The Texas A&M Aggies enter tonight’s contest with an impressive 15-2 record, 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Thanks to some success in the transfer portal, it was expected that Coach Buzz Williams would have an improved group this season. However, nobody could have envisioned a 15-2 start. The Aggies are taking care of business against teams they are supposed to beat.
Texas A&M has only played four games against teams in the KenPom Top 100 and have gone 2-2 in those matchups. Neutral floor losses to Wisconsin and TCU are the only blemishes on the resume. However, it has yet to be seen just how good this team is as they enter the meat of the SEC schedule. We should learn a lot over the next week with tonight’s game against Kentucky followed by road trips to Arkansas and LSU.
Coach Buzz Williams is starting four transfer portal additions and has a four-star freshman playing significant minutes as a reserve. It was a very productive recruiting season down in College Station. There are only three significant contributors that returned from last year’s team. One of those returners is graduate student Quenton Jackson who leads the Aggies in scoring at 12.9 points per game off the bench. Jackson is one of the most improved players in the conference this season.
We’ve got a full scouting report prepared to get you ready for tonight’s game at Reed Arena. Dive on in to a full personnel breakdown, offense and defensive analysis, and the keys to the game. Let’s get to know more about the Texas A&M Aggies.
Texas A&M Aggies Personnel
#1 Marcus Williams: 6’2″ 197 lbs, Sophomore Point Guard
10.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.1 apg
Skilled point guard. Good shooter! No 3’s! Break his rhythm on the perimeter so he can’t dribble into a pull-up 3. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase off downscreens and flares. Pick him up early in transition. He is their most aggressive outside shooter. Loves to play off the ballscreen. Really wants to drive it right. No right hand drives! Get over and cut him off. Will reject ballscreens to drive it right. No rejects. Switch if you need to in order to stay between him and the basket on the ballscreens. Do not over help when he drives. Excellent passer. Would rather make him finish tough 2’s than get an assist. Contest everything and make him finish over you. Don’t help off him. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. More shots than points for him.
#20 Andre Gordon: 6’2″ 186 lbs, Junior Guard
8.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg
SHOOTER!!! NO 3’s!!! 51 of 94 shots have been 3’s. Shooting 49% from 3. Have to be tight to him at all times to take away the catch-and-shoot. Tighten up as the ball comes towards you. Do not help off him. Find him in transition. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase off downscreens and flares. Switch if there is space to get out and take away the 3’s. Likes to use the left to right crossover when attacking the basket. Wants to go to his right. No right hand drives. Will cut along the baseline when someone else drives it. You should be tight to him anyway so you shouldn’t lose sight of him on a cut. No 3’s for him!
#23 Tyrece Radford: 6’2″ 200 lbs, Junior Guard
9.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.3 apg
Lefty. Capable shooter but much more aggressive as a left-hand driver. NO LEFT HAND DRIVES!!! You need to closeout a step short to guard against the left-hand drives. Loves to attack closeouts. Still have your hands up to deter the initial catch-and-shoot. You can start by hoping underneath the ballscreens and handoffs. Stunt and help more off him but be ready to give a good closeout. Not thinking about passing when he drives it. You can pick and choose your spots to come take it off him when he drives, especially when driving it left. Excellent offensive rebounder. Averaging over 2 offensive rebounds per game. Have to box him out! No left hand drives!
#10 Ethan Henderson: 6’8″ 193 lbs, Senior Forward
2.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.5 apg
Long, athletic forward. Non-shooter. Closeout short if he is on the perimeter. Mostly plays around the basket and lets #15 Coleman III to play away from the hoop. Will ballscreen and roll to the basket. Will slash and cut hard to the basket when he is away from the ball. Don’t get back cut. Right hand, left shoulder around the basket. Will drive it right when he faces up. No right hand drives. Crashes the offensive glass hard. Box out! Make him score with you between him and the basket.
#15 Henry Coleman III: 6’8″ 243 lbs, Sophomore Forward
11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.6 apg
Skilled forward. Non-shooter, but will play away from the basket quite a bit. Right hand driver. NO RIGHT HAND DRIVES! You need to get over and cut off the right hand drives. Will shot fake to set up the drive. Stay down on the fakes because we want him to shoot the jump shot. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Very strong and physical inside. Be physical on his left shoulder. You can come dig the ball out of the post when he has it. Pick your spots to aggressively come steal the ball when he drives it. Only 9 assists this season. Not thinking about passing. Stay between him and the basket. Get him off the block. Percentages will go down the further out he has to catch it. Excellent offensive rebounder. Box out!!! No right hand drives. No layups/dunks.
