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Finally Their Time

October 16, 2013
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

The basketball team opens the 2013-14 season on Friday, Nov. 8 against Buffalo.
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Shawn Smith and Antwan Space can't wait to
realize goal of playing for the Aggies this winter

by Rebekah Lentz '15

If you went to Reed Arena last year, you won’t remember the names Antwan Space or Shawn Smith being called out for grabbing a rebound or scoring any points.

But Smith and Space were there, on the end of the bench, cheering their teammates and biding their time until they were eligible to play in the 2013-2014 season.

Space, a redshirt sophomore from Desoto, transferred from Florida State after his freshman year, and due to NCAA rules, had to sit out a year at Texas A&M before he was able to play. Smith, a redshirt freshman from Jacksonville, Fla., had to sit out while he was waiting to be cleared by the NCAA.

"When I got out here, everybody welcomed me with open arms...like they already knew me."

- Shawn Smith

Thus, a typical game day for Space and Smith included practice and watching their team from the bench.

“That’s what hurt the most, watching them play,” Space said. “I mean, I was encouraging, but there were things on our team that I thought I could help, but I just wasn’t able to. So games that we lost, the games that I thought I could actually contribute, but I couldn’t contribute, that hurt the most.”

Smith and Space were also unable to travel with the team, something Smith said hurt a lot.

“Whenever they would get on the bus, getting ready to leave, me and Space were kind of heart broken,” Smith said. “We wanted to travel, enjoy that experience. That’s something I’m looking forward to this year.”

While there were times of frustration for Space and Smith last season, they agree that their inability to be on the court lit a fire under them for the upcoming season. Both have high expectations for the Aggies on the court this winter, starting with an SEC Championship.

“I know we have the pieces to do it--size, athleticism, quickness,” Space said. “Our coaches are pretty much coaching a whole new philosophy--team, defense, fast on the court.”

Smith also believes that the Aggies have what it takes to hang a championship banner in Reed Arena, and are taking the necessary steps as a team.

“The last few years, I think we struggled a little bit, as far as playing like a team,” Smith said. “This year, we’ve been working on that in practice, and we’ve been getting our chemistry together.”

"The 12th Man is really cool. The support you get from your fans...I mean, it's incredible."

- Antwan Space

Smith and Space, who are roommates, agree on more than just A&M’s ability to win an SEC championship this year. They also agree on their favorite thing about A&M, the family environment.

“Coming from Florida, I didn’t know anyone,” Smith said. “When I got out here, everybody welcomed me with open arms...like they already knew me.”

“It’s very family oriented, the morals here are pretty much the morals I was raised with,” Space added.  “The 12th Man is really cool. Just the support you get from your fans...I mean, it’s incredible.”

Smith, a guard, and Space, who plays forward, may have different roles on the court--but it’s evident that they both plan to help their team however possible. Smith sees himself as a defensive stopper, someone that can shut down the opposition’s best scorer. Space hopes to contribute with rebounds, points and encouragement.

Even though they may be new faces to the fans when the Aggies’ season begins November 8, it’s certain that the names Antwan Space and Shawn Smith will be known once they step onto the court.

And neither of them can wait for that day to finally come. 

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