GTMBB Preview: Prairie View A&M

Another first-ever meeting highlights Tech’s non-conference schedule as the Jackets take on Prairie View A&M on Nov. 23 in the season’s fifth game. This is the final game of the four-game Ramblin’ Wreck Showcase as McCamish Pavilion. Against SWAC opponents, Tech is 18-2 all-time. This is the sixth in a series of previews of the Yellow Jackets’ non-conference opponents.

  • Location: Prairie View, Texas
  • Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)
  • Home arena: William J. Nicks (3,500)
  • 2017-18 Record: 16-18, 12-6 in the SWAC (2nd)
  • Postseason: Lost to Texas Southern in semifinals of the SWAC Tournament, 88-74
  • NCAA Postseason Appearances (Last): One, (1998)
  • All-time series record: 0-0
  • Head coach: Byron Smith (Third season)
  • Starters returning/lost: 3/3
  • Top scorer returning: Gary Blackston, G, 6-2 (19.2)
    Top rebounder returning: Gary Blackston (5.3)

Quick preview for 2018-19

The Panthers feature a very seasoned 2018-19 roster that includes several newcomers. Despite losing its leading scorer, head coach Byron Smith will look to senior Gary Blackston as an offensive spark. The Panthers’ non-conference schedule tips off with Santa Clara and Baylor, continuing with similar opponents to Tech, including Rio Grande Valley, Lamar and East Carolina.

Quick recap of 2017-18

Prairie View A&M finished tied for second in the SWAC winning 16 games on the season, including a 12-6 mark in conference play for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The Panthers started off their SWAC slate with wins over Alcorn State and Southern. Shortly after, Prairie View A&M bounced back from a four-game losing streak in mid-January winning 10 of their final 12 games of the season. In the SWAC tournament the Panthers slid past Alcorn State 87-71, but fell to Texas Southern 88-74 in the semifinals.

Greatest Program Accomplishment

In 1962, No. 2 seed Prairie View A&M won the NAIA National Championship over Westminster, 62-53. The Panthers went 5-0 in the tournament, which became the first postseason success in program history.

Greatest player in program history

Hailing from Hillister, Texas Zelmo Beaty played for Prairie View A&M from 1958-1962 and is considered the program’s greatest product. Beaty averaged 25 points and 20 rebounds in his career with the Panthers, leading Prairie View A&M to the 1962 NAIA Championship while earning MVP honors.
Beaty was selected as the overall third pick in the 1962 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks, known today as the Atlanta Hawks. In his professional career, the center averaged a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. He played 13 seasons for the Hawks, along with the Utah Stars and Los Angeles Lakers. Beaty scored more than 15,000 points and pulled down more than 9,600 rebounds during his career. He was also a five-time NBA All-Star and earned playoff MVP honors leading the Stars to the 1971 NBA Championship. In 2014, Beaty took his place in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. He is only one of two SWAC players in the hall of fame.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

Prairie View is a small city, however there are several amusement parks located near the Panthers’ campus. Zube Park and Yogi Bear’s Lone Star Jellystone Park are the most popular places to visit near Prairie View. They’re both water parks, but Jellystone also has a miniature golf course, a stocked fishing lake, basketball, volleyball courts and planned activities.

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