Texas Tech Hoops: In-Depth Season Preview

USA TODAY Sports

Seth and I created an extensive season preview put together for the ultimate Texas Tech basketball fan. All the stats and analysis of the Red Raiders basketball team that you can handle.

Recapping Last Year

2012-13 Record: 11-20 (Big 12 3-15)

Departures: Trency Jackson (mid-year), Ty Nurse, Josh Gray, and Daylen Robinson

Points per game: 65.4 Rank: #233

Assists per game: 11.1 Rank: #290

Rebounds per game: 32.0 Rank: #279

3-pt FG %: 28.8% Rank: #333

Free Throw %: 66.7% Rank: #260

Steals per game: 8.2 Rank: #39

Blocks per game: 3.0 Rank: #212

Based on the numbers Texas Tech was statistically one of the worst nationally in a slew of categories. However, if you watched the games last year you would have witnessed a team that matured throughout the season and always played their hearts out. The effort was admirable, but it did not show results… AKA wins. In spite of everything fans were just glad to get the Billy Gillispie fiasco behind them. Thankfully it was accomplished.

The best games for Tech last year were wins against a really good Iowa State squad at home, and a hard fought last-second win against West Virginia in the Big 12 tourney. Iowa State was a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament and the victory gave the guys some much needed confidence. The win against WVU showed that if they kept fighting until the end good things could happen. Watching those games were really fun, and the excitement that ensued after Dejan Kravic hit his shot in Kansas City to beat WVU was much needed after such a long season of disappointments. Those two games are the highlights that stuck out the most to me from last year.

All last season Chris Walker was auditioning for a chance to be the head coach for Texas Tech. After seeing Coach Walker help the players and fans keep their spirits up as the season dragged along he won the respect of many around the program. Unfortunately for him it was not enough to win the job when the legendary Tubby Smith became available. Texas Tech basketball had been ready for a new era to begin in Lubbock with the program ever since Bobby Knight left. Tubby Smith came to Texas Tech with determination that he could be the spark to create the new era fans desperately sought.

The Coaches

  • Head Coach Tubby Smith - Head Coaching Record of 511-226 (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota)… 17 NCAA Tournament appearances… Won National Championship at Kentucky in 1997-98…. Assistant Coach for the 2000 USA Olympic Team… Played basketball at High Point University under 3 different coaches in 4 seasons.
  • Assistant Coach Joe Esposito - Head Coaching Record of 118-99 (The Villages Charter Schools, Angelo State University)… Associate Head Coach for Assumption College and Tennessee State University… Director of Basketball Operations for Tubby Smith at Minnesota for 6 seasons... Graduate from Marist College and U.S. Sports Academy.
  • Assistant Coach Vince Taylor - Assistant Coach for Wyoming, Pittsburgh, and Louisville... Assistant Coach for Tubby Smith at Minnesota for 6 seasons… Worked with Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff for 2 seasons… 1982 Round 2 #34 overall draft pick by the New York Knicks… Played basketball at Duke University.
  • Assistant Coach Alvin "Pooh" Williamson - Interim Head Coach briefly for University of Tulsa (2004-05 season)… Assistant coach for Washington State, Illinois State, Tulane, Tulsa, Wichita State, Texas A&M, SMU, and TCU… Former player for Tubby Smith at University of Tulsa.
  • Director of Operations Mark Adams - Head Coaching Record of 448-229 (Clarendon College, Wayland Baptist, West Texas A&M, Texas Pan-American, Howard College)… Won NJCAA National Championship at Howard College in 2010-11… Graduate from Texas Tech… Father of current player Luke Adams.
  • Assistant Director of Operations Zo Goodson - Special Assistant to Tubby Smith at University of Minnesota for 6 seasons… Special Assistant to Tubby Smith at University of Kentucky (2 seasons)… Student Manager at University of Kentucky for Tubby Smith… Named in Cosmopolitan Magazine as Minnesota’s most eligible bachelor (2008).
  • Video Coordinator Saul Smith - Assistant Coach for Tennessee Tech University… Assistant Coach at University of Minnesota for Tubby Smith (6 seasons)… Played for Tubby Smith at University of Kentucky… Son of Coach Smith.
  • Assistant Director of Video Operations Derrick Jasper - Third straight season as a basketball staff member at Texas Tech… Played 1 season for Tubby Smith at Kentucky… Played 1 season for Billy Gillispie at Kentucky… Played at UNLV for 2 seasons for current Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger.

