#23 Texas A&M Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Texas A&M Aggies

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #3 SEC

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Texas A&M was one of those many SEC teams that seemed like they spent February and March on the bubble. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they struggled at the end of the year, losing three of their last four regular season games. A decent run in the SEC Tournament could have gotten Texas A&M into the NCAA Tournament, but they lost in their first game to Auburn, a team they crushed 80-55 less than two weeks earlier in the middle of their little losing skid. The Aggies did manage to beat Montana as a #2 seed in the NIT, but lost to Louisiana Tech in the second round.

2014-15 Record: 21-12, 11-7
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Billy Kennedy
Coach Record: 71-61 at Texas A&M, 282-240 overall

Who’s Out:
The Aggies do lose two starters in Kourtney Roberson and Jordan Green. Roberson averaged 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds and was always tough in the frontcourt. His experience will be missed. Green averaged just 6.1 points, 1.8 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game, but the 6-5 guard was the team’s top perimeter defender. The numbers are replaceable, but the defensive intensity may not be. Peyton Allen, Antwan Space and Davonte Fitzgerald were all in the regular rotation at times last year and all three earned at least two starts. Add in Avery Johnson and Dylan Johns and the Aggies lose a lot of their depth from last season.

Who’s In:
Fortunately for Coach Billy Kennedy, he replenished that depth and then some with this recruiting class. There is plenty of talent here to provide immediate help, but the one with the most experience is Anthony Collins, a graduate transfer from South Florida. He started 98 games for the Bulls over his four years there, including an injury shortened 2013-2014 season. As a senior last year, Collins dished out 5.2 assists per game. The backcourt also adds T.J. Distefano, Admon Gilder and wing D.J. Hogg. In a crowded backcourt, none have to do much this season, but Gilder is a great talent and Hogg is a big 6-8 wing who can knock down shots consistently. Both will have to earn their minutes, but they will. The newcomers in the post are Tyler Davis and Elijah Thomas. At 6-10 and 265 pounds, Davis is ready to battle in the SEC, which is very rare for a freshman. He is a great rebounder and he has some nice offensive moves in the post too. With Roberson gone, Davis has the opportunity to step right into the starting five. Thomas is tough too and should earn plenty of quality minutes as the backup power forward.

Who to Watch:
The backcourt is pretty crowded now with Collins, Gilder and Hogg joining the fray. Alex Caruso dished out 5.5 assists last year, leading the SEC, but he could spend more time off of the ball this year. Caruso can score too so moving him to shooting guard to make room for Collins is not a bad thing. That could give a few more minutes to Alex Robinson too. Robinson had a great freshman campaign, averaging 5.2 points and 2.6 assists. Robinson and Collins could take up all the minutes at the point and Texas A&M can basically run a two point guard system most of the time. Danuel House would then spend most of his time at the small forward spot. House led the team with 14.8 points per game and knocked down a team high 62 three-pointers. He is the most effective and efficient outside shooter on the team, but at 6-7, he can use his size to attack the basket too.

Final Projection:
Jalen Jones can play the small forward spot as well, but he is better suited to play power forward and that is where this team needs him to play anyway. Jones is not an efficient shooter, but the 6-7 forward is tough on the glass and a very good scorer inside the arc. He averaged 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds last year and the expectations are high for his senior season. Tavario Miller will see time at the forward spots and center Tonny Trocha-Morelos is an interesting option as well. Both could play a pretty big role if the newcomers aren’t as ready as expected. Either way, there is depth here and plenty of talent…too much talent for another trip to the NIT.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Anthony Collins, Senior, Guard, 7.1 points per game at USF
Alex Caruso, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Danuel House, Senior, Guard, 14.8 points per game
Jalen Jones, Senior, Forward, 13.7 points per game
Tyler Davis, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.8 (161st in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (78, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.3 (82, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (57, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (258, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (154, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (284, 13)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (43, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (43, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (166, 7)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#46 Danuel House

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#28 D.J. Hogg
#30 Tyler Davis
#41 Elijah Thomas
#80 Admon Gilder


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