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SEC Sleeper: Texas A&M Aggies


With the focus on Kentucky, LSU, and other interesting story lines in the SEC, the Texas A&M Aggies are quietly building one of the stronger teams in the conference.

When you are in the SEC, it seems you need to do something drastic to get any attention. Like that kid in class that purposefully unleashes his (or her?) flatulence to get the coveted Class Clown title, SEC teams not named Kentucky have to do something special in order to even account for a blip on the national radar in the world of college basketball.

After a season that resulted in the SEC finishing as the second worst conference out of the six major conferences in the country in terms of the Simple Rating System, things are starting to turn around. A couple of coaching changes and impressive recruiting classes have a couple SEC teams on the rise.

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LSU was able to recruit two five-star prospects to join them for the upcoming season, making the road to two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances a little easier. Auburn is also starting to turn things around with Bruce Pearl entering his second year, bringing in three four-star recruits.

In addition to those SEC teams improving, Alabama brought in Avery Johnson and his NBA experiences, Tennessee hired former Texas head coach Rick Barnes, and Ben Howland landed at Mississippi State where there is a five-star guard for him coach.

Based solely off this article so far, there are six intriguing story lines in the SEC for the upcoming year (seven if you count how Florida will deal with the loss of Billy Donovan). With all those stories to account for, who has any time to talk about the Texas A&M Aggies and their potential to make noise in the SEC next season?

While those other SEC teams have been hogging the headlines, the Aggies have quietly built a talented team. Their Class of 2015 has been impressive, securing four four-star recruits in Admon Gilder, D.J. Hogg, Tyler Davis, and Elijah Thomas. Both Davis and Thomas have been rated at five stars in at least one major scouting site and are huge bodies that should make up for the loss of senior forward Kourtney Roberson.

Not only do they have young talent coming through, Danuel House is returning for his senior season as well as leading assist man Alex Caruso. Jalen Jones and his 13.7 points per game last season will also be returning, giving the Aggies a good balance of experience to go along with their expansive youth movement.

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  • Obviously, head coach Billy Kennedy has done a great job recruiting, but the question that remains for him is the same question that has been asked since he was hired at Texas A&M: Will he be able to translate his success in the Ohio Valley Conference with Murray State to the SEC?

    With a team that will be as talented as the one he currently has, it would be hard not to at least be in contention for Texas A&M’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011 when Kris Middleton was leading the way for the Aggies. Kennedy appears to be on the right track, basically improving every since he took over as head coach. The Aggies went from a 14 win team in 2012 to a team that won 21 games and just missed out on going to the NCAA Tournament last year.

    Unfortunately for Texas A&M, their improvement came at a time when every other team in the SEC improved as well. Kentucky may have lost a number of players to the NBA Draft, but they were unsurprisingly able to reload with quality talent and the rest of teams in the SEC have coaches with a history of success with good young talent.

    But with other teams eating up the news cycle, Texas A&M has the element of relative surprise if they jump out of the gate quickly. The team has a good mix of veteran players and gifted youth that can net beneficial results if they find a way to play together. Don’t be surprised if you see the maroon and white of the Aggies in March.

    Next: Michigan State Gets Five-Star Guard Josh Langford

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