Texas A&M Aggies Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Buzz Williams (third season)
Notable Wins: Auburn, Kansas State
The 2020 season was a blur for Buzz Williams and the Texas A&M Aggies basketball squad. They won four of their first five games before responding to a bad loss to LSU with a win over Auburn. Inconsistent play and injuries highlighted the month of January, but the Aggies managed to end strong by winning their Big 12/SEC matchup against former conference rival Kansas State. Health protocols and weather hazards would fully derail the month of February for Texas A&M. After the lengthy absence, they closed the regular season out with a pair of losses, then fell to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
Key Returnees: G Quenton Jackson, G Andre Gordon
Key Losses: F Emanuel Miller, G Savion Flagg, G Jay Jay Chandler,
Key Newcomers: G Marcus Williams, G Manny Obaseki, F Ethan Henderson
The whirlwind of a season led to a flurry of exits, as the Aggies are going to have to replace just about all of last season’s production. The biggest blow is losing Emanuel Miller to in-state TCU, who defeated A&M 73-55 last season. The 6’7 forward took a huge leap in his second season at College Station, leading the Aggies in scoring with 16.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg. Miller was sure to be a leader and integral part of this year’s squad, but he’ll play his junior season in Fort Worth.
In addition to Miller, A&M will be missing six other players from its roster this fall: guard Cashius McNeilly, forward Savion Flagg, guard Jay Jay Chandler, center Kevin Marfo, center Johnathan Aku and guard Jackson Young. The losses of Flagg and Chandler will linger, as they were third and fourth respectively in scoring last season. Flagg, a 6’7 swingman, transferred to Sam Houston State after finishing third on the team in scoring with 8.8 ppg and second with 4.5 rpg. Chandler, a 6’4 guard, scored 8.2 ppg, and he’ll finish his college career out at South Alabama.
After losing scoring at three levels and their top three rebounders, coach Buzz Williams was happy to retain guards Quenton Jackson and Andre Gordon. Jackson will likely lead the team in scoring after averaging 10.4 ppg and leading the team in three-point percentage (41%). He scored a season-high 23 points in the season finale against Arkansas. Gordon scored 8.3 ppg and led the team in assists (2.7). Guard Hassan Diarra was the only other contributor to return, and he scored 5.8 ppg during his freshman season.
The Aggies will lean heavily on their incoming players this season. Williams was able to tap into the transfer portal and stop the bleeding by adding a few pieces that can step in immediately. Former Wyoming guard Marcus Williams was one of the best freshmen in the nation last year after leading Dickinson HS to a Texas state title. He’ll return home after leading the Cowboys in scoring (14.8) last season. Williams was also able to land an extremely versatile player in swingman Jordan Hall. In just his freshman season, Hall came in and scored 10.6 ppg while leading St. Joe’s in rebounds (5.9) and assists (5.7).
Williams addressed the lack of size by bringing in Ethan Henderson, Henry Coleman, and Javonte Brown-Ferguson, who each come to College Station looking for more playing time. Incoming freshman Manny Obaseki, who was the No. 3 shooting guard in the state of Texas, figures to make an immediate impact as well.
Projected Lineup: G Marcus Williams, G Quentin Jackson, G Manny Obaseki, F Jordan Hall, F Ethan Henderson
Texas A&M will enter this season with a lot of questions. How will Buzz Williams’ rebuilding progress? He entered in the midst of a rebuild, but a storm of a season set this basketball program back a bit further. Bringing in Marcus Williams and Jordan Hall will prove to be season-altering moves. Both had really good freshman seasons and could be building blocks for A&M going forward. Signing Obaseki was a splash, and Quentin Jackson returning for his final college season should prove helpful as well. Losing Emanuel Miller with two more years of eligibility will hurt this squad, though, as his size and scoring ability would have been tailor-made for this rotation.
Inexperience should factor in, but this team will be well-coached by Buzz Williams. If they can gel, this team should be able to post a respectable record and keep things competitive year-round. Gig ‘Em!