Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday brought back that feeling. You know the feeling, a mix of disbelief and nausea. You felt it after the Cotton Bowl and Holiday Bowl. When we lost to Baylor in overtime. You felt it in 2003 regional against Houston when the winning run scored off an overthrow to first with two outs.

This time it was the ninth inning. The previous day's 5-3 victory had given us the chance to sweep a conference opponent for the first time this season. "Our hitters fought to get the lead back against their closer." We are in good shape, up by three and an at-bat left. An error, a walk, and a homer tie it. Baylor eventually chews threw four pitchers, gets seven runs and is up by four.

Our turn. We have guys on first and second and one out. The next two batters strike out and pop up. Game over.

Oh ya, the ladies lost to Tech in the final game of the season.
Fran picked up a verbal commitment from Junior inside linebacker Aaron Buckley (top 100 Junior by Texas Football magazine, first-team All-District 29-3A, second-team all-area). This kid is a beast. At 6'1''/255 lbs he bench presses 420 pounds, power clings 365, and squats 550. According to his high school coach, those number are good enough to put him "in the top 10 at A&M in three to five categories." In his Senior season, Buckley looks to top Palacios High School's unprecedented 2006 season. "[Last season] we won a district game (for the first time since 2001) and next year we want to go to the playoffs." Buckley picked us over Houston, Rice, Oklahoma State and Washington State.
The draft happened as expected. 255 guys that were selected, none of them Texas Aggies. I did take some pleasure in seeing Brady Quinn free fall. It wasn't like 21 teams didn't need a quaterback. The Dophins in particular were looking to retool their offense, but they too passed on Brady. As a conference, the Big-12 had 29 guys drafted. Here is the team breakdown:

Texas - 7
Nebraska - 4
Kansas State - 3
Oklahoma - 3
Texas Tech - 3
Baylor - 2
Oklahoma State - 2
Colorado - 2
Iowa State - 2
Missouri - 1
Kansas - 0
Texas A&M - 0

We can take comfort in two things. 1) We were not the only Big-12 school shunned by the draft, and 2) why would a basketball school care about the NFL draft?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another start for Kyle Nicholson and another personal best. Nicholson struck out 10 batters in seven innings, topping his previous best nine Ks set last week against OSU. His effort was good enough to get the 12-7 win. He is now 10-1 and the first Aggie pitcher to reach the 10 win mark since 2004.

Our bats were hot in Waco and no one knows that better than Baylor relief-pitcher, Jeffcoat. He faced five batters, gave up five hits and five runs before he was pulled. Zero innings pitched and five earned runs has got to wreck this guy's average. Jason Meyer did his best to to match Jeffcoat's performance, but his .2 innings and 4 earned runs wasn't quite enough to reach the infinity ERA mark.

The three-game series finishes up in College Station this weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tomorrow is one of the rare Saturdays an Aggie will reach past the maroon shirts, comb their hair instead of sliding on a 12th Man hat, and act like it is not one of the biggest football days of the year. Yes it is NFL draft day. In the past three years we have only had one player taken on the first day (T-Murph to the Packers in the second round). Look for that streak to continue.

Depending on what board you look at, we have between two and five players in the draft:
  1. Justin Warren - ILB
  2. Melvin Bullitt - S
  3. Courtney Lewis - RB
  4. Jason Jack - DE
  5. L'Tydrick Riley - WR
ESPN grades each player. Warren, Bullitt, Lewis and Jack got 30s and Riley got a 20. To give you some perspective, Calvin Johnson's grade is 99. 303 players for 109 different schools received grades higher than 30 (only 255 players get drafted). Some guy from Wingate (the self proclaimed "premier small private university in North Carolina") got a 52.

Any score between 21-49 indicates the player "does not have the full package in terms of NFL talent" but may be a "diamond in the rough." 20 indicates the player is good enough to get a grade but may be picked up in the pre-season.

I wounder if this will hurt our recruiting. Any guesses on the number of decommits we get next week?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Slade Weishuhn arrived on campus as the purported "best big man left in the state" ("left" refers to the fact that he was recruited very very late). This praise gave me the confidence to make the early prediction that he would be an impact player. A stress fracture led to a red shirt. Gillispie claimed that in absence of injury "he probably would’ve been our starting four man” so I stuck with my initial predicting. Unfortunately the injuries did not stop. Now that he is retiring and I am forced to admit that my prediction was wrong.
Great news for anyone who does not get Fox Sports Southwest, or whatever random channel our men's basketball games are broadcast on. ESPN and the Big-12 have announced a deal that will give the conference "more exposure than it’s ever had." Big Monday will still feature a Big-12 match up (look for A&M to make more appearances here, I think we are currently averaging 1 Big Monday game a season). Additional coverage will include Wednesday night games on ESPN2, a weekly conference highlights program, and every game of the men’s postseason tournament.
Turgeon has rounded out his support staff by hiring Byron Smith. That name should sound familiar to anyone who follows Aggie basketball. Smith was DeAndre Jordan's AAU coach. When Turgeon says "[Smith] has developed many contacts [in] Texas, especially in the Houston area", what he really means is Smith knows DeAndre Jordan.
The softball team blanked Texas 3-0 last night in College Station. Amanda Scarborough pitched a three-hit shutout and scored 2 of our 3 runs, 1 being a bases loaded walk but whatever. Jo Evans was impresses with Scarborough's toughness, "I didn't think Scarborough had her best stuff tonight... I'm really proud of her, because she could have easily felt bad and said I can't get this done, but she didn't." We are currently fourth in the conference with three games left, two against one of the worst teams (Tech) and one against the best team (Baylor). If we win out we should be the second seed going into the Big-12 tournament. No one is going to catch OU this year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I find it interesting how different new agencies cover the same story. Take Joe Jones's announcement that he was entering the NBA draft as an example. The most negative coverage, by far, came from the Houston Chronicle. They claim Joe's announcement is an "about-face" spurred by a "drastically" changed A&M basketball landscape. They go on to say that if Jones does leave, it would be "a blow to the new staff." According to these guys, things do not look good.

