"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.
1. Size at the Guard Position | There were times last year when Texas Tech was running out on the floor one guard over six foot, Ty Nurse. It was common to see Javarez Willis (5'11"), Kevin Wagner (5'8") and Luke Adams (5'8") out on the floor at times as well. Think about how small of a lineup that is and how much pressure that you are putting on your big men to grab every rebound when that trio of guards are all under six foot. At the very least, with the arrival of Daylen Robinson (6'0"), Trency Jackson (6'2") and Jamal Williams (6'3") you're at least giving the team a fighting chance. Not only that, but offensively, it makes more sense that these players will be able to put up shots a bit easier against opposing teams. It's not rocket science, but height will give you at fighting chance in basketball and the one thing that this team lacked last year, perhaps at almost every position, was height.
2. Defensive Toughness | Again, I haven't seen or heard a peep about Jamal Williams and I've gone over time and time again the thought that Williams had a rough go at it at the JUCO level offensively and the general thought is that he's going to be a nice combo-guard that is a defensive stopper. Texas Tech could use one of those. Not only that, but upon Trency Jackson's commitment, his coach said that he always guarded the team's best player:
"Trency is an outstanding defender, one of the best I have coached in 23 years," Forbes said in a telephone interview. "He can guard the other team’s best player, (position) one through three. He’s really athletic, can put it on the floor. He’s a good player and he’s only getting better. I think he’s a great fit."
And he said himself that he's focused on the defense:
"He’s a defensive minded coach and I was the best defensive player on the team this year," Jackson said. "It’s going to be a lot of the same because Coach Forbes took a lot of drills from coach Gillespie, so I’ll be two steps ahead."
I can't speak to whether or not anyone else is going to be passable as a defender, although from what I think, Williams is most likely going to be a tenacious defender, but I'm more than appreciative of the one that has volunteered for duty and think that the other will be more than passable.
3. Ready-To Go Point Guards | I am still confident in thinking that Daylen Robinson will be your day one starter at point guard. We have already talked a bit about Josh Gray later, but when Robinson left high school, he was being considered by some relatively elite programs (Kansas was one for sure). There was not denying his talent, but it was his grades and maybe his personal life (which he has since turned around) that held him back, perhaps for the better as he seemingly matured quite a bit at JUCO. The bottom line is that I think that Robinson may be just as talented as Gray, but has more experience. Not the same type of player, but right now, probably better. Add to that and as linked above, Jackson's comment that he wants to be this team's starting point guard and now you've got yourself some real competition at a position that lacked real competition last year. Now you add Gray into the mix and this might be the best battle in practices leading up to the season. I would probably pay to watch these practices.
More after the jump.
4. A Mobile and Versatile Big Man | Silva has been billed as a versatile big-man and I've only about 30 seconds of this human being play basketball. By some he's labeled as a sniper and some others say that he has good hands and feet. But perhaps the best description and maybe some clarification, comes from Hoopniks who says that he averaged 13 PPG and 9 RPG as a true freshman, rather than a sophomore, will redshirt this year and then have three years of eligibility remaining:
Texas Tech picked up an interesting commitment in 6′-10″ center Rodrigo Silva, a native of Brazil. Silva plays at Laramie County CC, but it’s been reported that the big man will redshirt this year, and have three seasons of eligibility for the Red Raiders. He was good for 13 points and 9 rebounds per game as a freshman in a strong junior college basketball league.
I'm more encouraged, especially if Gillispie views Silva as a bit of a project, like PF/C Dejan Kravic. I was never confident what to expect from Silva, so if this is the play, then there is not the logjam at the center spot that I thought was about to happen.
5. The Obvious . . . Experience | This one is incredibly easy. The fact that Gillispie recruited and signed four JUCO players says that he not only wants young talent, but he wants players ready to compete and ready to fight for a job. These JUCO players are closer to realizing their dream of playing professionally (if that is their dream) and they may be more hungry to make sure that they get their minutes. I've never known what to think about JUCO players, but I've also never done the research like I have this offseason into their stats while at JUCO and thinking about whether or not that will translate. Guys that shoot well at the JUCO level are more than likely going to be about what they are, and if they can't shoot, then I wouldn't imagine that's going to change overnight. Guys that can score at the JUCO level are more likely to continue to being able to score, but maybe not at the same rate, but that trait typically doesn't just disappear.