@GTMBK Non-Conference Preview - Alabama A&M

Sept. 5, 2014

THE FLATS – Each week up until the beginning of basketball season, Ramblinwreck.com takes a look at an opponent on Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule. This week, game two against Alabama A&M.

Game Date: November 18, 2014
Location: Huntsville, Ala.
Conference: Southwestern Athletic
Home arena: T.M. Elmore Gymnasium (6,000)
2013-14 Record: 14-16 overall, 10-8 in SWAC (5th place), 272nd in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: lost in the semifinals of the SWAC Tournament to Prairie View A&M, 55-49
NCAA Appearances (last): one (2005)
All-time series record: Tech leads, 4-0 (first meeting 12/15/1982)
Head coach: Willie Hayes (entering 4th season, 32-57)
Starters returning/lost: 1/4
Top scorer returning: Nicholas West (6.0)
Top rebounder returning: Nicholas West (3.7)

Quick preview for 2014-15

In Coach Willie Hayes three year tenure the Bulldogs have increased their win total every year. If Alabama A&M looks to continue that trend they will have to do so without several familiar faces. In 2014-15 the Bulldogs lose six letter winners including four starters and two top reserves. The lone returning starter, forward Nicholas West, reached double figures eight times this past season as a sophomore but will now be counted on to score night in and night out. Complementing West in the front court, Jerome Hunter, a fifth year senior, will look to reenter the starting rotation for good after losing his spot in the middle of last season on account of lacking production. AAMU’s junior guard tandem of Justin Colvin and Tyler Davis will be asked to assume bigger roles after the two combined to average just seven points and one assist per game in 2013-14.

Quick recap of 2013-14

Last season’s 14-16 mark was the best in Coach Hayes’ three year tenure and the Bulldogs’ best since the 2006-07 season. In the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Alabama A&M compiled a 10-8 record and advanced to the conference semifinals as a fifth seed. The season’s signature win was a nail-biting 63-62 victory over eventual SWAC Champion Texas Southern in which the Bulldogs drained the decisive free throw with 0.4 seconds remaining. As a team Alabama A&M’s biggest weakness was its offense that averaged just 64.5 points per game (313th out of 351 division-1 teams).

Greatest program accomplishment

2005 NCAA Tournament Appearance – In its 68th season the Alabama A&M basketball program made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after capturing the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s tournament crown and automatic bid. The Bulldogs battled the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University in the tournament’s opening round game in Dayton, Ohio, but fell short 79-69. The Bulldogs have not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since.

Greatest player in program history

Mickell Gladness – Mickell Gladness is the only player in the history of Alabama A&M to play in the NBA. In his three years as a Bulldog, Gladness averaged 7.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 4.7 bpg. As a junior he led the NCAA blocks per game with a mark of 6.3. In that same season he set the record for blocks in a single game against Texas Southern when swatted away 16 shots. After playing abroad and in the NBA’s Developmental League, Gladness made his NBA debut on Christmas Day 2011. To this point in his career, Gladness has made 26 NBA appearances all of which occurring in the 2011-12 season. This past June Gladness signed a contract with the Townsville Crocs of the Australian National Basketball League.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

U.S. Space and Rocket Center – Established in 1970, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is widely considered to be the most comprehensive U.S. manned spaceflight museum in the world. The exhibits are home to several artifacts including the Apollo 12 Moon Rock, the Apollo 16 Command Module and the world’s only full-stack space shuttle display – The Pathfinder. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center serves as the lasting piece of Huntsville’s historic role in America’s space program history.

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