Coach Buzz Williams is still looking for his NCAA debut as he begins his fourth season at Texas A&M.
In case anyone is wondering, he has no regrets He calls out to the Tournament Committee what he considers to be contempt for him last season after they didn’t get the NCAA bid despite reaching the SEC Championship final.
“I will always do that, no matter what Twitter says or what others think,” he said. “What I have said is what I believe in, no matter how loud and ferocious things have been said about me. I have understood going into this what will be said. If you cannot defend your people when you think you must defend them, then I do not think you are worthy of being a leader.” .
The Aggies settled on NIT instead, making it to the title match before dropping 73-72 to Xavier in a last-second shot.
Williams was a huge success in the NCAA Championship, having taken Virginia Tech to the championship in his last three seasons there and leading Marquette to March Madness for five consecutive seasons from 2009-13.
After their success late in the season last year, the Aggies were confident that this would be the year they would finally return to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2018, when Billy Kennedy was coach.
“The chance we have this year is much greater,” Texas A&M guard Tyrese Radford said. “Because we know what we are capable of.”
They will have to do so without last year’s top scorer Quinton Jackson, who left early to pursue a professional basketball career. He averaged 14.8 points per game last season and was fantastic on the run as the Aggies won 11 of their last 13 games.
We’re going to miss who he is,” Williams said. “We will miss him as a person. We will miss his competitive personality. We will definitely miss his speed and skills.”
Williams doesn’t expect a single player to make up for Jackson, but he thinks it would be a committee approach.
“I don’t know if someone on our current roster would step in and immediately do what he (Jackson) did at the end of his career, but I think there are guys who will be able to do some things,” Williams said.
They are back
Despite Jackson’s departure, the Aggies have several returning players who were major contributors to last year’s team.
Striker Henry Coleman is the team’s top scorer after averaging 11 points per game last season and was joined by Radford (10.9 points per gallon). The two led the team on recovery last season when both players grabbed 6.2 games.
“This team is hungry,” Coleman said. “We are ready to work. Everyone recognizes what happened last year. I think our culture and who we are are ready to work and we will continue to work.
Aggies have added three players expected to immediately contribute to the transfers of Dexter Dennis, Julius Marble and KK Robinson.
Dennis, the 6-foot-5 goalkeeper, leads the pack after being named Defensive Player of the Year at the American Athletic Conference of the Year at Wichita State last season. Dennis averaged 8.4 points and five rebounds while accumulating 24 blocks and 24 steals.
Marple, who made 6-9, averaged 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in a reserve role at Michigan State last year. Robinson, another guard, joins the Aggies after limited playing time in two seasons in Arkansas.
“The guys we brought in are guys who are ready for the job,” Coleman said. “Julius, Dexter, KK… They have adapted incredibly well. They are ready to work every day. I am excited for these guys here.”
The Aggies opened the season at home against Louisiana-Monroe on November 7. Non-conference list Includes visits to DePaul, Memphis and a visit from Oregon. They started the SEC play on January 4th in Florida.
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