March 24, 2009

A look at next year's Aggies on the hardwood

To the naked eye, it might have seemed like Texas A&M returned a veteran-laden and experienced team for the 2008-09 season. But just because the Aggies were starting four juniors and one senior, experienced wasn't really the key word.

Apart from senior Josh Carter and junior guard Donald Sloan, the rest of the Aggies were in different roles and with the exception of Bryan Davis who did start plenty in the 2007-08 season, were new to the starting rotation.

It showed early on as the Aggies were extremely inconsistent, especially on the offensive end. Defensively, A&M had outstanding games but also had days it would like to forget. As the season progressed, however, new starters Derrick Roland and Chinemelu Elonu began to assert themselves while the team as a whole started to gel in head coach Mark Turgeon's system.

A year from now when the 2009-10 season gets underway, the Aggies will be returning an experienced and veteran-laden lineup. Four starters return with Carter being the lone graduate. The Aggies return eight of their top nine players with all four major contributors off the bench headed back to Aggieland for another season. And A&M brings in a heralded class of freshmen that is a consensus top 25 haul.

And with two years under the guidance of Turgeon, these Aggies know his system and growing pains should be a thing of the past. All in all, it's a recipe for great success that should have the Aggies favored to compete with Kansas and Texas for the Big 12 conference championship and a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

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