Inside the Aggies 2012 Recruiting Class
One of the first things Cy Alexander noticed when he took over the North Carolina A&T men's basketball program was the lack of bulk it add in the paint. He wanted to address the deficiency if possible, and he did with the signing of Corvon Butler (6-6, 225) and Bruce Beckford (6-6, 215). The hope is Butler and Beckford will help the Aggies grind out wins in some of the more physical, minimal-possessions style games in the MEAC. In 2011-12, the Aggies were 9-0 when they scored 80 or more points. When they posted 69 or fewer points, they were 1-16. Alexander said Butler and Beckford will compete against seniors Lawrence Smith, Adrian Powell and R.J. Buck for playing time at the small forward position, and will challenge seniors Austin Witter and Dominique Behohn-Tolly for minutes at the power forward slot.
What's the point?
The point guard position is an area on the team where Alexander wants to establish some stability early. Junior Jeremy Underwood will come into the preseason with the most seniority, but the Aggies have plenty of options thanks to the 2012 recruiting class. Underwood averaged 5.0 points, 2.1 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game while playing 17 minutes per contest. Rookie Shaun Stewart will likely be Underwood's chief challenger for the starting nod. But the Aggies could also use junior college transfer Lamont Middleton and freshman Khalid King at point guard as well. Middleton, King and senior Jean Louisme will likely compete for time at shooting guard, but with so many combo guards, the Aggies certainly have options.
center of attention
The dominance of Thomas Coleman's senior season in 2010-11 has had fans longing for his replacement. The Aggies did not address the center position in this class, but they have depth at the position, which means they can play aggressive on the defensive end without being concerned about foul trouble. Two of Alexander's centers sat out last season. Junior Cristian Henry (6-8, 210, Margate, Fla.) and redshirt freshman Jacob Carson (6-9, 205, Goose Creek, S.C.) are back, and will be teamed with offensive-minded DaMetrius Upchurch (7.3 ppg, 7.0 rbg) to make up the Aggies trio at center.
what he said
"On paper, we have what we need to compete. Now the question is can we translate what we see on paper to the court. I think we have to use those 15 fouls we have at the center position to make us more aggressive, and our point guards cannot turn the ball over. Our assist-to-turnover ratio needs to be a positive for us, not a negative."
--Cy Alexander, North Carolina A&T head men's basketball coach, on the upcoming 2012-13 season.