COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M Head Men’s Basketball Coach Buzz Williams has seen a lot in his 25 years in college basketball and he’s learned the right buttons to push, at the right times, with his players.
Coming off a re-build at Virginia Tech Williams was tasked with getting the Aggie back into the NCAA Tournament and beyond.
The Big dance looked to be a long way off back in November when the Aggies lost three straight-games in Orlando to Harvard, Temple and Fairfield.
“We finished in last place at the Disney World classic, and I would say, we’re the worst power five team in the country,” Williams said he told the team. “There’s no way to know — numbers suggest that we were one of the worst, but I think it flushed out whatever residue or junk was with left, not just the players. Me too.”
That honesty allowed the Aggies to let go and just start building things from the ground up.
“I told the kids, ‘Guys it’s liberating Do you know the word. Let’s look up the word,’ he said. “There’s freedom, and what’s happened because now everybody knows we’re bad so now there’s only one way to go up.“
Up is where they went. Winning five of their final seven games in SEC play including an upset win on the road against 17th-ranked Auburn. Williams said that weekend in November was a crucial moment for this program.
“Yeah, it’s good that we improved but we were able to improve because we were so bad,” Williams said. “During our tenure here, we’ll always remember what took place Thanksgiving weekend in 2019.”
It wasn’t a snap of the fingers that helped the Aggies make their strides, but rather a lot of hard work that the team embraced. For Williams that’s a true sign that his message is taking hold.
“Our guys got to the point where they wanted to work,” Williams said. they were excited to work, whether that was in the film room whether that was in practice, no there was not any coaching related to effort, anymore. I thought the togetherness, in which we work over the last whatever the numbers would be was almost like we had been here multiple years.”