Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The Texas A&M Aggies have yet to make any real noise under third year head coach, Billy Kennedy. With questionable depth this season, it is hard to see A&M taking a real step in the SEC.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Last Season: 11th, 7-11 in Big 12, 18-15 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 9th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kourtney Roberson (Jr)/Dylan Johns (Fr)
F: Antwan Space (So)/Tavario Miller (Fr)/Devante Fitzgerald (Fr)
G/F: Jamal Jones (Jr)
G: Fabyon Harris (Sr) or J-Mychal Reese (So)/Shawn Smith (Fr)
G: Alex Caruso (So)/Jordan Green (Jr)
Gone: SG-Elston Turner, PF-Ray Turner, SF-Jared Johns, PF-Andrew Young (transfer), C-Keith Davis (transfer-), PF-Daniel Alexander (transfer-Grand Canyon)
The Aggies lose leading scorer Elston Turner but return a solid backcourt trio of Fabyon Harris, J-Mychal Reese, and Alex Caruso. At 5-11, Harris is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body but proved to be a dangerous offensive weapon particularly with his three-point shooting. Reese and Caruso performed well in their freshmen campaigns. Caruso ended up leading the team in assists and steals as both guys saw significant roles right away. Kennedy could go with a smaller three-guard line-up and start Harris, Reese, and Caruso.
The other option would be bringing one of those guys off the bench and inserting JUCO transfer Jamal Jones into the starting five. Jones adds needed length and versatility on the wing. He spent his freshman season at Ole Miss before transferring to Lee College. He is a more than capable scorer from the outside but can also be a mismatch at the wing due to his 6-8 height. Jordan Green returns to add depth at guard along with redshirt freshman Shawn Smith.
Unlike the backcourt, there are some serious concerns about the depth up-front. Returning starter Kourtney Roberson anchors the interior with his strength and physicality but doesn’t bring much to the table as a low post scorer. Florida State transfer Antwan Space is a long, athletic forward who figures to start right away and provide a needed boost due to the graduation of Ray Turner and a couple of key transfers.
That leaves Kennedy with inexperienced reserves in the frontcourt. Freshmen Dylan Johns, Tavario Miller, and Davante Alexander will compete for immediate minutes off the bench. A&M could also go with a smaller, more wing oriented line-up and play Jones at the four if need be.
Player to Watch: Alex Caruso
The 6’5 combo guard proved to be a jack of all trades for the Texas A&M Aggies last season but struggled shooting the rock. If he can become a more consistent scorer on top of all the other things he does well on the floor, he might end up being the most integral player on the roster.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/29 vs. Missouri State (Corpus Christi Classic)
11/30 vs. Virginia/SMU (Corpus Christi Classic)
12/4 vs. Houston
12/21 vs. Oklahoma (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks