The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Tipoff Blog: Good reason for 'Buzz' around Aggies

102 days ago
Kevin Scarbinsky
Photo: Jimmie Mitchell/SEC

Welcome to the SEC Basketball Media Days Blog, your online home for the big news, behind-the-scenes notes and quotes and special moments that make this annual event, held this year in Birmingham, Ala., the unofficial start of college basketball season. Check back for updates each day throughout the week.

By the calendar, Buzz Williams is heading into his fourth season at Texas A&M with plenty of buzz surrounding the Aggies. Last year, they started fast at 15-2 and finished strong, reaching the finals of the SEC Tournament and the NIT. They return one of the more experienced teams in the country, with seven players who made at least 10 starts.

By the coach's math, though, this feels like Year Two in Aggieland. Let him explain.

"Year No. 1, we were terrible for a long time but toward the end began to figure it out."

"Had an awful COVID season. Played less games (18) than any Power 5 team in the country. Signed eight players off of Zoom that we never saw in person."

"Last year felt like Year One, though it won't be judged that way. So even though this is Year Four, it feels like Year Two. It's been such a disjointed tenure. It just feels like for the first time there's some level of normalcy to what's happening."

What happens this season, the Aggies say, will be fueled by what happened last season. The positive bookends around an eight-game losing streak. Playing their way onto the NCAA Tournament bubble, then just missing the cut. Making a run to the NIT final, where they lost to Xavier by a point. Establishing their identity by leading the nation with 399 steals.

Senior guard Tyrece Radford, nicknamed Boots by his coach because of his boot-leather toughness, called the entire experience "a motive to thrive this season."

"It added to the drive we already had," Radford said. "It's not something we're going to dwell on. The opportunity this year is going to be way, way greater."

Junior forward Henry Coleman III said he discussed it in a May meeting with Williams. Coleman is one of only five returning SEC players to average more than 11 points and six rebounds. He finished second on the team in both categories after transferring from Duke.

"We acknowledged it, and we learned from it," he said. "We want to be more in control of our destiny this year."

Whatever year it may be in Williams' tenure, the Aggies plan to make it count.