On the other end is the San Antonio Express. I have to give Brent Z credit here. In my opinion, he usually attempts to get his readers a little rilled up, but not this time. Brent's reaction to Joe's announcement? "Can’t blame him." Just being a part of the pre-draft process "can only help his career" by getting "his name in pro circles". He also expects "to see Jones back in maroon next season – as the undisputed leader." In this article it seems only obvious that Joe would enter the draft then withdraw.

Then you have Fort Worth Star-Telegram who didn't think the story was worth their time and just reran the press release.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What gave you the most heart burn last fall? The correct answer: the last two minutes of every football game. I would have also accepted: our improved-but-shaky defense, the hits McGee took, and McGee's inability to move through a passing progression. I am sure the coaching staff would agree with the last one, otherwise they would not have been so impressed with a "21-yard swing pass to running back Mike Goodson" in the Maroon & White game. On that play, the defense had all four deep routes covered and Mike was the last guy for McGee to check off. Last season McGee would have seen that coverage and decided his best move was to run over a linebacker. After emphasising the vertical passing game this spring, look for McGee to do more of the same this year. The biggest surprise last season was first year defensive coordinator Gary Darnell. In his second season he has worked to install more of his defense. I just hope he doesn't make things too complicated for these guys, some of them already think "it's kind of hard to keep up." That might not be a good thing.
Joe Jones announced today that he will enter the NBA draft, but not hire an agent, "I just want to test the water and see how I can compete against the best players in the world." No surprise here. Everyone gets one shot to enter the draft and pull out without loosing their eligibility (unless you are Randolph Morris), so there is not reason not to test the waters. On that note why is "test the waters" the only way to describe someone entering the draft then pulling out? I tried for a ten minutes to think of 3 other words that would convey the same meaning.
Earlier this month the final game of our road series with Tech was cancelled due to snow, and because of some strange 72-hour rule (a series must be completed within 72 hours of the visiting team's arrival for the series) the game was not made up. What does "team's arrival" really mean? Does the clock start when they cross the city limits, get to the hotel, or arrive at the field? My mind is currently spinning with ways to exploit this rule. Irregardless, the series ended in a split. And now we are making the game up by playing McNeese State. This confused me. Why play this game? Because of that 72-hour rule there cannot be a conference minimum-game requirement. If there is not conference minimum then I cannot imagine there is a NCAA minimum. It is not like season ticket holders are getting ripped off, the game was going to be in Lubock. This can only hurt our RPI (McNeese State is 13-27 so I am guessing their RPI is 23987). We did have some sort of weekend-Tuesday-weekend rhythm throughout the year, but 4 days rest before a HUGE home-away series with Texas seems like a good idea. I guess $Bill has to generate profit anywhere he can.
The baseball team faces Stephen F. Austin at Olsen today. This weekend was a tough one for us, but nothing can cheer-up a fan base quite like whipping up on a marshmallow (RPI 113). Recently de-red shirted freshman Clayton Ehlert gets the start tonight. Ehlert has only been playing for two weeks so he has limited experience. However, in his seven innings he has struck out six and allowed only two earned runs, so I expect good things from him. If his fast ball is up in the 90s and his change-up is there this should be fun. I think I just jinxed us, my b.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The timing of Tubby Smith's firing and HBO's UCLA documentary could not have been worst. Across the country sports radio personalities independently and concurrently made the connection between the number of years Wooden coached UCLA before his first championship (16) and the amount of time today's coaches are given before they are canned. For about a week I heard, "by today's standards John Wooden would have been fired years before his 10 championships" about 923874 times. I would like to know how many other aspects of the 1948 version of basketball are compared to the 2007 version of basketball. Some how the patiences of fans is the only constant in the game. That is one reason I found SI's article details the small group coaches who should "be expected to win right away" so interesting. The other (real) reason is is that our boy Turgeon is on their list of instant winners. Our stacked lineup (Joe, DJ, Kirk, Carter) and Turgeon's perceived ability is projecting us to into the Sweet 16 again. No pressure coach.
Dravannti Johnson is the latest in a slew of top-rated football recruits to decommit. Britt Mitchell switched his verbal commitment to OU. Andre Dean had picked us, but after visiting UCLA he decide he wanted to be a west-coast boy. "I just felt it was the right decision for me. I visited UCLA, and I liked the school and the team's offense. It's a good fit for me." Leroy Chevalier reopened his recruitment and has received an offer from Georgia. I have not heard that Damian Square has official decommitted, but he might be leaning towards offers from Alabama and Florida. After last season I expected to do well in recruiting. We lost most of our game by just a few points, and beat Texas in Austin. I do not know what happened between then and now, but Fran needs to stop the bleeding.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

