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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Men’s basketball goes into game with clear plans and new strategies

Admon+Gilder+scored+10+points+in+the+Aggies+99-82+loss.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Admon Gilder scored 10 points in the Aggies’ 99-82 loss.

It’s basketball time in Aggieland once again. 
Texas A&M looks to recreate last year’s magical run to the Sweet 16 with a new set of faces on the court. The Aggies have lost a bulk of their roster due to early departures for the NBA or graduation and will face a hefty challenge trying to replace them. 
Guards TJ Starks and Admon Gilder will be expected to increase their production from last season as they are two of seven players to return with at least 12 starts under their belts. 
Several other familiar faces from last year will be stepping into starting roles this season. Sophomore guard Jay Jay Chandler and forward Savion Flagg are expected to make significant contributions to the offense, having improved significantly over the off-season. 
Starks, who was named a preseason All-SEC guard earlier this week, is looking to nearly double his numbers from last year. Starks said he will be making every effort to score as much as possible this season, though he trusts his teammates will have his back. 
“I believe in our team, and I know that if I come up short as far as points, I know I can dish out assists and I can count on my teammates to come through with the win,” Starks said. 
Head coach Billy Kennedy said the team will be taking a different approach in how it operates this season. 
“We’re utilizing the three-point line a little bit differently and probably more so than what we’ve done in the past,” Kennedy said. 
After the loss of Tyler Davis and Robert Williams, A&M will not be able to resort to the paint very often. Instead, they will have to be able to operate from the perimeter, shoot more threes and draw fouls by driving into the paint. 
Kennedy has built a roster full of talented guards with significant depth. Baylor University and Trinity Valley Community College transfer Wendell Mitchell will be one of the key additions to this roster as he looks to add valuable experience to the Aggie offense. 
Transfer sophomore Brandon Mahan is another guard who is expected to make a difference early in the season for A&M. 
“He’s really a good shooter,” Kennedy said. “He’s catching on defensively, which is usually the biggest transition for a first-year guy at this level.” 
After spending his freshman season at Chipola College, Mahan is expected to be a perimeter player, taking a lot of threes and filling a role occupied by DJ Hogg last season. 
Kennedy expects to find out how the rotation will go as the season progresses, but he said he wants players who are consistent three-point shooters on the court.  
Transition basketball will also be an important aspect in A&M’s offensive production. 
“I’ve always been the type of guy that can get up and down the court,” Gilder said. “To play a faster pace, I think that now is the time to show [our abilities].” 
The plan is clear-cut for this season in terms of playing, but there will be plenty of new faces stepping up to put this plan in motion. The season opener against Savannah State is expected to be a fast 40 minutes up and down the court all night. 
A&M goes on the road for the first time this season next Thursday against No. 3 Gonzaga. The Aggies then head  to Canada for two games in the Vancouver Showcase, starting Nov. 18. With this season’s schedule, A&M will be tested early against talented Power 5 teams. 
The Aggies open up the season on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. against Savannah State in Reed Arena.

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