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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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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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Head coaches Blair, Kennedy ready for start of hoops seasons

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Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Head coaches Billy Kennedy (above) and Gary Blair spoke to the media Tuesday. 

A college basketball coach is a special breed. It is one of the few jobs in the country where madness is a measure of success rather than failure.
For men’s basketball head coach Billy Kennedy and women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair, the pursuit of madness — March Madness — will soon begin.
Fans can meet the coaches and players from 10-11:30 p.m. Friday at the Plaza Palooza. At the northeast plaza of Kyle Field, the teams will meet with fans as they enjoy live music, shooting contests and free food. The celebration will carry over to Midnight Yell where the team will be formally introduced to the student body during.
Kennedy, head coach of the men’s team, which went 18-16 overall last season, said at the Tuesday press conference he is happy with the progress made in the offseason.
“The great news with that is we are further along than we’ve ever been and we’re really excited about the new guys we’ve got and the energy and effort they’ve brought to us in a very short amount of time,” Kennedy said.
An 18-year coaching veteran, Kennedy will enter his fourth season in College Station. In the previous three seasons, A&M has improved on its conference record, posting an 8-10 mark last year on its way to the CBI Quarterfinals.
Kennedy and company will not only battle through an SEC conference schedule, but will have tough tests in non-conference play as well. Kennedy highlighted Baylor, Kansas State and Arizona State as some of the tougher 2014-2015 opponents.
The men’s team will see the return of seven players from last year’s squad, including seniors Kourtney Roberson and Jordan Green as well as junior guard Alex Caruso. Junior transfer Jalen Jones will be eligible for the beginning of the season, as will five freshmen, including Plano West guard Avery Johnson Jr.
On the women’s side, Blair will see four of his starters return from last year, including 10 of his top 11 scorers.
Since his arrival to College Station for the 2004-2005 season, Blair has reached the NCAA tournament every year with the exception of his inaugural season, including a National Championship in 2010-2011. Preseason rankings have the Aggies listed as high as third going into the season.
“That doesn’t mean a hill of beans,” Blair said. “You have to live up to it. Our kids are at the point now that it’s expected. We are trying for our tenth straight year in the NCAA Tournament.”
Joining Blair in the chase for a tournament berth is junior guard Jordan Jones. Blair said he is high on Jones’ work ethic, claiming she has been in the gym “more than any other kid on our basketball team.”
Blair said he is pleased with the overall depth of the guards in general.
“We are in good shape,” Blair said. “I’ve never had a set of guards, ever, as good as the combination of the eight guards that we have on this basketball team. Let’s hope they can stay healthy.”
The women’s schedule features road games against every team currently ranked in the preseason top five, as well as a Dec. 21 matchup against the Texas Longhorns.
The first women’s exhibition game will be Nov. 8 against Oklahoma City, while the men will open with an exhibition Nov. 5 against Texas A&M-Commerce.

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  • Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Head coaches Billy Kennedy (above) and Gary Blair spoke to the media Tuesday. 

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