First the good news, we took the first game from OSU. Kyle Nicholson pitched another great game, striking out a career high nine batters. Childress ominous comment was that "We made several mistakes on the bases and defensively and still found a way to win." Now the bad news, we lost the next two. In the second game OSU went up in the sixth off Brodie Greene's throwing error, there are those mistakes again. Greene made up for the E in the eighth with his two-out, game-tying RBI single. You know what is better than a two-out, game-tying RBI single in the eighth? Simon's two-out, two-RBI, game winning double in the ninth. Never heard of Simon? Well that is because he plays for OSU. The third game was a slug-fest. Both teams had 13 hits. We used seven pitchers, OSU used eight. In my preview of this game I noted OSU had more the most homers in the Big-12. Well, they added three more in this game. One of those was a ninth-inning two-run game winner. I was hoping to get out of this home series in second place, take care of business against two bottom half teams (Baylor, K-State), and have the Texas series be a battle for the Big-12. At least it is finally warm in DC.

Friday, April 20, 2007

This weekend's series against OSU is huge, both nationally (we are 14, they are 15) and in conference (they are 2, we a game back at 4). We have a number of advantages in this series. Base running: We have the top two base stealers in the conference, Ben Feltner and Brandon Hicks. We also lead the league in over all stolen bases, 99. So we should do well against OSU's starting catcher, who has only caught one runner this year. Pitching: We sport the second best ERA in the conference, 3.59, and tonight's staring pitcher, Kyle Nicholson, leads the league with an ERA of 1.14. OSU does hit very well, they average .346 with 58 homers. We are close in average, .319, but are way behind in homers, 35. The result of this game could "have implications when it comes to regional host selection."

First pitch is set for 6:30 CST at Olsen.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I do not give A&M women's athletics nearly enough attention, especially considering they are generally more successful then the men. So this update has nothing to do with the fact that basketball and football are over and we don't play anyone in baseball tonight.

The women's golf team defended their Big-12 title. This is our 5th conference championships of the year.

The softball team took both games from OSU.
Know your incomming fresman class: B.J. Holmes

B.J. Homes grew up in Alief, TX where he attended Hasting High School. He is not a big guy, 5-10 160, but still averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals. BJ was district MVP his Sophmore and Junior year. In his Junior year hew was also an All-State and All-Greater Houston pick. In the Kingwood Classic, an AAU tournament, BJ lead the T-Mac All-Stars to a victory over Califonria Hoops with 17 points. He did had trouble finishing at the basket and "still needs to put on weight."

Billy Gillispie:
B.J. is a premier, true point guard and those guys are few and far between. He’s played on winning teams his entire life. He plays bigger than his size and is a tremendous competitor.
Dave Telep (
B.J. plays a lot tougher than his listed size.
Mike Kunstadt (Texas Hoops):
B.J. Is very quick and is a good ball-handler, scorer and penetrator. He also is a good on-ball man defender and is very athletic. He's a true point guard and is a really nice addition to the A&M program.
BJ picked us over Illinois, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Texas, Georgetown, Charlotte and Miami (Fla.).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yesterday was not a "let down Tuesday" for the baseball team, we beat Houston 8-3. Jason Meyer only got three innings in (2 hits, 2 runs, 2 Ks) before rain forced an hour long delay. Scott Migl came in after the delay to strike out 5 in 4 innings and get the win. Both Luke Anders and Blake Stouffer had three hits and two RBI. The always humble Childress claimed that "we were one hit away from making this a stress-free game, but their relievers did a good job of keeping the game close." If a 6 run lead after 3 innings isn't stress-free, then I am not sure what is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Turgeon hired another one of his Wichita State assistants. Mike Rohn has been named director of basketball operations. After seven seasons together at WSU Rohn has become Turgeon's "right-hand man".
Turgeon doesn't mind that Victor Dubovitsky wanted out. It actually works out perfectly. Gillispie signed five players, but with Joe Jones coming back next year, we only have four spots. We got the four wanted. For Turgeon, keeping the players was easier than expected
"I was really nervous about everything, but after the first conversations with every kid, I knew that it was going to work out. I just wanted to meet everyone face to face."

If you had any questions about what kind of man Coach T is, this should put it to rest. For a week or so worked both the A&M and WSU jobs concurrently so he would not leave WSU in a bad situation, "Wichita State is a great place and I told Jim [the WSU AD] that I would do whatever I could to help until they hired a coach." Who did he do it for? "the seniors I left behind". Very classy.
The baseball team faces Houston tonight at Olsen Field. Jason Meyer will get the start, he has started nine games and is 4-0 with an ERA of 5.89. Houston is starting a guy (Donnie Joseph) who has started seven games but has yet to record a decision. I am not an expert at reading stats, but considering he has about 20 less innings pitched than the other starters and one of the highest ERAs on the team, I am guessing his lack of decisions is not a result of the bullpen blowing leads.

Here is a bit of history for you, our series win over Mizzou was our first Big-12 road series win since 2004. Wow.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Turgeon hired a second assistant, Scott Spinelli. Considering Spinelli "lives to recruit ­ he loves everything about recruiting and is really good at it", I am very glad he is on our side.

