Texas A&M suffered a significant injury during last season when senior Derrick Roland broke his leg in a truly cringing fall and was lost for the year. If there is any positive to the injury, it's that it allowed younger players to step into a bigger role that will only help the Aggies this season.
Besdies Roland, the Aggies lose David Sloan and Bryan Davis, their top two scorers from a year ago. The void left by Sloan will likely be filled by B.J. Holmes who is the team's top returning scorer despite coming off the bench last season. Holmes will join incumbent point guard Dash Harris in the backcourt and both will have to elevate their play to replace Sloan's 17.8 points-per-game average.
David Loubeau figures to take over Davis' role as the team's top inside player while Khris Middleton looks to build off a solid freshman campaign. Nathan Walkup will likely step into a starting role this season after being a valuable bench contributor last year. Seldom-used sophomore Ray Turner will provide some depth up front alongside freshmen Daniel Alexander, Keith Davis and Kourtney Robinson.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the horrific loss the Aggie basketball team suffered in May when freshman-to-be Tobi Oyedeji was suddenly killed in a car accident after attending his high school prom. Oyedeji was a talented power forward recruit who was ranked in the top 100 by Scout.com.
Player to Watch: Khris Middleton, SF
Middleton came on strong at the end of the year almost doubling his scoring load, averaging about 14 points per game. While the 6-7 wing has a nice combination of length and athleticism, his biggest strength is shooting the rock, a weakness for the Aggies last season. With Sloan gone, Middleton will have to keep up his hot shooting from the end of 2009-10 for the Aggies to be a tourney-caliber club.