#3 Quenton Jackson: 6’5″ 173 lbs, Graduate Student Guard
12.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.5 apg
Thin, athletic guard. Very aggressive off the dribble. Be ready for him to drive it at you hard. Wants to drive it right. NO RIGHT HAND DRIVES!!! Get over and cut off the right hand drive. You can stunt and help a little bit off him but we don’t want to give up catch-and-shoot 3’s. Pick and choose your spots to come take it off him. 25 assists to 31 turnovers. Good shooter. 38.9% from 3. Need to be there to take away catch-and-shoot 3’s. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase off downscreens and flares. Loves to use the left-to-right crossover and hesitation dribble to try and get by you. Will shot fake to attack the closeout. Stay between him and the basket. Contest everything. More shots than points for him. No right hand drives.
#4 Wade Taylor IV: 6’0″ 186 lbs, Freshman Guard
7.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.7 apg
Backup point guard. Play him straight up. Good shooter. Need to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Drives it hard to his right. No right hand drives! Need to stay between him and the basket. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase off downscreens and flares. Switch if you need to in order to stay between him and the basket. Give a hard contest to all jump shots. Don’t over help when he drives it. Very good passer. Make him score contested 2’s as opposed to giving up assists. No catch-and-shoot 3’s. No right hand drives.
#5 Hassan Diarra: 6’2″ 196, Sophomore Guard
6.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.3 apg
Athletic backup guard. Play him straight up. Good shooter. Need to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Likes to attack closeouts. Will drive it hard to his right. No right hand drives! Will reject ballscreens to drive it right. Need to stay between him and the basket. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase off downscreens and flares. Switch if you need to in order to stay between him and the basket. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. Make him score contested 2’s. No catch-and-shoot 3’s. No right hand drives.
#35 Manny Obaseki: 6’4″ 189 lbs, Freshman Guard
3.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.4 apg
Lefty. Really wants to drive it left. NO LEFT HAND DRIVES!!! You can closeout short to stay between him and the basket. Help off him when he doesn’t have it and then closeout short to guard the left hand drive. Go under the ballscreens and handoffs. Just throw a hand up to contest any jump shots. Need to stay between him and the basket. Absolutely no layups for him.
#0 Aaron Cash: 6’6″ 201 lbs, Junior Forward
2.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.3 apg
Backup 4-man. Non-shooter. Closeout short when he is on the perimeter. Will ballscreen and roll. Right hand, left shoulder around the basket. Will drive it right from the perimeter or when he faces up inside. No right hand drives. Just throw a hand up to contest if he shoots the jumper. Excellent offensive rebounder. Averages over 2 per game. Box out!!!
#31 Javonte Brown: 7’0″ 253 lbs, Freshman Center
1.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.6 apg
Backup big man. Wants to post up on the block. Will ballscreen and roll some as well. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Be physical and get him off the block. Be physical on his left shoulder. Make him score with you between him and the basket. Box out!
Texas A&M Aggies Offense
Texas A&M comes in with a streaky offense that relies on creating turnovers and making 3’s to put points on the board. The Aggies have a good number of players that can hurt you both as a driver and from beyond the arc. That makes the scouting report a little more difficult as you need to be ready to guard these guys straight up for the most part. However, many of their players aren’t elite at either skill. If we are sound on the defensive end we should be able to keep them in the 60’s.
The Aggies are shooting 37.4% from 3-point range which is 34th in the country. They won’t shoot a ton of them, just 11th in the SEC in attempts, but their percentage is the best in the conference. There are five players averaging at least one made 3 per game and another player just shy of that mark. We have to do a good job guarding the 3-point line.
You can expect to see Motion offense in the half court with a lot of ballscreen action. They love to set early ballscreens for #1 Williams and let him play in space. Coach Buzz Williams has a list of set plays he will turn to frequently as well mostly centered around some down screen to handoff actions and other called ballscreens. Let’s take a look at the film.