Turgeon met with, and convinced all but one of our recruits to honor their commitment to Texas A&M. 4 out of 5 isn't bad, epically when the one that go away is a JUCO player from Moscow, and not a top-10 player from Houston.

Here is what the guys had to say about Turgoen...

I had a great visit with Coach Turgeon and I think he will be a good fit for me. I'm looking forward to being a part of great things at A&M next season.
I didn't know much about Coach Turgeon before I met him. I liked what he was talking about and where he is taking the program. That convinced me.
I am looking forward to going to Texas A&M next year. After meeting Coach Turgeon, I decided to stay with A&M. I talked to him for a while and decided he was a pretty cool guy.
Walkup (I am pretty sure this is an old quote)
I've wanted to play at A&M and win a national championship there, so that's what I plan to do. We want to come in next year and build on what the guys before us have done.

With Victor going elsewhere, we have one open scholarship. When Gillispie came in he had a few open spots, so he signed three guys: Slade Weishuhn, Edjuan Green, and Dom-Kirk. 2 of these guys didn't work out (Edjuan had a few games where he looked good, but Slade was pretty much always hurt) and 1 guy has started every game and pretty took over in the dance this year. I don't know who might fill that spot, but when Turgeon says "Now we can focus on recruiting our next class" I am led to believe he has no one in mind.
It is official, DeAndre Jordan is going to be an Aggie. A big thank you goes out to Bryan for pointing this one my way.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I have spent the majority of my day refreshing blogs, message boards, and news sites hoping for some official word on DeAndre Jordan's status. So far nothing official. There is this little piece of evidence, his away message currently reads...
MVP of Adidas Allstar Game, u know how that goes!

Even the paralyzed feel my impact!!!

**** yall, Ima AGGIE! I still love Coach G
Don't judge me.
Coach Jo Evans got her 400th win in fine fashion today, our 5th-ranked softball team (mostly Amanda Scarborough, who only allowed 1 hit and had 10 strike outs) blanked Kansas 13-0.
[UPDATE] We took the 3rd game from Mizzou, 5-2. Just going off the box score, starter David Newmann pitched 6 innings, struck out 7, allowed 2 hits, and no runs. Luke Anders was 3-4 at bat with 2 RBI and a home run. This win should move us into 3rd in the Big-12.

[UPDATE] Here is the first sentence from the story on "David Newmann struck out seven in six scoreless innings and Luke Anders went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI". I am not going to say that they stole this off me, but you cannot ignore the similarities. I will let you decide who scooped who.
To DeAndre Jordan, the "UK, UK" chant that greeted him on Saturday at the Derby Festival Classic was "fun", but he declined to comment on his future. Billy Gillispie's puppet, UK signee A.J. Stewart, did his best to lobby DJ, "I told him we want him, and I let him know it'd be cool to be on the same team." I am so glad he will decide soon, because this is annoying. In other news, DJ scored 18 points and pulled down 7 boards in the game. Those numbers are a little less impressive considering 257 points were scored in the game (140-117). DJ was the top scorer on his team, but only the 5th best in the game.
"Kyle Nicholson was outstanding." He did exactly what you want a pitcher to do in a double header, he pitched a complete game and got the win. Nicholson is now 8-1. Mizzou came back to win the second game, so the series will be decided by today's game. If we can get a win today, we will move ahead of the 3rd placed Tigers in the Big-12.

I like Steven McGee. I think he brought a toughness and determination to our team that has not been there since Reggie McNeal came onto the scene. But two things worried me last year: his inability to find open receivers and the hits. So it was good news that he has learned to find "
his second, third and fourth options" and bad news that he tried to "overpower [Mark Dodge] on a scramble attempt" and took a running hit. The hits are just part of his game, so as fans we have to cross our fingers and hope he can last two more seasons. Cornell Tarrant was able to show off his 4.3 speed. In the last 36 seconds of the game he "took [his] first step, immediately cut left, and just used [his] speed the rest of the way" to the end zone. This guy is our 3rd option in the backfield, things are looking good.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Marron & White game is today. This little tradition of making a big deal about the last scrimmage of spring practice started when Fran showed up. I went to the first one, and I have to say, it was pretty boring. It has the same feel as the NFL Pro Bowl. I do think the draft process is amusing. Maybe this happens every year, but at least once one team drafted both punters. I thought that was a brilliant move, but the coaches came back later and balanced out the team. Way to ruin the fun coach. If you are not in College Station and you disagree with me, there is a free live video stream here.

Congrats to Dat Nguyen, he was named to the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. In the 1998 Cotton Bowl Dat had 20 tackles, 15 solos (Cotton Bowl record), 7 for loss and a pick. Some how we still lost that game.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Parker Dalton has fought back from right shoulder surgery and cancer to sport the best batting average on the team and 3rd best in the Big-12 (.422). Despite the recovery, a less than stellar performance last year, and a number of highly rated incoming freshman, Dalton has worked his way back to a starting role at second back. Amazing.

The DeAndre Jordan story is dragging out a bit. DJ's AAU coach, Byrton Smith, has not changed his story ( "As far as I know, he's still committed to A&M"), but comments from DJ himself would make any Aggie squirm. "I don't know what the future holds right now. I'm just trying to feel out the staff [at A&M] and see how they are." Cross your fingers that the meeting between Turgeon and DJ on Sunday goes well, very very well. This might cheer you up, DJ said that leaving the choice of college question blank was "merely an oversight."

