New Texas A&M Men's Basketball head coach Billy "Bad" Kennedy has yet to coach a single game but is already flexing his muscles in the recruiting arena. After over a year of stagnant progress from former coach Mark Turgeon, who clearly already had one foot out of the door at A&M, Kennedy has reeled in two huge verbal commitments in less than a week. Credit Kennedy and his staff, who have wisely put considerably more emphasis on the recruiting game than the previous regime, especially in the state of Texas.
The first domino fell when local star J-Mychal Reese of Bryan High School finally ended his long time recruiting courtship with the Aggies by committing to coach Kennedy on August 5th. Reese, who had been sighted at numerous A&M functions and sporting events, and been pursued by Aggie coaches since former coach Billy Clyde Gillispie had allegedly offered him a scholarship as an 8th grader, finally pledged to A&M over offers from such other basketball heavyweights as Kansas, Louisville and Memphis, as well as rivals Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas. Reese is listed at 6 foot 2 and 170 pounds and rated by rivals.com as the 13th overall point guard and the 63rd overall player nationally for the class of 2012. He is the prototypical scoring guard that the Aggies have been craving since the departure of the great Acie Law. Reese is the future of Aggie basketball, and the type of player that can catapult the program into the upper echelon. The significance of this recruiting coup by Kennedy cannot be overestimated.
As if that wasn't enough already, on August 7th, Kennedy followed up by luring shooting guard Kendrick Nunn out of Chicago and the backyard of the University of Illinois, much to the chagrin of Illini fans, who have reacted quite vocally. Nunn is another scoring guard who can create his own shot and is rated by rivals.com as the 18th overall player nationally for the class of 2013. Nunn chose A&M over offers from Arizona, Florida State, Memphis, Missouri and Xavier to name a few. Overall, Nunn is a huge pick-up for the A&M coaching staff, especially considering the area that he hails from which is a recruiting hotbed for the basketball powers of the mid-west.
The combination of Reese and Nunn, along with top 2011 commits Jamal Branch and Jordan Green, will anchor what should be one of the nations top backcourts in the years to come. Anyone who looks at the recent history of the NCAA tournament can tell you that great guard play will lead to deep tourney runs and championships. So, kudos to Kennedy and staff for putting in the leg work needed to become truly elite, and finally pulling in the star power that this program has needed to move up.
As a blogger and long time sports fan, I don't normally rush to rash judgments, especially for someone who has yet to coach a game, but I have jumped aboard the Billy "Bad" Bandwagon, and it's time for the rest of Aggieland to follow. If you are an Aggie sports fan, and you aren't pumped up about the future of men's basketball, then get that way. The future is so bright, we're all gonna need maroon tinted shades.