Billy Kennedy Q&A
John Pugliese Q&A
Texas A&M Basketball

Talking all things Aggie basketball with Billy Kennedy and John Pugliese

January 11, 2019

Key notes from Billy Kennedy interview

  • Obviously we gotta play better before we can win. It’s a big game against Alabama and we’d love to get a win there. 
  • Our guys have been competing and playing hard. To win in his league, you have to be efficient. You can’t just play hard. Teams are so good, so you have to play well in all phases to win games. 
  • Our effort has been good, but we’re still turning the ball over in practice and doing things we can’t do. That bleeds out onto the court in games. We have to play with more discipline on the offensive end. We’re not going to beat teams on the road if you turn the ball over 19 times. 
  • I know that when we take care of the ball, we can play good basketball. We can be really good defensively, but we just have to do it for 40 minutes. We’re capable, we just have to put it all together. 
  • TJ has responded to coaching a lot better than he was earlier in the season. He’s trying, but he’s still learning. We started him and he’s playing a lot of minutes. TJ is a very important part to us. 
  • When you get 15 rebounds and you’re scoring the ball, you’re getting a good performance from Savion Flagg. But, we think we can get more out of him. For TJ, we think he can be more efficient. Both of those guys are playing well, but can do more. 
  • Consistency has been something we’ve been fighting all year. We talk about it in practice every day. It takes a full 40 minutes to beat these good teams. 
  • Well Jay Jay Chandler is putting a lot of pressure on himself. I’m proud of him for cleaning up his game some. He’s our best perimeter defender. We’re hoping he can be consistent on offense and make good decisions on the perimeter. 
  • Alabama is older. Coach Johnson has been able to get the best kids from Alabama. Their program is solid. They’ve got great depth and have high level athletes. We’re going to have to play extremely well.

Key notes from John Pugliese interview

  • There was a tough eight minute stretch for A&M in the Kentucky game. When you have eight assists and 19 turnovers in the game, that doesn’t put you in a position to be successful. The other thing is guarding the ball. I saw this last year. I hadn’t watched a lot of A&M basketball prior to being in college station. What I saw last year, and it’s sprinkled into this year, is they don’t keep the ball out of the paint. Tyler Davis and Rob Williams helped offset that last year. It’s worse this year. Having no Gilder is a big piece to it. You’ve got guys playing at levels they’ve never played before like Chuck Mitchell and Brandon Mahan who were JUCO players last year. It’s tough for A&M on the defensive end. They shot it well against Kentucky. They got the offensive end against them but they have to guard guys. 
  • There’s nothing worse than an open court turnover. Being nonchalant and complacent with the ball is what we see sometimes. A&M has got to start to see a change in that.  
  • Where I see inconsistencies is in energy, effort, and play making. I’m seeing inconsistencies the the bigs as well. I was high on them going into the Arkansas game. They haven’t gotten any touches. That can be a difficult thing. We’ve seen inconsistencies all year from guard play. TJ had a great game against Arkansas, and then he puts up 18 against Kentucky but zero assists and five turnovers. I’ve called out Flagg before for his play. Him and Starks are the most elite players. You need them to play well and then a third player to show up. I’m a TJ Starks fan and I want to play with that dude and coach him. 
  • The problem with a quick pace is no one has to guard the three when they play A&M. All you have to do is send five back to the paint and guard from the inside out. If you don’t spread the floor with perimeter shooting, it’s hard to play fast because the other team doesn’t have to guard the three. 
  • This Alabama roster is pretty top heavy. Avery Johnson takes a more isolation look on offensive more like the NBA and then picks apart matchups oh the defensive end. Alabama is going to be a tough game to win. It’s a solid team. They’re better than I thought they were. 
  • I don’t think Starks needs to go for 30 to beat Alabama. It’s a team effort. They have to be better on the defensive end. They can’t give up 51 percent from the field and consider themselves a good defensive team. 
  • Tennessee is still the measuring stick for the SEC. South Caroline is 2-0 in the SEC. They lost to Stoney Brook, Wafford, and Wyoming in non conference this year. Frank Martin, say what you want, but his teams are going to play hard and be difficult. Ole Miss man. I call them an empty 10-2 team. They’ve only lost to Butler and Cincinnati. Then they beat Auburn and Vanderbilt to start SEC play. Kermit Davis has supplied some life into the that basketball program. They’ve got a fan base that’s excited to come to games. He does what he has to do to put his team in positions to win. He does that really well. Last year, they were boring to watch, but with the coaching change, it’s exciting basketball to watch. 
  • Gonzaga vs. San Francisco is a game to watch. That’s a game to circle on your calendar. San Francisco is a team that can put a road block on Gonzaga. It will be a tough win against San Francisco, but I still think Gonzaga will win. The other game I like is Duke vs. Florida State. Floor seats this game are going for like two thousand dollars. 
  • My national player of the year is Zion Williamson. That dude is just special. Zion is the guy who’s probably picked apart more than any other player in the country but he is fun to watch.
Discussion from...

Talking all things Aggie basketball with Billy Kennedy and John Pugliese

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This thing has been posted for 7 hours and there isn't even one dang comment on this thread or the same post on the premium forum. You guys feel free to jump in anytime.
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Guess fans have taken on the personality of the coach. Nobody cares
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I really enjoy John's contribution. I think he is trying to be as polite and objective as possible when it comes to describe coaching deficiencies and overall player's mismanagement/recruiting. It's hard to ignore that this coaching staff has not delivered in terms of adapting to our players strengths...or developing them...or recruiting appropriately.
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