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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The team behind the title

Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel

Freshman Tyler Davis had a dominating 16 points against Vanderbilt.

Not only did Texas A&M just win its first conference title in almost 30 years, it stands three wins away from tying the most victories in school history with an entire SEC and NCAA Tournament left.

The 2006-2007 team that claims the record at 27 wins produced the only Aggie to have a jersey retired, Acie Law IV, and the player with the most consecutive starts in A&M history, Dominique Kirk. The two, along with former teammate Chris Walker, have nothing but high praise for the current squad.

“I think they can do better than what we did,” Law said. “We went to the Sweet Sixteen, and I think they can go a little further.”

But before Texas A&M clinched a one-seed in the SEC Tournament, A&M head coach Billy Kennedy failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in his first three years.

“It’s a testimony to the school that gave him a chance to turn this program around,” Kirk said. “Usually after two or three years, if you don’t do anything, it is pretty much lights out.”

Law shared the same sentiment, noting similarly that patience has provided the Aggies with a high reward.

“It takes time, and I think people don’t understand that,” Law said. “Everything can’t happen overnight. It takes time to build a system and to get the players in there.”

Walker said he loves Kennedy, because he can see the effect his character has on his players.

“If he was the godparent of my children, I’d be thrilled,” Walker said. “He’s just an incredible man first. What he does on the team is pretty special.”

Law and Kirk attended a couple games at Reed together this year. Kirk has tweeted encouragement towards Alex Caruso after every SEC game, and popularized the nickname “Pistol” — after Pete “Pistol Pete” Maravich — for the senior. 

“The way he runs up the floor, the way he sees the floor — Alex is a very underrated passer,” Kirk said. “He’s Mr. Intangibles. He pretty much does everything out there.”

Since he currently lives in Kentucky, Walker hasn’t stepped inside Reed for a game this year. But the former walk-on said he watches every game at home with his son.

“I taught him to say ‘beat the hell out of’ whoever,” Walker said. “Nobody in Kentucky knows what that means, so they think I’m just a bad dad because I told him to say the word ‘hell.’”

Caruso is now the all-time Aggie leader in assists and steals, and his hustle often draws comparisons with Walker. However, Walker said these comparisons should be insulting to Caruso, because he is far better than he ever was. 

“Neither of us ever really cared to score a lot of points or have all the accolades,” Walker said. “We just both care to win. It brings a lot of joy to me to see Alex have a lot of success.”

While Kirk and Walker praised Caruso, Law said his favorite player is Tyler Davis because he reminds him of his former teammate, Joseph Jones. 

“My favorite is the big kid, Davis,” Law said. “I’m a huge fan of his … He definitely has a lot of  Jo’s characteristics.”

After watching him practice earlier in the year and seeing his progression as the season ages, Walker said Davis could be an Aggie legend. 

“I think Tyler Davis has a chance to be the best big man in A&M history when he’s done playing,” Walker said. “I watched him in practice, and he really stood out to me. He has incredible hands, moves his feet so well, and he just plays hard.”

Kirk said Admon Gilder is his favorite player because he reminds him of himself. However, he said while Gilder surpasses him offensively, he doesn’t matchup just yet defensively. 

“I’ll say this, and I might be going a little too far with it, but I think he has a really good chance, if he stays all four years, to become the all-time leading scorer in A&M history,” Kirk said. “He’s just got that feel. He knows how to play the game, especially on the offensive end.”

After a three-year drought under Kennedy, everything points to A&M earning a bid to its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance come Selection Sunday on March 13.

“It’s like none other, and that’s why I’m so happy for this group,” Kirk said. “I’m not trying to look forward to it too much. But for the people like Pistol, his senior year, it will be his first time going to the tournament. I’m happy for guys like that.”

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