Early Middle Ballscreen
When you look at the Texas A&M Aggies tempo numbers it makes it look like they play slow. However, a lot of that comes from their 1-2-2 press that generally leads to longer possessions for the opponent. Offensively, the Aggies will look to score early in the clock when possible. They love to set early ballscreens for #1 Williams. We have to get over the ballscreen, stay on his hip, and give ground as the secondary defender to stay between the roll man and the basket. Just have your hands up ready to contest a floater. We would rather give up a contested floater from 6-10 feet than a dunk on the roll.
Staggered Drag Ballscreen
They will set some of the drag ballscreens as a staggered sometimes as well. With the starting lineup in they will have #10 Henderson roll to the rim and allow #15 Coleman III to pop. Though he is a non-shooter, Coleman III loves to drive it right. Closeout short when he pops and get ready for the right hand drive. You can aggressively help when he drives it too because he isn’t thinking about passing.
Staggered Drag Ballscreen
Here is another look at Texas A&M going to the staggered drag ballscreen. This time, because it is set on the right wing, #1 Williams rejects the ballscreens so he can drive it right. Do not let him reject ballscreens! As soon as the on-ball defender recovers we need to communicate so the defender guarding the roll can get back to his man. We don’t want to give up layups or dunks on the roll.
Screen Away to Handoff
The Aggies are going to run a lot of these handoff actions. They love to get #1 Williams coming off going to his right. We want to chase over top of the handoff and “shadow” with the big man like Arkansas does in this clip. They will down screen on the weak side some too as you see here. Be aware of your man cutting as the ball is driven. We don’t want to stare at the ball and should be tightening up as the ball is driven anyway. They love to cut along the baseline like this.
Downscreen to Handoff
This is the Texas A&M Aggies favorite half court set play. They will have a forward flash to the elbow area and then down screen to the corner for that guy to come off the handoff. This action can be for a number of different guys, but this time they run it for #15 Coleman III. You have to get over and cut off the right hand drives! Be physical and take away the right hand.
Here is another way that they will run the same down screen to handoff action. Depending on who is at the “5” they will come out higher to get the initial catch and then dribble into the handoff. #1 Williams is coming off it this time. If there is this much space between you and Williams when he comes off the handoff you need to communicate the switch. We don’t want him going downhill to his right. Still, the contested floater is better than giving up a dunk on the roll.
Middle Ballscreen to Motion
Texas A&M goes to a middle ballscreen action in this clip. #20 Gordon downscreens for #0 Cash to come up and set the middle ballscreen. This allows Gordon to be the one replacing up behind the ball as a shooting threat. When he turns down the 3-point attempt, the Aggies are into Motion. Ole Miss plays about 28 seconds of excellent defense until they help for no reason with two seconds on the shot clock which gives up a catch-and-shoot 3. Always tighten up to your man late in the shot clock!!!
Texas A&M Aggies Defense
The Texas A&M Aggies have bought in on the defensive end of the floor. Per KenPom, they are 9th nationally in turnover percentage (25.4%) and 4th in steal percentage (14.5%). Being able to create offense with their defense has been become an identity for them this season.
They will run a soft 1-2-2 press back to man-to-man defense. The press isn’t really designed to create turnovers, but it is there to slow you down and make you initiate offense with less time remaining on the shot clock. In the half court they are aggressive on the ball and in the passing lanes looking for steals. Much like against Tennessee, we have to be willing to drive it hard and make plays off the bounce because swinging the ball around the perimeter will be more difficult. Against the 1-2-2 you need to change sides of the floor early in the backcourt and then attack up the sidelines hard. Don’t get caught around the half court line where they will come trap the ball.
Keys to the Game
- Take them away from 3. Do not over help on drives. Tighten up to your man as the ball is driven towards you. Do not give up catch-and-shoot 3’s.
- Contain #1 Williams off the ballscreen. Go over the ballscreens. Play with your hands up as he turns the corner. Switch if there is space. Give ground to stay below the roll man. We don’t want to give up layups/dunks on the roll.
- Dominate the glass. Texas A&M allows 30.8% offensive rebounding percentage. They also get 32.8% of their misses (top 50 nationally). We always should have the advantage on the boards.
- Limit turnovers. If we turn it over 12 or fewer times they can’t score enough to win. Drive the ball hard in a straight line. Lazy perimeter passes will get stolen. Break the press by getting stops defensively.