Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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 were supposed to contend for a conference title in their final year in the Big 12. Instead, A&M finished as one of the most disappointing teams in the country. It is hard to imagine how they can turn things around as they begin their maiden voyage as members of the SEC.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Last Season: 9th, 4-14 in Big 12, 14-18 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kourtney Roberson (So)/Keith Davis (Jr)
PF: Ray Turner (Sr)/Daniel Alexander (So)/Andrew Young (Jr)
G/F: Elston Turner (Sr)
SG: Alex Caruso (Fr)/Shawn Smith (Fr)
PG: Fabyon Harris (Jr) or J’Mychal Reese (Fr)/Jordan Green (So)
Gone: SF-Khris Middleton, PG-Dash Harris, PF-David Loubeau, PG-Jamal Branch (transfer-St. John’s), SG-Naji Hibbert (transfer-Garnder Webb), SG-Zach Kinsley
Last season got off to an auspicious start with first year head coach Billy Kennedy having to begin on a leave of absence due to a medical condition. On top of that, their supposed start player Kris Middleton missed a significant chunk of time during the season due to injury. Starting point guard Dash Harris also battled injury while key reserve Kourtney Roberson saw his season cut short because of a broken ankle.
Despite his injury and as a result, a lackluster season, Middleton left a year early for the NBA Draft meaning the Aggies lose three starters including Harris and David Loubeau. A&M does return leading scorer Elston Turner and his proficient three-point shooting. With youth, uncertainty, and new faces in the backcourt, Turner must take on an even larger scoring load this season.
That inexperienced backcourt only brings back one player from a year ago in Jordan Green who was barely serviceable as the back-up point guard. There is some talent arriving though with the addition of Top 100 guards J’Mychal Reese and Alex Caruso. Reese is a quick point guard known more for his scoring than distributing while Caruso is a versatile wing who certainly does not look the part, but can contribute in multiple ways.
Reese will likely compete for the starting point guard spot along with JUCO transfer Fabyon Harris who has endured a difficult road prior to landing at College Station. Harris stands just 5’8 but will bring some needed leadership to the backcourt and is more of a pure point guard than Reese. Shaun Smith is another key freshman who should see immediate playing time as well.
Leading the way up-front for the Aggies will be senior power forward Ray Turner. The 6’9 Houston native is by no means a dominant low post threat but he is serviceable enough to be a low post scoring threat. Roberson’s return will help fill the void left behind by Loubeau. Keith Davis and Daniel Alexander will provide size and depth though little offensive ability off the bench. In fact, they could very easily be passed on the depth chart by JUCO transfer Andrew Young who should be able to step in and contribute immediately in a reserve role.
Kennedy also picked up a key transfer in Florida State forward Antwan Space. The Texas native had his freshman season with the ‘Noles cut short due to a broken foot. He is a long, athletic forward who will sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules but will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2013-14.
Pre-season expectations certainly won’t be what they were a year ago for the Aggies as they transition to the SEC. Without a star player and with question marks in their backcourt, A&M won’t possess the talent or experience to make a serious tournament run this season.
Player to Watch: Elston Turner
Because of an influx of young talent on the wing, Turner transferred from Washington in search of more PT and made the most of his first season at A&M. As opposed to last year when players like Middleton, Loubeau, and Harris drew a lot of the focus of other team’s defenses, opponents will be keying in to contain Turner and make the other Aggies beat them. Can Turner rise to the occasion?
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/19 vs. St. Louis (CBE Classic)
11/20 vs. Kansas/Washington State (CBE Classic)
12/1 at Houston
12/5 vs. Oklahoma (in Oklahoma City)
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
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. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.