coaches. I’m just going day by day enjoying my senior season.”
The Aggies will start their season against No. 11 West Virginia in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany at the Ramstein Air Base. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. CST.

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  • Junior Tyler Davis and sophomore Robert Williams both earned preseason honors. Davis was named preseason second team All-SEC and Williams was named `preseason first team All-SEC. 

    Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

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