Aggies familiar with BYU stars

Even though BYU is located in Utah, there are plenty of Texas ties that bring a sense of familiarity to Thursday's first round match up in Anaheim. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp visits with coaches and players in an early scouting report of BYU.

Most Texas A&M basketball fans are probably not too familiar with the BYU hoops program. Maybe you saw the Cougars' game against North Carolina early this season, but odds are you don't know much.

Fortunately, that's not the case for the coaches and players who call Reed Arena home.

A&M junior Bryson Graham played high school basketball at Reagan High School, just a few miles away from BYU big man Trent Plaisted's Clark High School, leading to several match ups between the two.

"He reminds me a lot of David Robinson," said Graham, who knows Plaisted's game in and out. "He's a lefty and doesn't play real well with his back to the basket but he can face up well and he's very fast, he's got great foot work. He can step out and make the 10-12 foot jumper."

A&M head coach Mark Turgeon is somewhat concerned about Plaisted's ability to shoot from the outside, which may challenge his team's defense as much as any player the Aggies have faced this year. Plaisted leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game and shoots 54 percent from the field, averaging 15.6 points per game (Lee Cummard leads with team with 15.8 ppg).

But Graham believes the Aggies' big men can take Plaisted out of the game by using their size and strength.

"He can really create problems for us, but with our depth at that position, we can throw a lot of guys at him and really contain him by limiting his touches, and doing a good job of not letting him get position on the block. We just have to be physical with him. We have a tremendous size advantage as far as strength; I think Joe and Bryan Davis are physically stronger than Trent. If we can get position on him and make him work, swivel real hard in secondary offense, I think we really can get him tired."

But Plaisted isn't the only player the Aggies are familiar with.

BYU sophomore guard/forward Jonathan Tavernari played for A&M assistant coach Byron Smith and actually spent a week in Aggieland this summer, playing with A&M players during open gym at the Student Rec Center.

Josh Carter was traveling with Athletes in Action during most of Tavernari's trip to A&M, but he did see him play in one game.

"He's a good shooter, he's going to put it up," Carter said of BYU's leading shooter. "He really likes to shoot it."

The Aggies are hoping that the familiarity will give them an edge in Thursday's first-round match up in Anaheim—with a shot at No. 1 seed UCLA on the line.

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