COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Before the game, the Texas A&M crowd applauded when Missouri assistant coach Melvin Watkins, who formerly coached the Aggies, was announced. But one gets the feeling Watkins is forgotten around College Station.
Twenty games into his tenure at Texas A&M, Billy Gilllispie is more successful than Watkins was in his six years at the Aggies’ helm.
Texas A&M (15-5, 4-5 Big 12 Conference) polished off Missouri 91-63 on Saturday.
With 15 wins, the Aggies have won more games than in any of their previous 11 seasons.
Texas A&M is 14-1 at Reed Arena, its best home record ever.
Watkins’ Aggies were 7-21 and 0-16 in the conference last year.
“We needed to get a win,” Watkins said. “We came in here and we didn’t get it. That’s disappointing, but these (Aggies) were my guys. It was good seeing them. They’re having some success. That’s good. But I knew they had some good players. We got some too.”
Gillespie, a Texas State alum, has turned his team around by looking to his own state for talent. Twelve of the 17 players on Gillispie’s roster are products of Texas high schools. Last year, under Watkins, only four players were from Texas.
CONTROVERSY CONTINUES: Missouri obviously hoped to quell the upheaval surrounding its coach by announcing Sunday it would retain Quin Snyder past this season, but the Tigers just can’t seem to avoid controversy.
Last week, Jimmy McKinney, Sr., father of junior guard Jimmy McKinney, appeared on a St. Louis radio show. On the show, McKinney quoted his son as saying his Tiger teammates were “selfish.”
Jimmy McKinney said his father’s views did not reflect his own. He denied making any negative comment about his teammates.
“I just heard about it,” Jimmy McKinney said. “That’s one of those father things. That’s what he thinks, but it ain’t about what he says. It’s about winning ball games. We got to learn to do that before we do anything else.”
LAURIE’S SEASON OVER: Don’t expect to see Spencer Laurie back on the court for Missouri any time soon. The sophomore guard, who has missed 11 games with a cartilage tear in his right knee, said he would seek a medical redshirt for the season.
Laurie partially tore his meniscus in practice after Missouri played Illinois on Dec. 22. He missed three games earlier in the season with a sprained right ankle.
The redshirt would mean Laurie would sit out the rest of the season, but would not lose a year of eligibility, meaning he could potentially play for Missouri until the 2007-08 season.