Team Preseason Awards

  • Team MVP – Jaye Crockett
  • Crockett is the senior leader of this team. He has been through 4 different head coaches in his 5 years at Texas Tech. He was first statistically on the team in scoring and rebounding. He has always been one of the best on the team, but has never been a starter. His talent on the court and his leadership on and off the court make him the easy pick for MVP.

  • Best Offensive Player – Jaye Crockett
  • Crockett was the scoring leader last year. He has developed his outside shot, and now has the ability to stretch his game from beyond the three point line. His ability to drive and finish at the rim is outstanding. He has played most of his minutes from the PF spot, but I think he has developed into a versatile enough threat to be a matchup nightmare for opponents at the SF position.

  • Best Defensive Player – Rob Turner
  • This preseason award goes to Turner for the fact that most of the things I have read about him say he is a tough defensive player. I don’t like voting for players I have never seen play in a Tech jersey before, but I think I’m safe on this pick. He is rumored to be our starting PG, and talked about as a pass-first type player. Tech needs a PG that can shut down other teams guards.

  • Best Shooter – Dusty Hannahs
  • Hannahs by far is our most dangerous shooter. He can make an open shot from anywhere on the court. His 37.4% 3-pt percentage was the best on the team last year, and he was only a freshman.

  • Best Rebounder – Jordan Tolbert
  • Tolbert can box-out just about anyone in the Big 12. When he bangs around in the paint for boards he usually comes away with the ball. I don’t know of any other Tech player that could compete with him for best rebounder this season.

  • Best Newcomer – Aaron Ross
  • I consider a newcomer to be a player that has never played a season on the floor in a Texas Tech jersey. Ross was lost last season because of a tear to his ACL, but now he is back practicing ready to show us how good he really is. A 3-star rated recruit from ESPN, Rivals, and Scout. He’s a big body, and has a soft touch to his shot. The hype is real.

  • Most Improved Player – Kader Tapsoba
  • Dejan Kravic was who I wanted to pick for this award, but I went with Tapsoba for a few reasons. He should get more minutes than he did in the past at center. That and I think he will greatly improve on his last season’s stats 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, and 0.5 bpg. He played this summer in the 2013 FIBA African Championships on the Burkin Faso National Team. He’s destined to show great improvement in his senior season.

  • Best Team Player – Jamal Williams
  • He is our glue-guy. His number will be called upon a lot this season, and I think he will step up to anything needed for our team. He can do it all… play at the 1, 2 , or 3 spots. Hopefully we are recruiting a player that can step in and take Williams spot after he leaves this season.

