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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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Takeaways from Thursday’s press conference

Photo by Jonathan Taffet

Sophomore G Tyrece Radford (23) dribbles past Vanderbilt G Exra Manjon (5) during Texas A&M’s game against Vanderbilt at Reed Arena on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, Texas A&M associate head coach Devin Johnson and senior guard Tyrece Radford discussed the upcoming “mirror” game against LSU and the importance of this game not only to the team but to a few of the players returning to its home state.
Here’s what we learned from the press conference:
This road game for the maroon and white will seem more familiar to some players and coaches than others.
A&M associate head coach Devin Johnson, graduate guard Dexter Dennis, senior guard Tyrece Radford and freshman forward Solomon Washington all have seeds rooted in the swamps of the Creole State.
To Johnson, this may just be another SEC matchup, however, to the players, being able to see their families will provide the juice and motivation to overcome the Tigers.
“It’s just another basketball game,” Johnson said. “The biggest part and what our guys from Louisiana give more energy to is the fact they get a chance to see their families and their families get a chance to see them.”
Similar to Texans, Louisiana natives take pride in where they are from, Radford said. Not a day goes by that the Baton Rouge native doesn’t remember the many memories and lessons learned from his childhood days.
“Even though I am older I still think about [Louisiana] still to this day,” Radford said. “It helped me become the man I am now. Everything I’ve dealt with, been through and all the people that I have met that have helped me get here, I still think about those things. Every step I take towards the right direction I think about where I come from.”
No easy games
A&M, who now sits second in the SEC with a 9-2 record, will compete against an LSU team who hasn’t lost a game by more than double-digits in its last nine conference games; the first being the 69-56 loss on the road in Reed Arena.
“Our team is much older now and so we have older guys that are talking and saying ‘hey we were that last season,’” Johnson said. “As you watch LSU, you see they haven’t not given up. They played hard against Alabama and in the game against Mississippi State after [shooting] 0-10 at the beginning of the game.”
Unfortunately for the Ags’, the last time they won in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center was in 2017, when Aggie legends such as Robert Williams and Tyler Davis roamed the court. In order to break the curse, Radford said the team can’t have a “Jacob” mindset.
“It’s still the SEC. They still have really good players,” Radford said. “Going in there and thinking that you got it, that’s what this program called being Jacob [Williamson]… You just have to be prepared.”
Big man, big problem
LSU has not one but two players that hover above every player in a maroon and white uniform. 5th year forward KJ Williams and freshman forward Jalen Reed stand at 6 feet 10 inches, which is taller than every forward on the A&M roster.
Fortunately for the Aggies, the last time they played a competitor with height he rode the bench the majority of the game due to foul trouble. Sophomore Auburn forward Johni Broome finished the 83-78 loss with an 18 point double-double.
Johnson said the team has recognized the need for improvement in the interior defense, however, no adjustments to the current defense is necessary.
“Do we go about it any differently? I would say no, but we bring attention to those guys,” Johnson said. “We make sure our defensive schemes for post defenders are sharp going into the game … We bring attention to it… We focus on it … Do we change our post defense? No.”
News broke on Thursday, Feb. 9, that former A&M guard Quenton “Q” Jackson signed a two-way contract with the Washington Wizards. Jackson led the Aggies last season in points and blocks per game with 14.8 and 1.8, respectively.
Radford, with the rest of the team, found out at the end of practice on Thursday from A&M Coach Buzz Williams. Radford said he is beyond proud of his then-teammate and the work he has put in to earn the contract should go without question.
“He is always going to be on his toes and always going to be in the gym,” Radford said. His hard work is paying off and seeing that for a guy like Q is really amazing.”
Jackson’s hard work has done more than just land him a potential spot on an NBA roster, but has struck motivation throughout A&M’s as well.
“From my visit, when I first met Q, he’s always been in the gym,” Radford said. “So seeing him go through the whole process and just sticking through it … that brought a lot of motivation to the whole team. Just meant a lot to see him do that.”

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