March 16, 2010

Improving freshman a new dynamic for A&M

As Texas A&M heads into the NCAA tournament pundits around the country have talked about how A&M is a hard-nosed tough team that can really use another scorer. The problem with that, however, is that A&M already has that.

That someone is freshman wing Khris Middleton.

Middleton has had three games in a row in double digit scoring against Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas. Middleton was A&M's top 3-point shooter in league play by shooting 33.3-percent from the behind the arc and has shown an ability to create his own shot. Just ask Kansas freshman Xavier Henry who Middleton got up in the air on a pump fake and then hit a jumper off a dribble.

Did I mention that he did it all after KU had erased a seven-point lead and tied the game just seconds later and a crowd of nearly 19,000 Jayhawk blue-clad fans were at their loudest? Yeah, that's confidence in your game, and it's rare for a freshman.

"Coach is telling me to be aggressive and make the defense pay when they're not guarding me at times, and to make plays when I can," Middleton said. "(My confidence) keeps on growing for me even when the shots aren't falling for me because I know I can make the next shot. I think my confidence is starting to go up a lot now actually."

Although Middleton may be known more for his burgeoning offensive game, the 6-foot-7 freshman has already been known amongst his teammates and coach as a solid team defender, and an improving individual one. Middleton is very long with a wide-ranging wingspan. He get his hands in passing lanes and his length has been a problem for whoever he's been defending.

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