Aggies Looking for Leadership

Long removed from superstar Acie Law, Texas A&M finds itself struggling to maintain the calm collection present during Law's tenure. As the Aggies try and battle their way back in conference play after a startling loss to Kansas, Turgeon and the team look for new leadership.

The Texas A&M basketball team finds itself in familiar territory. Once again, the Aggies are four games into the 2009 Big 12 schedule and for the fourth time in the last five years, they're staring at a 1-3 start—and once again, questions abound.

The biggest question mark? How will this year's team handle the last 12 games of the season without leadership from guys like Joseph Jones and Dominique Kirk.

Coming off a 20-point loss in front of a nationally-televised Big Monday match up at Kansas, there are plenty of questions going on internally as well, but none bigger than the questions concerning the Aggies' slow starts.

I want to figure that out so I don't have to answer that anymore," said an irritated A&M head coach Mark Turgeon at Wednesday's press conference. "I don't want to make excuses for the guys but it was a tough week, we might have been emotionally spent. I think we might have played that way. It was a weird night to say the least. We haven't laid many eggs this year—we've competed every game. We could have quit against Oklahoma down by 14 but we competed. Hopefully (the KU game) is the only one that we'll have this year."

What has made it even more painful for the former Jayhawk fan-favorite is the fact that it happened in his hometown so to speak.

"I get text messages and emails from friends back in Kansas and they said ‘it doesn't remind me of the way you played,' and that eats at you," Turgeon said. "But it's just been one time. I don't want to overreact. That was the first time we didn't play hard. This group has been phenomenal for me. Now our backs are against the wall and we'll see what we're made of."

Yes they will.

With another game on the road against one of the conference's elite programs just two days away, the Aggies won't have much time to shift gears. Turgeon and several players all commented that they're moving on and preparing for the rival Horns, and Turgeon added that the longer break between games could be just what the team needs.

"I think we need to practice," Turgeon said. "That Wednesday-Saturday-Monday run was a pretty big clip of games. This is good timing. Monday-Saturday is good for us. I was kind of hoping that Texas played (Wednesday) but they have the whole week off.

During that stretch, Turgeon said he plans to work on the team's offensive execution, but he's also hoping to get the players' heads back in the game.

"These guys are going to show me what they're all about this week," Turgeon said. "It's not just Josh (Carter) and Bryson (Graham). All of my juniors have been through it. BJ (Holmes) and Nathan (Walkup) have been through it. All of the guys that are playing except for (David) Loubeau and Dash (Harris) have been through it. We've just got to be mentally tougher. We got our heads down and didn't fight through. Every year you go through times where things aren't going well for you, and we're in one of those now. But I've got a lot of confidence in this group

Which is good, because if there ever was a time for the Aggies to come out swinging to start a game, Saturday's tilt against No. 14 Texas would be a great day to start. A&M big man Bryan Davis agrees.

"We've talked since day one about coming out and getting off to a better start," Davis said. "We have to stop talking about it and just do it."

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