Brent Z likes to get us all rilled up, but I am officially ignoring all Gillispie/A&M stories. Turgeon is the only coach I care about.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

DeAndre Jordan's AAU coach, Byron Smith, has confirmed that DJ does not want follow Gillispie to Kentucky, "He's a loyal kid. Once he gives his word, he sticks to it." Smith went on to say that DJ has spoken to Turgeon and that the two hit it off.

Looks like today is the day for coaches to confirm things about players.
Chris Walker's high school basketball coach, Darryn Shearmire, has confirmed that Chris is "leaving the "Corporate America World" of IBM, and is now officially on the coaching staff at the University of Kentucky with Coach Gillespie [SIC]." He will not be one of Gillispie's main assistant, but you have to start somewhere. From IBM to an assistant coach, talk about a pay cut.
Turgeon is hitting the road to meet face to face with the top-rated recruiting class he inherited from Gillispie. He has spoken with all five guys and their "reception was positive, but it was too early to say what each recruit's status is." DeAndre Jordan will be in Louisville to play in the adidas Derby Festival Classic (a pep school all-start game), so he and Turgeon will not meet until Sunday. This is very unfortunately because you KNOW Gillispie is going to be at that game and will figure out some way of talking to DJ, although I am sure that would break 39874 NCAA recruiting regulations (and his word, again). This is old news, but Jordan did not answer the question "where are you attending college" question blank in a player-profile questionnaire for the game and he "has not returned calls [FROM THE MEDIA] to his home and cell phone".

Roy Williams (the UNC head coach, not the Cowboys safety and not the Lions wide receiver) cannot say enough good things about his former assistant (Turgeon, duh).
He's got the intelligence, he's got the organization ability, he's got the competitiveness, and he's got the passion. To me, those are the four qualities I would want a guy to have, and he's got that whole package.

He's very well-prepared. He's got a wonderful sense of humor; he likes people.

He'll be very passionate about the job. He'll be passionate about A&M; he'll be passionate about all the programs. He'll be a wonderful addition to the athletic department, the community. He'll be fantastic.

A&M is getting a guy who is extremely well-prepared. I just think it's a great, great match. It's a great marriage for everybody.

Ya, ya, that is all very nice. But would Roy give Turgeon a Coke?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Turgeon was on the Zone today. RPTS Fun from texags was nice enough to relay the conversation for those of us not fortunate enough to catch the live broadcast. Here are the highlights:

On Texas recruiting...
Looks forward to driving around Texas and recruiting home-grown kids.

WSUwas close to BigD and H-Town, so it was convenient. 6 of 9 players on the Sweet 16 team were Texans. Having A&M on your chest takes recruiting to whole new level. Gonna try to get the best players in the state.
On the legendary coaches he was worked under...
Roy Williams taught MT how to be a better person, how to run an offense, how to recruit. He and Brown were his two biggest influences.
On the NBA...
Learned how to double team, use ball screens. Helped him learn more advanced plays. NBA experience gives a coach more credibility, which helps his recruiting.
Style of play...
Says it will be a lot Gillispie's man-to-man. He's big on defense. On offense, he likes Kansas & North Carolina style. Likes fast, motion offense. Likes to run. Not 100% sure how he'll run ours - needs to see our players more, but he knows how to adapt.
On our current recruits...
Made calls last night. "The players that have signed, they love A&M and they love the current players." Feels "pretty confident" that all the recruits will be here. Not allowed to go out and do face-to-face until Friday. One recruit is out of town until Sunday, so they'll have a busy weekend.

2 of them watched the press yesterday, and MT "thinks they were sold after watching it." He knows people are concerned about 'the big fella' (DJ), but he is confident about the power of A&M and his (MT's) own background and the type of coach he is, he can't see why it won't work out.
On being at Texas A&M...
"No doubt in my mind this is where I need to be. I'm excited, my family is excited." This is a huge step in my career. I'm gonna take A&M basketball to a whole new level.
In an ESPN chat today Bob Gibbons from Scouts Inc.'s answered a question about DeAndre Jordan's future at A&M:
Adam- that is an interesting question. He knows coach Gillispie well, but a player signs with a school and not a coach. Kentucky could use someone like Jordan. But releases are not a given, and we do not know if Jordan will even want to go to Kentucky, as he is a native Texan, and A&M may deny that request since he is one of the best centers in the country. I doubt that A&M will grant a release, and so then it will come down the appeals process, which will take a while. I'm sure Gillispie would want him, but it is not really up to him. I think Jordan will stay at Texas A&M.
Is it worth forcing a kid to stay? DJ has the NBA scouts to impress, so regardless of what happens he will be great. I am worried about damaging the image of our athletic department. If a release is not granted, then we become the program that puts the well being of its athletes behind its own interests. You can be sure that will be dug up in any head-to-head recruiting battles. "Remember what they did to DJ".
The SA-Express put together an list of the greatest Texas college basketball players. Their top 3 are Elvin Hayes, Kevin Durant, and Hakeem Olajuwon. It is pretty amazing to think that Durant is up there with guys like Hayes and Olajuwon after only 1 season. One Texas Aggie made the list of 20, Acie Law came in at 16. Both Acie and Durant's ability is still fresh in our mind, it will be interesting to see where they would be on a list made 10 years from now. I could see both Durant and Acie moving up in list (Yes I know, I am saying Durant might be the best Texas college basketball player). The D-Morning News is calling Turgeon "Gillispie-like" in that he is a defensive-minded coach who like his teams to play very hard and as a team. It seems both Turgeon and Gillispie are more "Bill Self-life".