The Lineup

THE STARTERS THE PLAYERS
Point Guard Rob Turner – After losing Josh Gray at the 1 position all signs point to Turner being the starter. It’s his spot to lose to another player if he doesn’t perform. He comes in with no D-1 experience, but his JUCO experience should help out.
Shooting Guard Dusty Hannahs – Most dangerous downtown threat on the roster. A pure shooter that should flourish in Coach Smith’s offense. He became a starter the last half of his freshman season, and should be starting again at the 2 guard spot.
Small Forward Jaye Crockett – Best all around player on the team. Has spread his shot to extend beyond the arc. Developed his game to become a true cornerman that deserves to finally be a starter.
Power Forward Jordan Tolbert – Our strongest, and most aggressive post player. We need him on the court down in the mix as much as possible to be competitive.
Center Dejan Kravic – He was the starter at the 5 spot last year. He improved every game last season. With help from Coach Smith and staff he could improve even more this season to become one of the best players on the team.
THE BENCH THE PLAYERS
Point Guard Randy Onwuasor | Toddrick Gotcher | Luke Adams – This PG position is up for grabs if Turner doesn’t perform well. Onwuasor might be the 1st back-up off the bench to get the opportunity to showcase his talents.
Shooting Guard Toddrick Gotcher | Jamal Williams – When Hannahs needs a breather or if Coach Smith wants to change things up, Gotcher or Williams are nice back-ups to have at SG.
Small Forward Jamal Williams | Aaron Ross | Alex Foster – Loads of talent on the roster at this position. Williams is good playing SF. Ross might have the shot to stretch out to SF. Foster can be used if needed.
Power Forward Jaye Crockett | Aaron Ross | Alex Foster – Crockett has played most of his career minutes at the 4. Crockett is still the best back-up when Tolbert slides to the 5. Depth at PF is strong with Crockett, Ross, and Foster.
Center Jordan Tolbert | Kader Tabsoba – Tolbert is top back-up when we want to go with a small athletic posts. Want to keep the big guys down low, sub out Kravic for his Tabsoba who can get some swats and boards when needed.

Player Strengths and Weaknesses

#13 Luke Adams | 5-9/170 | Junior | Guard

Luke is a diminutive, but strong-willed point guard. An excellent shooter and manager of the game, but has some deficiencies on defense. Luke is deaf and plays with a Cochlear Implant.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#30 Jaye Crockett | 6-7/210 | Graduate Student | Forward

Crockett is the leader of this team and most likely this teams' best overall player. If Crockett can continue to add to his outside shooting, he will be a difficult cover for Big 12 opponents.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#34 Alex Foster | 6-8/225 | Freshman | Forward

A former commit for Tubby Smith at Minnesota, Foster de-committed from the Gophers and committed to Texas Tech. Foster brings some much needed young size to this team.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#20 Toddrick Gotcher | 6-4/195 | RS Sophomore | Guard

Gotcher is built like a linebacker and offers a different look at shooting guard. Gotcher has a good mid-range game, but needs to add a consistent three-point shot to his aresenal.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#2 Dusty Hannahs | 6-4/210 | Sophomore | Guard

The best long-range shooter on the team, Hannahs brings size to the shooting guard spot. Is somewhat limited defensively, but always gives high effort.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#11 Dejan Kravic | 7-0/235 | Graduate Student | Forward

Kravic is a greatly improved player from when he first started at Texas Tech. Kravic is a nifty scorer and non-traditional, but needs to improve on rebounding.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#35 Clark Lammert | 6-8/210 | Junior | Forward

A walk-on forward who gives high effort when he plays, but is somewhat limited by lack of size and strength.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#5 Stan Mays | 6-2/185 | Freshman | Guard

A true freshman walk-on from Louisiana who surprised some by showing up at Texas Tech. Was an All-State peformer his senior year.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#1 Randy Onwuasor | 6-3/190 | Freshman | Guard

A true combo-guard who could play the point or shooting guard from California. A late addition to the 2013 recruiting class.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#15 Aaron Ross | 6-8/225 | RS Freshman | Forward

Ross suffered a season-ending knee injury before even stepping on the court for Texas Tech last year. Ross is known to be a big man with the shooting and ball-handling skills of a guard.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#4 Patrick Strake | 6-6/235 | Freshman | Forward

A walk-on from Austin, Strake spent last year at Huntington Prep.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#12 Kader Tapsoba | 6-10/225 | Graduate Student | Forward

Tapsoba adds size and length inside. Struggles to score, but is a terrific defender around the rim.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#32 Jordan Tolbert | 6-7/225 | Junior | Forward

Tolbert, along with Crockett, are probably this team's best players. Tolbert is an undersized power forward, but has long arms and is improving his game with an outside shot.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#14 Rob Turner | 6-3/180 | Junior | Guard

Turner is expected to be "the" point guard for this team. A JUCO player from New Mexico JC, Turner is known for his defense and ability to run the team.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

