Texas Tech's Mike Singletary celebrates Texas Tech's 88-83 win over Texas A&M during an NCAA college basketball game at the Big 12 men's tournament in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Singletary scored 43 points. Via cache.daylife.com
With the football bye week, DTN is taking this opportunity to look at the men's basketball team. Earlier this week, DTN took a look at the preseason storylines and preseason team MVP's and today, DTN takes a look at the depth chart and the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes.
Preseason Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
This is an extremely rough estimation of where I could see things shaping up this year. Guessing as to a depth chart is a somewhat risky proposition because there are so many players that could flip-flop between positions and there are a number of players that fit a 6-5 to 6-7 range and could play multiple positions. I still think that at the end of this process, Pat Knight will play the players who play defense first, or at least that's my hope.
Follow me after the jump for a look at each position as well as a look at the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes and the JUCO conundrum.
Point Guard: The problem with this team is that the one true point guard is actually Roberson and I'm not sure if Pat Knight would agree with me, but Davis shouldn't play very much, especially when you have guys that can swing from shooting guard to point guard in Okorie and Tairu. If Davis play, it should be primarily in a backup role on a very limited basis. I do think that Davis is a guy that will push the ball and is a true threat to get to the rim. I like his upside (I like everyone's upside), but he shouldn't see a bunch of time.
Shooting Guard: This is where things get a bit sticky. I think Okorie and Tairu are essentially replacable players in that I think they'll do the same thing, but differently. Okorie represents an upgrade in athleticism at the shooting guard over Voskuil from last year and I think that Okorie can fill those scoring shoes, although his biggest problem is that he doesn't have the true shooting guard height, but in today's 3-guard offense, that's not a huge concern. Tairu and Okorie were backcourt mates at South Plains College and I think they work well together. Tairu is supposed to be more defensive minded, although he can certainly score.
Small Forward: This is where the logjam begins. Singletary and Jenkins are similar players from a physical standpoing, although I'd guess that Singletary has an edge on Jenkins based on his previous work on the Big 12. This team is littered with 6-5 to 6-7 small forward types and if Jenkins doesn't get time at the small forward spot I'm not sure he sees much time at all. Crockett is a project and I'd love to see him redshirt this year. He was a great scorer for his New Mexico squad and supposedly he is still growing. Let him take a year to learn and get bigger.
Power Forward: Again, mid-ranged athletes and I'm struggling to find the minutes. The only other solution would be if the centers didn't get all of the time at center and PK goes with a relatively small lineup. That really hurts from a rebounding perspective, but we'll see. In any event, I think Reese plays the power forward position in name only. He's truly a small forward, but I get the impression that he's more well-rounded than Jenkins and he's not afraid to mix it up offensively or defensively. Roberts continues to be a player that has all of the talent in the world, but has just never been consistent enough to get consistent minutes. He has all of the tools, except for a few extra pounds, to be a tremendous forward in the collegiate level. I'd love it if Roberts developed a low-post game over the summer. Ray is another combo forward and he has the bult to play power forward against most collegiate power forward, but I do worry a bit about his quickness. The one thing that I was impressed with Ray was his athleticism and shooting touch. Pretty nice for a forward. Cook gets on the list here simply because I still have questions about Cook's back, which kept him out all last year. Until I see him on the floor this year, I'm not going to count on him.
Center: I'll fully admit that Darko had a very rough first year on the college level. There were times that he couldn't his the backboard on shots, he worked hard, but was a liability defensively, and sometimes made really bad decisions on the floor. I've been praying, every night, that Darko has turned the corner. PK needs a big guy inside to go along with Lew and if Darko can give PK 10 to 15 minutes a night of good solid basketball, I'll be happy. I mentioned earlier in the week that I'd really look for Lew to make a jump in terms of his ability to contribute at the Big 12 level. He has good size, good mobility and a tremendous attitude. I think Lew wore down a bit as the season progressed, but he gave PK very solid minutes at the center position as a true freshman. Expect big things from Lew.
|Paul Cooper||Gulf Coast JUCO||6-8/260||-||-||1|
|Javarez Willis||Pinkston HS||5-11/170||-||82||1|
|James Outler||Bellaire HS||6-4/180||3||87||2|
I think this class is essentially finished. There are 3 seniors on this year's team: Darko Cohadarevic, Trevor Cook and Nick Okorie. I'll have more on this below, but getting Cooper, a big man who apparently rebounds, is going to be big for PK because there's very little frontcourt depth behind Lew. Willis is spending the year at a prep school after failing to qualify from high school and having a guy that is a year more mature is an advantage for the Red Raiders. James Outler is a true shooting guard with athleticism, something that Texas Tech has not had in quite some time (I'm calling both Okorie and Tairu combination guards, not true shooting guards).
|Kevin Wagner||Estacado HS||5-8/145||-||40||1|
This is about a good start to a class that I can envision. I'm very excited that PK was able to get a local player to commit to his program, and not only is it great that Wagner is local, but he's immensely talented. The 2011 class is going to be one of the bigger of the Pat Knight era because there are currently 7 juniors on this team, which means there should be 7 scholarships available (although I seem to recall something about a limit to the number of scholarships given out in a 2 year period). In any event, there will be plenty of holes to fill in this class, but the nice part is that all of the freshman from the 2009, 2010 and probably JUCO's of the 2011 class, will be more than ready to contribute to this team.
I'm right there with you guys in terms of the issue as to how appropriate it is to sign JUCO players versus high school players. I've always thought that there's a balance that a coach has to weigh, which is winning quickly to satisfy a fanbase versus taking the time to build the program. Most coaches, Pat Knight included, tries to do both. I have no idea how long PK has on his contract and I'm guessing that if the losing continues, his leash may not be very long, which means that I can understand why he would go the JUCO route. If Knight goes only the high school route, then he could go through a period of really bad teams before making that eventual jump.
I have no doubt that Knight feels the pressure to win now, which is why I think you see an influx of JUCO players on this year's squad. He needs to show improvement and that he can get the job done. Quite a bit hinges on his 2009 recruiting class and their ability to contribute immediately. If you want to use a footblal analogy, Leach has utilized the JUCO player more often than not, especially to help build his program. It is a risky move, but it can pay off some times (McKinner Dixon of 2008 was unbelievable, but couldn't keep it together to play in 2009 vs. Daniel Howard and Brandon Sharpe, who have both been tremendous players and people for the football program).
We all need to watch the 2011 recruiting class and if there are 7 spots available, the ratio of JUCO players to high school players should tell us quite a bit about where Knight believes the program is. If PK is signing 1 JUCO player for every 2 high school players, like the 2010 class, then I'm okay with that. But if the ratio is more 1:1 then I think there's real concern about where things are going and his long-term strategy.