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here is a better picture of the crowd:And a link to the audio.
Early reports indicate the crowd size at Turgeon's reception to be between 3,500 and 1,500. That is a pretty big range, but either way I would say anyone that took the over on my line (500) is a winner.

Here is a fun game, compare the pics from Turgeon's introduction....

And Gillispie's introduction....

Anyone still think basketball is not important in College Station?
Turgeon will be bringing his assistants with him from Wichita State. I, along with many others, was hoping to see Alvin Brooks stay on the staff, but that seems very unlikely how.
If you are one of the few Aggies left who are not disgusted by Ricky Barnes, this latest quote will show you the light. While commenting on Durant's sweep of the 6 player of the year honors, Ricky pointed out how sorry he was for the other nominees and "felt like looking at Acie and saying, 'Poooooor Aggie!". This is obviously his attempt to compensate for the fact that he couldn't get his team to the Sweet 16, despite have a player capable of sweeping all player of the year honors.
Today is a good day to be an Aggie. We will welcome our new coach, Mark Turgeon, and Kevin Durant made the decision give up his last three years of eligibility and go pro. It is safe to assume Durant will not be like Randolph Morris, who was undrafted and returned to Kentucky to finish out his senior season.

Monday, April 9, 2007

I actually have a link to a press conference time, and it looks like I was right the first time. " A press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday to announce Mark Turgeon as the next head coach of the men's basketball program at Texas A&M." I also became aware that not all of my links are correct. I am not sure if I just mess up when I paste in the link, or if the story the link is pointing to get modified. Lets go with the 2nd option.

[UPDATE] Here is the athletic department's press release. I am curious to see how many people show up to greet Turgeon. I will set the over/under at 500. Any takers?
Mark Turgeon is on a flight back to Wichita to make a 10PM meeting with his players. It was widely reported that Turgeon would not publicly accept our offer before he could talk to his players in person. The pessimist in me says it is publicity stunt cooked up by $Bill to use the fans/players negative emotions towards they way Gillispie left (text messages) to gain respect. That said, the move gained respect.
There are early reports that Chris Walker, former Texas A&M walk-on/starter/stud, has been hired as Gillispie's assistant at Kentucky. Chris was not the best athlete on the court, but he was the most intense. I once saw him dive head first into some metal chairs, cut his head, and come back in the game. He also played his last season with a torn ACL. This is a great opportunity for Chris, and for Texas A&M. I thought we would have to way a VERY long time before having an Aggie as head coach, with Chris on as an assistant at a major program under one of the best coaches around, that wait time just got cut by a few years. Good luck Chris!
The 4pm players meeting was right, as comfirmed by Dom-Kirk. And as if you needed more proof, here is a picture of Turgeon in $Bill's Tahoe. I hope Turgeon was not too turned off by the Tahoe. That might also be the worst paparazzi picture ever.
The word is that a press conference (or something along those lines) will be held at 3pm on Tuesday. I have no official like for this yet. But here is the link to the a flight from Wichita to College Station that Turgeon is probably on.

[UPDATE] It looks like the announcement will be 1 hour later and one day sooner. 4pm TODAY! Still no official link, so take that with a grain of salt.

[UPDATE] The rumor now is that there is a team meeting at 4 pm today. Not sure about when the press conference would be. One would think if the 4pm players meeting info is accurate, the public announcement would be... 4:03? Ya, I know. I'm sorry for any plane tickets purchased based on previous, unconfirmed information.

[UPDATE] Wow, how annoying these updates must be. This is a good one though, " said a contract will likely be offered today and that Turgeon will return to Wichita to meet his team before being introduced as the Aggies' new coach in College Station on Tuesday." So lets just pretend that my 1st update was never made. I also like the fact the is going to tell his players face-to-face. Keep glued to the flight tracker.
"Texas A&M has reached an agreement for Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon to take over as the Aggies' new men's basketball coach, according to three people with knowledge of the deal."

Sunday, April 8, 2007

We "offered the men's basketball job to Witchita State coach Mark Turgeon". He has not accepted yet, but "he is expected to meet with Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne Monday with a possible news conference Tuesday in College Station."

Here are some quick facts about Mark Turegon. In 8 seasons at Wichita State he:
          • Won a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship
          • finished with a Top 25 ranking
          • has two NCAA Tournament wins
          • was awarded the MVC Coach of the Year Award
          • had Back-to-back-to-back 20-plus winning seasons
          • appeared in Four-straight postseason appearances in (NIT in 2003, 2004, 2005 and NCAA in 2006)
Prior to Witchita Turgeon was:
  • a reserve point guard on the Kansas
  • an assistant to Larry Brownel at Kansas (1988 National Championship)
  • an assistant to Roy Williams at Kansas (Big Eight Conference Championships in 1991 & 1992, NCAA runner-up in 1991, Big Eight Tournament Champion in 1992).
  • an assistant to Larry Brown with the Philadelphia 76ers

No news on the coaching search. Chalk it up to Easter Sunday, not my lack of connections.

