Lions Coach Says Franklin Is A Rare Talent - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/31/08-Tyler

Lions Coach Says Franklin Is A Rare Talent

For the first time in Aggie history the women's basketball team is in the Elite 8. From Fox Sports to ESPN, commentators and analyst credit the leadership of John Tyler graduate A'Quonesia Franklin with turning the program around.

That comes as no surprise to the man who coached her in high school, Kenneth Bickham.

"A'Quonesia was one of the few that you knew was headed for success," Coach Bickham said.

In 2003, her final season at John Tyler, A'Quonesia and the Lady Lions were number one in the state.

"A'Quonesia's sophomore year we were 29-6," Bickham smiled. "Her junior year we were 30-4 and her senior year we were 34-1. That means we lost 11 games in three years. It's kind of easy when you lose 11 games in three years everyone thinks you're a great coach. Really you're not a great coach, you've just got great players!"

Coach Bickham takes no credit for A'Quonesia's talent, still it was under his coaching that she was recruited by the Aggies. Bickham catches every game and every praise of her talent by the announcers.

"She was the same way here at John Tyler that she is at A&M," he explained. "She's not going to score big numbers but she's going to make everybody else better."

Coach Bickham said A'Quonesia is a role model for all East Texas girl hoopsters.

"In East Texas, you don't have players that play at that caliber, on national television, in that arena," he said. "So, it's just a pleasure to see her."

A'Quonesia and the Aggies face Tennessee Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in Oklahoma City. 

When A'Quonesia takes the court she will face another East Texas athlete. Trinity Valley's Shannon Bobbitt is a starter for the Lady Vols. Shannon was the first junior college recruit signed by Tennessee in 30 years.
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