Photo by Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Confident Starks leads hopeful A&M team under new coaching regime

October 15, 2019
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Always-confident junior guard T.J. Starks is convinced Texas A&M upcoming basketball season will be significantly improved under first-year coach Buzz Williams.

“I want to see us translate everything we’re learning in practice to the game,” Starks said on Tuesday before the Aggies’ 10th practice session. “(We’ll) Show a lot of people that we’re capable of winning. Who we were last year is not who we’re going to be this year.”

The Aggies have an exhibition game with Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 1 at Reed Arena. They officially open the season at home on Nov. 6 against Northwestern State.

However, if the Aggies are to improve on last season’s 14-18 finish Williams indicated it might be without one of the top returning players.

Senior forward Josh Nebo, who averaged 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds last season, has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Williams couldn’t way when — or if — Nebo would be back in action.

Jackie Ysaquirre, TexAgs
Josh Nebo has not practiced in weeks due to an injury and his status going forward remains in question. 

“Nebo hasn’t practiced. It’s hard to say relative to what he will be able to do or if he will ever be able to play,” Williams said. “He hasn’t been a part of anything we have done in a long time. I’d say he’s missed the last 27 workdays. In a new program that’s really hard to overcome,  regardless of how old you are.”

The return of Williams, a former A&M assistant coach under Billy Gillispie, has seemingly raised interest in Texas A&M basketball. Williams has notched a 253-155 career record as a head coach with most of that time spent at Marquette and Virginia Tech.

He guided Marquette to the Sweet Sixteen NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2012 and to the Elite Eight in 2013.

His Virginia Tech teams reached the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons and reached the Sweet Sixteen last season.

Hopes are high that Williams can duplicate and surpass those accomplishments at A&M. But for now, he’s just trying to groom his team.

“I’m excited but I think we need all the days between now and (the season opener),” Williams said. “We’ve gained a little traction over the last four or five days. We haven’t been able to sustain anything for more than that. Between now and the first game we need to try to see if we can extend that period of time.

“They’re (players) trying real hard. But we’re not ready yet for a game.

“We’re trying to get to the point where we can be really good in consecutive practices and we’re starting to get there. We’re just not quite there yet.”
- Buzz Williams

We’re trying to get to the point where we can be really good in consecutive practices and we’re starting to get there. We’re just not quite there yet.”

Starks and Nebo along with junior forward and returning top scorer Savion Flagg senior guard Wendell Mitchell and junior guard Jay Jay Chandler are holdovers from last year’s team.

Williams said newcomers Quentin Jackson, a junior college transfer and freshmen Cashius McNeilly,  Andre Gordon, and 6-foot-10 Jonathan Aku have been especially impressive in early workouts.

Jackson, McNeilly, and Gordon are listed as guards and Aku is a forward. But that really doesn’t matter if Williams’ system, in which players are virtually position-less.

“I think the game is going to position-less,” Williams said. “We’re OK with that. But in order to be position-less, that means you have to be able to guard multiple positions.

“It sounds cool offensively. Where it becomes a bind is defensively. Can you guard multiple positions? That will determine how we’re able to play. Who can you guard and you can we guard? And then what would our plan of attack be on who’s playing and how can we guard?”

Those questions will be answered later. But for now, Starks is just ready to attack.

“We have a lot of versatile players,” Starks said. “I feel like we’re going to cause a lot of trouble because teams are not going to be ready for our small ball or if we play two bigs at one time they still won’t be ready because of the way we play.

Discussion from...

Confident Starks leads hopeful A&M team under new coaching regime

1,809 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by rosstradamas70
dgrogers88
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crbongos
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AG
Sounds promising! I hope the best for Nebo. He really gives us a presence down low. Looking forward to watching TJ Starks in this system!!!!! Gig em!
CRBongo
rosstradamas70
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AG
coming soon!
ross skillman '70
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