The final game of the Texas Tech series was canceled due to snow. There will be no make-up game, but "a game may be added to the Aggies' midweek schedule later this year." I really don't understand this. A game against Tech? Wouldn't that be a make-up game? We took the first game, 7-4, and Tech evened the series the next day 8-3. Matt Ueckert took the loss after giving up four runs in 3 1/2 innings. In other good news, we were also 3-15 with runners in scoring position and had two errors that led to three runs.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Gillispie SAID he would not try to lure any of his four signees to UK. Apparently "that's not the honorable way to do it." I personally don't believe a word this guys says, but that is a tough statement to back out of. He went on to say "I'm sure they'll all honor their National Letter of Intent." Here is a list of all of the recruits and what their reaction was...

B.J. Holmes: Following Rick Barnes's recipe for success, we went after a point guard whose first name had the second initial "J", and it looks like we still have him. Fellow recruit Nathan Walkup talked to him and said, "B.J. sounded really confident he'd stay at A&M".

Nathan Walkup: Nathan is defiantly staying. In fact he is trying to rally the troops, "
I'm trying to get B.J. and DeAndre to not even consider leaving... along with Derrek Lewis".

Derrek Lewis: This is the only incoming freshman not from Houston. His reaction to Billy-G leaving was,
"Right now I have no clue. It's something I'm going to have sit down and talk about with my parents. We'll then decide what I'm going to do." This guy was also recruited by Tulsa, a school that is MUCH closer to home.

Victor Dubovitsky
: No word on this JC guy from
Moscow, Russia.

DeAndre Jordan: And the top guy of the class, his status unknown.
Josh Cater texted him after Billy ditched us, but DeAndre didn't indicated what he would do.

The status of most of these guys is depends on the quality of coach $Bill can bring in.

[UPDATE] This quote is old, but I missed it. DeAndre Jordan
was asked BEFORE Billy left what he would do and he said, "If he did leave, I probably would have left and went with him. I would have just looked at all my options." And Derik Lewis's dad said that "We were going to Texas A&M because of coach Gillispie. The coaches that are still there, we have a good rapport with them. A lot of what happens will depend on what Bill Byrne does and who ends up there."

Friday, April 6, 2007


I will do my best to keep a running list. Lets start with Andy Katz's list:

1. Winthrop's Gregg Marshall (Byrne spoke with after the Aggies beat the Eagles this season)
2. Pitt's Jamie Dixon
3. Nebraska's Doc Sadler
4. Wichita State's Mark Turgeon

Anyone want to add to the list?

[UPDATE] I am not going to put coach mentioned on texags, but this one is fun. $Bill is going to throw the bank at USC's Tim Floyd. I looked into photoshoping that one, but there no good action shots of $Bill. So now we have...

5. UCS's
Tim Floyd

You think you are upset? Check out what Josh Carter had to say...
I understand, but he always talked to us about being adults and being men, and you would think as a man he would have called his players and talked to us about it. I totally understand why he took the job and that Kentucky is a better basketball school and a better place to be, but he’s still our coach and I want him to be here. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m upset about it.

I would also like to remind you of a good Billy-G quote, "I'm honest with my players." Really?
GREAT NEWS!! "Gillispie has agreed in principle to a seven year contract" with UK. If you have been following this saga, to Billy-G "agreed in principle" means "about to take another coaching job". Go get him $Bill!
"The University of Kentucky will hold a pep rally and a press conference today to announce the 21st head coach in UK men’s basketball history." The scheduled time is 12:45PM. We lost him.... I am over it. I refuse to believe that $Bill will let our program dive back into the depth of crappiness. He did it once before. He can do it again. Get us a good one! $Bill is the real deal (he once offered to give a friend and I a ride at a Rice regional baseball tournament), so you have to believe he has been working on a contingency plan this whole time. He isn't really sick, he has been traveling the country talking to coaches. Here is Andy Katz's short list for future A&M coaches: Pitt's Jamie Dixon, Oral Roberts' Scott Sutton and Nevada's Mark Fox. I am lukewarm on all these guys. I want OU's coach, Jeff Capel, but I am pretty sure that won't happen. But I also pretty sure Billy-G was staying.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Kentucky now has to move on to option C after "The Longhorns coach met with reporters Thursday and said [Barnes] intends to be at Texas" The candidates are now Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Marquette's Tom Crean, Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie and Gonzaga's Mark Few. There are some reports that UK was given permission to talk to Bill G.

[UPDATE] SA-Express picked up the story now. "Mitch Barnhart called Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne about 7 p.m. Thursday night to seek permission to speak to Aggies basketball coach Billy Gillispie about the Wildcats’ vacancy. Byrne granted Barnhart permission." This is all happening very fast.

