Posted on: November 18, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 8:39 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Nurideen Lindsey was at the line, in the waning seconds, with his team down one point. One to tie and likely force overtime -- and a pair would almost certainly give St. John's a victory.
Then Anna Cate Kennedy did her thing.
The 7-year daughter of Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy, sitting in the stands about 30 feet from Lindsey, was the difference-maker.
She left out a pair of shrieks prior to Lindsey's free throws -- both of which failed to drop through the net.
"Yes, sir," Anna Cate responded after the game when asked if she felt as though she was the reason why Lindsey misfired.
Anna Cate has been doing it for a year or so - but Kennedy has told her to done it down a bit on the road.
"People say it works," Anna Cate said.
If I was Kennedy, I'd be handing the game ball to Anna Cate.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:59 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Texas A&M, ranked 18th in one poll and 19th in the other, hardly looked the part of a Top 20 team on Thursday night.
There are multiple reasons.
The Aggies have been without their new head coach, Billy Kennedy, up until a week ago - and are also playing without their top player, Khris Middleton.
Is it unfair to judge this team right now?
"Yes and no," Texas A&M's Elston Turner said after the 69-60 loss to Mississippi State on Thursday night.
Turner said that with or without Middleton, who will likely miss the next couple of weeks after knee surgery, the defense must be upgraded.
"We miss him," Turner said. "And we can't wait until he comes back."
"When he does come back, you'll see a different team," he added.
Maybe one that can challenge Baylor, Kansas and Missouri for the the Big 12 title.
Realistically, freshman Jamal Branch may be the Aggies top option at the point. Starter and veteran Dash Harris struggled and was just 1-of-8 from the field with three assists and two turnovers. David Loubeau is a solid inside guy and Turner, a Washington transfer, gives the team a quality perimeter threat. There is no shortage of role guys.
But Middleton gives the Aggies a go-to guy, someone capable of going for 20 on any given night.
It's not just the absence of Middleton, who led the team in scoring last season. It's also the players trying to adapt to a new system - under a head coach that hasn't been around all that much after being diagnosed with early onset of Parkinson's Disease.
"It's going to take time," Kennedy said.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 8:15 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Texas A&M has been without its coach - and now the Aggies will also be without their top player.
Texas A&M star Khris Middleton will be out for the next few weeks after surgery on a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.
Middleton suffered the injury - which was initially diagnosed as a hamstring injury - in the first half of the Aggies win over Liberty on Wednesday.
Middleton averaged 14.4 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.
No. 19 Texas A&M will play Southern on Sunday, and will also be without Middleton next week when the Aggies play at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic.
The team is also without coach Billy Kennedy - who is away from the team after being diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's disease. It's unclear when Kennedy will return to coach the Aggies.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 8:24 pm
By Gary Parrish
Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Kennedy announced on Thursday that he is "dealing with" an early stage of Parkinson's, the disease most closely associated with Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox.
"I have been experiencing neck and shoulder pain for several months," Kennedy said. "While not debilitating, the pain has affected my ability to sleep with any duration or regularity. As a result of this and my schedule, I had reached a state of exhaustion and was advised by my attending physician to take some time to restore my strength and to further explore the underlying cause of my discomfort. Through testing, it has been discovered that I am dealing with an early stage of Parkinson’s disease. At this time, I am heeding the advice of my doctors and addressing the disease and its symptoms. We have begun a long-term treatment plan and recovery. My doctors are encouraged and are telling me I will be able to come back soon."
Kennedy, 47, is in his first year at Texas A&M.
The former Murray State coach took over after Mark Turgeon left for Maryland.
"I am very grateful for the outpouring of support and the prayers from friends, family and the Aggie Network," Kennedy said. "We have a good prognosis, be encouraged, and join with me in eager anticipation for the success that awaits us. My intention is to return to the court as soon as it is prudent. Until my return, I have great confidence in Coach [Glynn] Cyprien and the staff I have assembled to lead this great group of young men and this basketball program."
Kennedy's diagnosis was a surprise because Parkinson's doesn't usually affect people until after the age of 50. It's difficult to predict how Parkinson's will affect any specific individual, but when identified early and treated studies show a man may go more than 15 years before he reaches a stage of high dependency from caregivers.
