2008-09 Texas A&M Basketball Preview: #63
Texas A&M Aggies
Overall Rank: #63
Conference Rank: #7 Big 12
2007-08: 25-11, 8-8, 6th
2007-08 postseason: NCAA
Texas A&M lost some key players from an NCAA Tournament team, but it could have been worse. Josh Carter thought about heading to the NBA, but opted to return to College Station for his senior season. And the 6-7 wing will be the player who has to lead this team back to the postseason. Carter is a good shooter who knocked down 2.2 long balls per contest and, if he uses his size more effectively to get to the basket, could be a great scorer.
The Aggies will need Carter to be a great scorer now that Dominique Kirk, Beau Muhlbach, Joseph Jones and DeAndre Jordan are gone. Kirk was the only other long range threat on the team and Jones and Jordan dominated the paint. Jones was the scorer of the frontcourt duo and tallied 10.3 points per game. Jordan was not as effective on the offensive end, but he was a superstar on the other side of the court.
If it was not for a couple talented freshmen Coach Mark Turgeon’s squad would be in trouble. Only seven players averaged over ten minutes per game and three of them are gone. There are some sophomores and others who can fill the void, but the most pure talent will come in the form of freshmen Dash Harris and David Loubeau. Harris, a 6-0 point guard, will push the tempo and can do it under control. He is more known for his pass first mentality, but he has begun to develop into a decent scorer and once his outside shot starts falling more consistently, he will not just be a pass first player. Loubeau will help replace Jones and Jordan under the basket. Unlike most Aggie big men of late, Loubeau is not just a big man. He has the athleticism to guard quick players and could even see some time on the wing. James Blasczyk, a seven-footer, is not ready to make the impact that the Aggies expect out of Harris and Loubeau quite yet, but he has a high ceiling and could develop into a solid frontcourt option sooner or later.
Who to Watch:
In the meantime, the frontcourt will depend on Bryan Davis and Chinemelu Elonu to provide leadership. Even with Jones and Jordan on the team, Davis proved to be a quality scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. A part-time starter, the 6-9, 250 pounder averaged 8.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks as a sophomore. Now the frontcourt will be his and Davis could emerge as a big time scoring threat. Elonu might be starting by his side if Loubeau is not ready to take over a starting job immediately. Elonu rarely does much scoring, but he is a big body who can clog the paint. Certainly the frontcourt will not be as productive without Jones and Jordan, but Loubeau has plenty of potential and Davis has more than enough talent to become the leader of the frontcourt and help replace some of the production that was lost.
Donald Sloan spent part of last season playing off the ball, but the 6-3 guard can definitely run the point if necessary. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.4 assists as a sophomore and developed into a decent scorer. However, Sloan is not a great shooter. Last year that was not such a big deal since the team still had Carter and Kirk who could hit the outside shot. If Harris slides into a starting role and Sloan plays beside him, the perimeter group will only have Carter who can consistently knock down the long ball. Derrick Roland was usually the first guard off the bench, but he is not a great shooter either. Point guard B.J. Holmes and small forward Nathan Walkup could help in that department, but saw very limited action as freshmen. This group of Aggies will not be as good as last season, but the potential is there for a surprisingly decent season if the team can find another shooter and a leader or two.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Dashan Harris, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Donald Sloan, Junior, Guard, 9.5 points per game
Josh Carter, Senior, Guard, 12.2 points per game
David Loubeau, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Bryan Davis, Junior, Forward, 8.7 points per game