[UPDATE] ESPN has it. At this point you have to think he is gone. Every other coach took themselves out of it (Pitino, Barnes, Donovan) before being contacted. I hope he stays, but I also hope $Bill Byrne has some coaches on speed dial.
Okay, so I cannot ignore the coaching situation when there is actual news to report. ESPN is reporting that "will announce later Thursday that he will remain the Gators' coach and not make himself available to interview for the opening at SEC rival Kentucky." If this was FOX I would not have even posted it, but ESPN has some level of credibility. I heard a clip of Billy-D on the radio this morning and he seemed very shady. Guess he just sound shady all of the time. He dresses like he is shady. Have you seen his suits, his watch?
As you may or may not know, the Masters started, which peaked my interest (for the 1st time) in our golf team. Turns out we are pretty good. We placed 5th at the NIT. I know nothing about college golf, but I am pretty sure this NIT is not analogous to the basketball NIT (I base this on the fact AFTER the NIT we play our "final regular-season event April 13-15". Now that is deductive reasoning). Anyone know how a national champion is determined? Is there 1 big tourney where some proportion of the top teams are invited, or is it some formula of regular season play? The baseball team is headed up to Lubbock today.
Jealous? Junior Lefty David Newmann will get the start for game 1 of the 3 game series. Newman is 4-1 after and sports a 3.26 ERA. Tech is giving us a little boost (not that we need it), by removing an "unspecified number of players" from their lineup. I guess that will be specified number of players in around 6pm tonight. Here are some notes from spring football practice, I don't get much out of these. Maybe I you do. I am tired of the Billy-G-UK story, so you must look elsewhere for news. Try here, here, or here (that last one is a link to a UK student government vote endorsing Billy Donovan. Next up is a vote endorsing gravity.) The Arkansas head basketball coaching job is now radioactive. 1st their new coach backs out and now "two players tested positive for marijuana recently, and another is under academic suspension." Pretty safe to assume those two things are related.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

My buddy, Brent Z from the SA-Express, reminds all of us that if "the Wildcats come clamoring for Gillispie, there's a good chance he's good as gone." How many of these stories can this guy write? I'm not even mad; it's amazing. DJ Augustin is not headed for the NBA. Some how I am not concerned. I was actually surprised he got an All-American honorable mention. Am I alone on this one? All I remember him doing is constantly driving the hole at the end of games, instead of passing to a future Player of the Year. 1st time starter Kiel Renfro only lasted 2 innings. But thanks to Jason Meyer's relief (six Ks in 4 1/3 innings) and Kyle Thebeau's save (struck out 2 to end the 8th with a bunch of guys on base), Childress was able to say "the pitching tonight was outstanding" with a straight face after the 9-4 win over South West Texas Texas State.
Juior right-hander Kiel Renfro gets his first start tonight against Texas State. With 18.1 innings pitched, Renfro has (by-far) the most innings pitches with out a start. I know that is a useless stat, but its baseball. He also has the 5th best ERA among our pitchers that have pitched at least 9 innings. Okay enough of that. 1st pitch is at 6PM. Chris Harrington made the Lott Trophy Watch List. For those of you who are not in the know, the Lott Trophy "equally recognize athletic performance and personal character attributes". Our guys may not be the quickest and strongest, but they sure are nice!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Just picked this one off the texags message boards, thought I would pass it along. Thanks Purple.

Here is the list of schools with top-10 highest paid basketball and football coaches:
  1. Ohio State
  2. Texas
  3. Texas A&M
I am no accountant, but I have heard of the idea of "return on investment."
The football team had their first situational scrimmage of the spring. This is similar to the practice mode on EA Sports NCAA Football 2004 (I know it is 2007, but I like how fast Reggie is in the 2004 version. It makes the triple option very dangerous/easy.). The offense lines up in the red zone, at the goal line, does the 2 minute drill, etc. There is none of that kickoff nonsense. Fran was "reasonably pleased with how it went." That is reasonably good news. It was nice to see the tighends get some work done. Fran noted that, "using [Joey and Martellus] in the passing game is a really good option for us." I am not a football scholar, but base on how little they get the ball it must be very difficult to use the tightend. But why? Is it hard to find a guy the of the right size/skill set? Does it take too much time for their routs to develop? Is the QB trying to throw to a side where he has just lost a blocker? To me it seems like a no brainer. Block, block, run your pattern. 8 yards every time. How do you defend against that? At the very least you eliminate 1 person on the defense, and if a route is not run you are up a blocker. Someone straighten me out on this.

Both the baseball team and softball team bounced back after 1st game losses. The boys cleaned up their defense (7 errors in the 1st game) and took the next two games from Nebraska to win the series, 8-5 (3 errors) and 8-7 (2 errors). The girls won the 2nd game 9-4 to split the series against #3 OU.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Does anyone feel different about Billy-G? Remember the win at Penn State 3 years ago? You may or may not have been driving back from the Cotton Bowl... pissed off. I'll remind you. We were down BIG but rallied back. 2 foreshadowing free throws by Acie won it. The win might not be that impressive, but when Billy talked about the post-game locker room atmosphere he almost cried. I think he cried in half of his press conferences that year. I felt special. I though we had a special coach who wanted to be coaching in College Station. Who felt like he was one of us. I knew every school with an opening would at least consider him. But I wanted it to be differently. I wanted it to be like when the Lakers came after Coach K and he turned down the money for in favor of "his heart". That didn't happen to us. We have to accept that will ever happen to us. He will always give a "no comment" and we will always feel like we are about to loose him. I don't want to sound ungrateful, because I am not. We have one of the best coaches in the nation who is going to win a national championship. Lets just hope Dollar Bill can outbid everyone long enough for him to do that here.