"Our foremost concern is for Coach Kennedy and his family," said Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne. "Billy knows he can count on us and the Aggie Network for support. I fully expect Billy to have a long and illustrious coaching career here in Aggieland when he is cleared to return to the court. Meanwhile, I have confidence in the staff Billy has hired and in our basketball team. I’m anxious to get the season started and to get Billy back on the basketball court."
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:02 pm
By Matt Norlander
I have no idea what new Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy is going through right now. We do know it's been pretty much mandated by his doctor that he take an indefinite leave of absence from coaching the team.
If this is happening now, at the start of Kennedy's biggest coaching gig in his life, I'm assuming it's as serious as it is precautionary. And I wish him the best of luck in recovery. His "don't worry, I'll be back soon" quote via a statement was pretty comforting, though. Anything with that much brevity and casual language should be a good sign.
Kennedy was hired in May after Mark Turgeon took the Maryland job in the aftermath of Gary Williams' surprising retirement.
From a basketball standpoint, A&M can probably afford to not have Kennedy around in the early going, and I say that with the utmost respect to his ability to coach. The reason I bring it up: A&M's schedule is very weak.
Let me line it up for you:
Nov. 9 Liberty
Nov. 13 Southern U.
Nov. 17 Mississippi St.
Nov. 26 Texas A&M-CC
Nov. 30 Alcorn St.
Dec. 3 Stephen F. Austin
Dec. 7 Sam Houston
Dec. 10 Louisiana-Monroe
Dec. 17 Florida
Dec. 22 Rice
Dec. 29 Arkansas Tech
What's the theme of all of those? No road games. A&M was picked atop the Big 12 preseason poll by league coaches. We won't get a sense of A&M true potential until well into January.
Here's to hoping Kennedy is on the comeback as soon as possible. But in all likelihood, A&M will be just fine without him for the next few days or weeks, as it's got the talent to handle the early parts of its schedule without much trouble.
Posted on: May 16, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 10:45 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
The headline for this post might seem a little strange in light of the news that Murray State head coach Billy Kennedy just left for Texas A&M, but rest assured, that's part of the positive direction the OVC is taking these days.
Murray State has given BCS-level basketball a couple of head coaches of note recently. Mick Cronin, who just took Cincinnati to the Big Dance for the first time in his five-year tenure with the Bearcats, earned his shot at the big time by going 69-24 and making the NCAA tourney twice in just three years with the Racers. Mark Gottfried had a nearly identical record between 1995-98, when he was Murray State's leader. That earned him an eleven-year run at Alabama, and was no doubt considered when Gottfried was recently given an ACC job at North Carolina State.
In a conference like the OVC, even a revolving door of strong coaches is a good thing. Consider that the Nashville-based conference was ranked 22nd by kenpom.com at the end of last season. Keep in mind, also, that the OVC is resolutely buried in one-bid territory. Still, it has attracted national attention due to the upset-minded Racers and the four-year career of Kenneth Faried at Morehead State. In fact, the league that had zero NCAA tourney wins between 1994-2008 has notched a victory in each of the past three NCAA parties.
The league's profile is attractive enough to have lured Belmont - the bully of the similarly-sized Atlantic Sun conference - for the 2011-12 season. That brings Rick Byrd, who has been head coach of the Bruins for 25 years, into the same league with Dave Loos, who has given 21 years to the Austin Peay Governors. Assuming Murray State finds yet another tyro on the rise, the combination of long-term experience and youthful fire could give the league momentum going forward.
OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche recently gave her thoughts on the future of the conference:
Adding Belmont doesn't mean the OVC will become a two-bid conference in 2012, or any time soon, but it definitely adds to the overall prestige of the soon-to-be twelve-member group. Given that Murray State coaches have had so much success using the Racers as a stepping stone to the big time, and players like Faried and former Tennessee-Martin guard Lester Hudson have turned into pro prospects in spite of the low profile of the league, the Ohio Valley may be on its way to bigger and better things over the next decade.