TRENDING FOR TEXAS TECH
Recruiting | Keith Frazier according to Rivals is the #5 SG in the country and #22 basketball player nationally in the 2013 high school class. Tech is visibly recruiting him as he was seen at one of the games this season on his official recruiting trip. Kendal Yancy-Harris (2013 Rivals - #23 PG, #109 Overall) has been being recruited hard by Tech since release from his LOI to USC, according to rumors. Wannah Bail (2012 Rivals #28 Power Forward, #115 Overall) has been at a Tech game this season and according to rumors will join the team next season if Chris Walker is named permanent head coach. All of you know that I have predicted for months on Viva The Matadors that Coach Walker would be named head coach before the Big 12 tournament. I always thought of it as a way to give a boost of energy to the squad heading into Kansas City, and to really start his official recruiting for Tech as the permanent head coach. High school kids are not going to sign-up to play with someone that has a temporary position. If Chris Walker can get top ranked high school recruits to even come and look at the program he is “temporarily” running, I can’t wait to see what happens when the Chris Walker Era officially starts at Tech.
Free Throw Shooting | Over the last few games our free throws have been horrendous. Against Iowa State we were 13-25 for 52%, and against K-State we were 6-12 for 50%. In both those games it might not have mattered if we made all our free points, but this will simply not cut it when we play TCU next Saturday. I am a firm believer that a team should make over 80% from the line in close games if they want to dramatically increase their chances to win. When we play TCU on Saturday I will be extremely upset if we lose a close game because of misses from the charity stripe. This year free throw shooting has slipped off a lot of the fans radar for this team because in some games we have been being blown out so bad that free throw shots didn’t matter much. We are #253 in the nation in our FT shooting at 66.7%. We miss 1 out of every 3 free points that we could put on the scoreboard. This is a problem that can be fixed by practice. I hope that each of our players is in the gym shooting hundreds of free throws after practice to work on it this week.
Turnovers| At Iowa State we had 12, at K-State we had 14. Not as good as last week, but overall an improvement since I have been tracking this trend each week of the season. To look at it on the positive end, ISU and KSU are two very great teams and we didn’t carelessly give the ball away as much as we did earlier in Big 12 play. Actually we decreased our overall turnovers per game to 14.7 this week and are #269 in the nation for TOPG. This is a sign that our team is actually getting better handling the ball, and making better decisions when passing. That is a major plus for this young squad. We need to keep it up and go under 14 TOs in our next two games against TCU & Kansas. It would allow me to put another up-arrow on this item next week; and that would be 3 weeks in a row trending upwards for turnovers. That’d be the first time in the 2 seasons I have been writing these weekly trending articles that my most stressed trending item has done this! I’d be downright happy if this happens.
Josh Gray | Everybody is giving Gray his much deserved props for last week and I am going to do the same. Gray might have been in foul trouble in the K-State game and only ended up with 2 points in 21 minutes. But, in his previous 2 before that he was a beast. Against Oklahoma he had 26 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals. Against Iowa State he had 20 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. He was honored by the Big 12 as Rookie of the Week. Last night on the Big 12 Network at halftime of the Baylor versus West Virginia game they announced Gray over the broadcast and had spoke very highly of him. I know he laid an egg in the K-State game, but I don’t think that slump will last long. I have always thought Josh Gray was a great player and I am a believer that if he can ever get his jumper and behind the arc shot to fall more consistently he will be at the top of the Big 12 point guard list. He is creating opportunity and knows how to play the game. His passing has progressively become better over the season, yet he still gets caught every once in a while driving and leaving his feet without really knowing where he is going to throw the ball. He’s a freshman right now, but when he is a senior there is no stopping his ability as a star point guard if he can get some accuracy on those shots. I like his attitude on the court and am not mad that he gets a little chippy with the opponents… that’s part of the game and emotions sometimes run high out on the court. I am, and have always been, a Josh Gray fan.
Winning | We all knew the road games against Iowa State and K-State would be grueling. I wanted the team to get some hard knocks on this road trip and gain some experience. Yes, I wanted to be outrageously surprised and pull off the amazing upsets too, but that didn’t happen. I do have some excitement building inside me from the final horn of the K-State game that has been creeping up since early this week. We have TCU coming to Lubbock on Saturday, and I’m going to not only be very pumped-up about this game… but for the second time this season I can say I fully expect our team to win this Big 12 conference game. Earlier this year in a weekly trending post I predicted we would win the TCU road game (we did), and in this post I am going to predict another conference win for our team. Most of the time I am overly optimistic about playing the games for the week, but in this one I am confident. I hope that we can get some fans in the USA and make some noise for our Red Raiders. At the beginning of the season I had thought that this game with TCU in Lubbock on Saturday was the #1 easiest conference game we would encounter on our Big 12 schedule. I still believe that to be true. Let’s get ready to get our 3rd conference win of the season this Saturday and do some much needed celebrating. Come Monday we have to take on KU in Lawrence, but I’m not going to be thinking about that until Sunday morning. Wreck ‘em Tech!