When you think of Texas A&M, basketball isn’t normally the sport you think about. Thanks to Johnny Manziel, the 12th Man and simply being in Texas, basketball takes a massive backseat to Aggies football.
However, thanks to a helluva recruiting class, ranked No. 6 by 247Sports, and the majority of players returning from last year, the Aggies are projected to be ranked when the 2015-16 season starts. It’s important for Texas A&M to hang around the top-25 as this is a make or break year for Billy Kennedy.
The recruiting class includes four 4-star recruits all from Texas. It says something about Kennedy and his assistant coach Rick Stansbury, who drew a line in the sand to not let in-state talent leave. The quartet of D.J. Hogg, Tyler Davis, Elijah Thomas and Admon Gilder comprise the best recruiting class in school history.
While the recruiting class is nice, it’s really the returning players that have Texas A&M in the top-25. The core of Jalen Jones, Danuel House, Alex Caruso and Alex Robinson might not be household names, but they can compete with anyone in the country. House and Jones are both electric scorers, averaging over 13 points a game last year while Caruso does a little bit of everything. The soon to be senior leader had a stat line of 9.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assist and 2.1 steals per game last year.
It’s important that A&M has a good year, largely in part because of the status of head coach Billy Kennedy. He’s been on the ‘hot seat’ for a couple of years now, despite improving the team all four years. However, he’s never led the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament, including last year when he had them at 21-12 but lost five of the last seven games.
It seems as is this could be the year Texas A&M makes a run in the SEC. While the league is perceived to be on the rise, it’s the one year when Kentucky is as much of a question mark as Kentucky can be. If the Wildcats take a step back and Florida is still considered to be down this year, it opens up for a team like the Aggies to make a run.
With the new scheduling format, the Aggies will get to play LSU, Missouri and Arkansas twice. There should be four easy wins right there with Texas A&M being better than both Missouri and the Razorbacks. If the Aggies can split with LSU, they set themselves up for great positioning the rest of the year.
Lastly, Texas A&M will likely never have a team this good again if they flop. This is the definition of a make or break season for a program, and much like the football team did a couple years ago, the Aggies could surprise people and become a staple of SEC basketball.