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Shortly after Billy Gillispie arrived in College Station in March 2004, his freshman point guard wanted to leave. It was not only the extraordinary effort that Gillispie demanded of Acie Law IV but also the coach's attempts to change his nature. "He would ride me every day, saying his point guard has to be the most vocal guy on the team," says Law (left), now a senior. "It's not my personality to be that outspoken."
But Law's parents wouldn't let him transfer, and he finally found his voice when Gillispie made the Aggies run extra sprints because Law was being too reticent. "It was a matter of me having to change my ways for the better of the team," says Law. "Coach changed my mind-set about the game of basketball."
Gillispie has done the same thing for the Texas A&M community. The season before he arrived, the Aggies went 0--16 in the Big 12; last year they went 10--6 (22--9 overall) and earned their first NCAA bid since 1987. "There's a buzz around here now," Gillispie says. Credit much of that buzz to Law, a hard-nosed defender with a knuckleball jumper. "Twelve feet in, he can play off one or two feet and shoot left- or righthanded," says Gillispie. "I've never seen anyone who can do that so well." Last year Law had his great uncle Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer, sign a baseball for Gillispie. "It was a thrill to get that, but it didn't get [Law] more playing time," says Gillispie. "Not that he needed to worry about that."
Nov. 10 Prairie View A&M
Nov. 17 Lamar
Nov. 18 Louisiana Tech
Nov. 19 Saint Louis