Aggies set for 'Acie Law Day'

Texas A&M is making history Saturday, raising the No. 1 jersey to the top of the Reed Arena to honor the only consensus All-American in school history. Saturday has been dubbed "Acie Law Day" and Law will be in attendance to receive the honor. Aggie Websider spoke to Law in an exclusive interview about the honor earlier this year. And, hear what Mark Turgeon had to say at Tuesday's media luncheon.

Last April, in an exclusive interview with Aggie Websider, Acie Law was blown away by the idea of having No. 1 hanging from the rafters of Reed Arena, honoring his accomplishments at Texas A&M forever.

"That would be really special," he said, with a light in his eye that said more than anything that came out of his mouth.

This is special for Law, and he deserves the honor. While former head coach Billy Gillispie, and former players Antoine Wright, Marlon Pompey, and current stars Joseph Jones, Dominique Kirk and Josh Carter all had a hand in the rise of Aggie hoops, it was Law who made the wheels go round.

"It was easy for me because I was on the outside looking in," said A&M head coach Mark Turgeon, who pitched the idea to Law and Director of Athletics Bill Byrne. "Being a Big 8, Big 12 guy, I was able to watch A&M grow, I know it wasn't just Acie, there was a lot of things involved, but what that kid did for this program, especially last season has made my job easier and tougher."

It's made it easier because Turgeon can recruit anywhere in the country. They may not know where College Station is, but they all say, "Oh yeah, Acie Law."

"He came back and was introduced at the football game and that was incredible," Turgeon said, "but I think this is going to be five or six really special minutes in his life.

Turgeon said that although he never got a chance to coach the All-American, he was amazed by Law's character.

"He was in my office one day for 30 minutes and I was blown away by how great a kid he was," Turgeon said. "He could have been a jerk and been like I'm Acie this and Acie that, but what he's doing for his family, his community back home, his high school coach, this kid is special and he deserves this day."

While Law's jersey will hang in the rafters of Reed Arena from this point on, it will not be retired, but as one reporter put it, "If someone wants to come in and wear No. 1, they'd better be damn good though, right?"

"They'd better be," Turgeon said. "Or at least have a lot of guts."

Law was the first consensus All-American in school history, and won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation' top point guard. He led the Aggies to their first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 27 years and a 27-7 record, the most wins in school history.

In addition, Law was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award as the nation' top player, won the Chip Hilton National Player of the Year Award and was named Big 12 Player of the Year by The Dallas Morning News.

The ceremony honoring Law will take place at halftime of the Oklahoma State game on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to wear white to the game.

Bryan Davis' play was expected

During the Aggies' current five-game winning streak, there has been improvement by many guys on the team. Donald Sloan is playing smarter, DeAndre Jordan is growing up, Dominique Kirk is returning to his defensive ways, and everyone seems to be hitting free throws.

But no player may have made a bigger impact over the course of the streak than sophomore big man Bryan Davis.

But Turgeon said it's no surprise to him.

"I anticipated it," Turgeon said. "I think Bryan was hurt (during non-conference play) for a couple of reasons. I was trying to bring DeAndre Jordan along and we were blowing people out. If I had hindsight I would have played him more and blown some people out."

But Turgeon, who said he was immediately impressed by Davis the first time he saw him play, believes Davis is just skimming the surface of his ability. Which is good news for A&M fans, but not so much for the rest of the Big 12.

"I expect more out of Bryan," Turgeon said. "I see what he's capable of in practice and he's got a great upside still. I expected this and I think his teammates did too."

During the Aggies' three-game skid that seems like months ago, A&M was having trouble guarding the perimeter against smaller teams like Baylor. But Davis has played a major role in the adjustments that Turgeon and his staff have made.

"He can guard a little guy and he can guard a big guy and he's doing it with much more intelligence," Turgeon said. "And he's so unorthodox, that he's hard to guard. He's flopping this way and flopping that way and then all of a sudden he's got a wide open layup. He can still get so much better."

Turgeon said that Davis began to make his mark after the Baylor game, where he was forced into critical playing time when Jones fouled out.

"We couldn't make a jump shot, neither team could, because our legs were gone and Bryan took advantage of the situation," Turgeon said. "You'd have to say that was his breakthrough game."

Aggies flying under the radar

After the three-game skid against Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor, many sportswriters and national pundits began to distance themselves from Turgeon and the Aggies. And now that they've bounced back with five straight wins, including three wins on the road, it's taking a while for some to get back on the bandwagon.

Which is fine with Turgeon.

"I do like it," Turgeon said. "When I first got here, the guys were like 'ESPN never has us on,' and I said 'I saw y'all on ESPN a lot last year,'" Turgeon said. "Then we came home about six o'clock on Saturday and and I never saw a highlight all night on College Gamenight and that was a heck of a win, so I thought, maybe they're right.

"I think we stumbled out of the gate, and the Big 12 knows what we're doing, but nationally we're flying under the radar. I think it's good for the kids. I'm happy where we are right now."

There are a lot of little phases of the game that the Aggies have improved upon during the stretch, including free throw shooting and rebounding.




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