#23 Jamal Williams, Jr. | 6-4/190 | Senior | Guard

Williams is a versatile player who can play both at shooting guard and small forward. Williams is a hard-nosed player from Brooklyn.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shooting

Rebounding

Passing

Defense

Scoring

Ball Handling

Free Throws

Top Non-Conference Games

  • Nov. 14th at Alabama
  • Alabama had some issues in the off-season… a really good starter for them transferred and another former 5-star recruit (Devonta Pollard) dropped off the team due to criminal charges. They are still one of the better teams in the SEC conference and will be pushing for another NCAA tourney berth. This will be a rough game for our squad.

  • Legends Classic in Brooklyn, NY (Nov. 25th) versus Pittsburgh
  • It will be fun to play in a tournament atmosphere at a neutral site with some great competition. Pitt returns 3 starters, and is going to be the favorite to win the Legends Classic. They are not in the preseason top 25 but are always a strong team that should easily make it to the NCAA tourney. This will be a great game to see how the team performs in the spotlights.

  • Legends Classic in Brooklyn, NY (Nov. 26th) versus Stanford or Houston
  • It would be great to get to play Houston in New York going against former head coach James Dickey. They were 20-13 last year; their leading scorer transferred but U of H can still score loads of points quickly with their potent offense. They will be pushing for an NIT bid and we could really see where our team stands competitively if we get to take them on. Stanford is a better squad than Houston and will probably not be as beneficial a game to test what level our team is at.

  • Dec. 3rd at Arizona
  • By far the best team on our non-conference schedule, and maybe the best team on our entire schedule (I think they will be better than KU or OSU). Zona will be top 5 undefeated team when we stroll into their house. This will be a huge learning experience for our team. I’m interested to see how the team responds. I’m also interested to watch Aaron Gordon, California’s Mr. Basketball twice and MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game. Jordan Tolbert will have a major battle on his hands.

  • Dec. 18th LSU (in the USA)
  • I feel LSU is a grade below Alabama in the SEC, but they do return their 2 top scorers and snagged top recruit Jarell Martin. They could be in store for a breakout season and will be another team pushing for a NCAA tourney bid. We will get an understanding of how much Tech has developed from the Alabama game to this one when the buzzer sounds.

  • Dec. 21st at Arizona State
  • One of my favorite PG’s in the country Jahii Carson is on ASU. Really pay attention to the match-up between Rob Turner and Carson. We will be able to tell if Turner is the real deal at PG for Tech after this game. ASU will be good and has a shot to make the NCAA tourney, and definitely will be going to the NIT if not. This will be another test to see how far along the team is before Big 12 games start up. If we can’t hang around with ASU on the court we may be in store for another long Big 12 season.

Season Projection

Every new season Tech fans have high hopes and goals for our squad. We have been in the rebuilding stages with new head coaches for the past 3 years. Every fan is ready for stability within the program. We’re also ready for the victories to start rolling in. While our backcourt is not very strong, our frontcourt is actually going to be one of the better units this season in the Big 12. The experience and power in our frontcourt will help us pull out a few more triumphs in conference play than previous years. It might not be pretty at times, but I have faith in this group.

Tubby Smith and staff bring in top notch leadership and a plan to get things done. It will not take long for his crew to move the program into the top half of the conference. I fully expect to see ups-and-downs from the team and staff in terms of success this upcoming season. But, that will also translate into experience for future seasons to come. The recruiting has heated up for Tech and the new staff has started to mold their creation for the rebuilding of this program. We will applaud the final product.

The end is evident, but it is sort of a mystery how this season will turn out. I have confidence in the team; they can accomplish more than most will give them credit for. The chemistry for a winning season is here, but it will be a challenge for the staff to figure out how to put it all together. I might be in the minority with this opinion, but many will be surprised how good this team looks as Big 12 play opens up. Tech will pull off some exciting wins that you won’t want to miss. I can guarantee that… Wreck ‘em Tech!

Predicted 2013-14 regular season record: 16-15 (Big 12 7-11)

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