The college basketball season is officially underway tonight with teams across the
country globe hitting the hardwood for their first games. Games in Reed Arena, China, and Japan, because they're "student" athletes or something. The Aggies showed some signs of life in their scrimmage last week, and they only built on that tonight in a very convincing win over a not good opponent. DJ Hogg came off the bench to lead all scorers with 20 points, and fellow freshman Tyler Davis had a solid 16 and 7 night to start his career. I'm trying to keep the opponent in mind, but here's your instant reaction:
1. We have scoreRS, yes, plural
Scoring droughts have been the definition of Aggie basketball for the past four seasons. The only scoring threat would take a seat for a breather, and nothing would happen. Nothing. That's not the case anymore. The Aggies have a consistent string of scoring threats on the roster this year. House, Hogg, and Gilder can hit from anywhere on the court and all can create their own shot as well. Davis handles himself well in the paint, and we already know what Jalen Jones can do inside the arc (Jalen was sitting out the first game of a four game suspension tonight). Caruso is a proven player on the court, and the burden has been lifted off his shoulders The Aggies had 6 players score in double digits tonight.
One more note here. Anthony Collins isn't going to be a scoring threat, but his court vision and command from the point position is the final piece of the puzzle that's going to make this team flow this year. He had 8 assists on the night, and was great at controlling the tempo up the court in transition. I was really impressed with Collins' play tonight.
2. The four freshmen are for real
The four Aggie freshmen were all top-100 national players coming out of high school. They all showed that for the most part tonight. DJ Hogg and Admon Gilder are special players. Really special players. Tyler Davis started the game in his first ever college basketball game, and really never looked like a freshman throughout the night. Elijah Thomas played in his first action for the season (sat out the scrimmage last week), and his play improved as the game went on. Again, I'm trying to keep the opponent in mind here, but these kids are special. Every single one of the freshmen scored in double digits in their first ever college game. If that's not impressive enough, DJ Hogg, Admon Gilder, and Tyler Davis led the team in scoring tonight. That's special.
3. Still room to improve
The Aggies had 10 turnovers in the first half. To be fair this team was pushing the pace way more than anything we've seen in the Billy Kennedy era, so you have to take the good with the bad a bit here. To the team's credit, the turnovers were almost cut in half in the second half before the Aggies emptied the bench. Speaking of pushing the pace, this roster absolutely shines in transition when they can get out and run. One area that still needs work is set pieces if the transition play isn't there. USC Upstate only played a few brief minutes in the zone, and it hurt when they did. I think the Aggies will be able to adjust to this when they are back at full strength with guys like Jones and Hogg that can be deadly from 15-18 feet.
This is going to be a fun team to watch this season. They'll have some growing pains along the way, but there's no denying the special talent we have on the roster. The Aggies' next game is on Monday against Southeastern Louisiana. Tipoff in that one is at 7PM at Reed Arena.