March 20, 2007

Saving the day

Texas A&M junior guard Dominique Kirk didn't know where he was going to play college basketball until Billy Gillispie took the head job at Texas A&M. Gillispie's first recruit as the Aggie coach turned out to be the Dallas Bryan Adams defensive stopper, and Kirk has started every game for Gillispie since.

Kirk's demeanor on the court during games and in practice is what Gillispie is all about - hard-nosed, 40-minutes of hell on defense. Kirk found himself matching up with the best guard facing the Aggies every night, and usually was quite effective.

But his numbers on the offensive stat were close to nothing. He started at shooting guard in the backcourt next to Acie Law, but there was no shooting in his game. He was there for defense, and he did it well.

But as a sophomore in 2005-06 Kirk made a little headway, mainly in his perimeter game. He worked hard in the off-season to develop an offensive flavor to his game, and became a solid perimeter shooter. At season's end he hit 40.3-percent of his 3-point shots, which was the highest on the Aggie roster - even ahead of sharpshooter Josh Carter.

His forte, however, was still defense. In the NCAA tournament he made his mark in a big, big way. Guarding Syracuse senior Gerry McNamara, who at the time was the nation's golden boy after leading the Orange to the Big East tournament championship, Kirk held McNamara to no field goals in the game. McNamara ended his college career that night with his worst performance from the field in his four seasons at Syracuse.

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