POSITION BREAKDOWN FOR TEXAS TECH BACKCOURT
1 Guard - Point Guard| The loss of Josh Gray hurts the backcourt tremendously. While Gray had his troubles with turnovers and ball-hogging at times, all he had to do was work on his mid-range and downtown shot to really get better as a player. Maturity and experience would have helped him cut down on turnovers and ball-hogging. He was 3rd on the team in scoring, 1st on the team in assists, 1st on the team in steals, and he averaged the most minutes played per game on the team (I know he was 1st in turnovers as well). He did all that as a wet behind the ears freshman. I believe he was going to be a top PG in the Big 12 in the next 2 years. It is a big blow to lose a player of his caliber as floor general of the squad.
I’m not extremely confident in the idea of Daylen Robinson running the team at the 1-position. Robinson didn’t look to have been much of a factor when playing in games last year. I do have high hopes that Robert Turner can be the key guy this upcoming season at PG. Turner might not have the offensive upside that Gray possessed, but he was supposedly a good defensive player and had a pass-first mentality at New Mexico Junior College. He might be the guy needed to run this team coming over half-court with the ball in his hands. Also, maybe Cory Scott could add some depth to this position. He seems amazingly athletic (high jumping) and might get some minutes in games to prove himself into the mix. Adams… love the guy but hate to say, Luke Adams doesn’t have what it takes to cut it at PG if we are going to be competitive in Big 12 games. The point guard slot is going to be a major position battle to stay focused on during the pre-season. The spot is up for grabs to whoever wants to take it and proves they’re ready to Tubby Smith early in camp.
2 Guard - Shooting Guard| I’m concerned at the lack of depth at the SG position. Tubby has a difficult challenge to figure out how to play our guards in the backcourt positions. Dusty Hannahs is a fan favorite. He can bomb the three from just about anywhere on the court. He is a step slower than the other guy some of the time, but when he gets enough room he can nail the shot. I’m glad he got to start for the last half of the season and get some experience after Trency Jackson transferred schools. Hannahs is going to need that experience to show this next season to create space between himself and the defender on offense, work on his drive to the basket, and work on his defense. I think he can be a great 2-guard with some hard work practicing on things. The coaches should be able to polish him up and make him a damn fine SG by his junior or senior year with that sweet shot of his.
Then we have Toddrick Gotcher, Cory Scott, and Jamal Williams that can be back-ups at the SG position. Gotcher did not do bad when put in the games last year, but I see him as more of a secondary role player that comes off the bench and can give a spark to the game when needed. Cory Scott might get a chance to prove himself as getting a lot of minutes at the SG spot, but I think Hannahs has the spot locked up for starter right now. Jamal Williams can help out if needed, but I really like him at the 3-guard spot not as a 2-guard.
3 Guard - Small Forward|Technically the 3 position is part of the frontcourt, but I like to count it as part of the backcourt in college basketball. Most 3-men are considered 3-guards and line up outside or on the three point line when coming down the court on offense.
Jamal Williams did a nice job last season at this position. Williams seems to be the only classic swingman on the team. A swingman is a player that can play the 2 or 3 guard position. He consistently did his job, and was usually the guard called on by coaches to play on the defensive side against the opponent’s best swingman. While offensively he seemed to be hot and cold with his shot from inside and outside, he could drive the ball to the rim when needed. Gotcher is built like a swingman, but he seems to lack some of the skills to play the 3 position and is a better fit at the 2. When we go with a three guard lineup Williams should definitely be at the 3-guard position. Gotcher should be able to fill in backup at the 3-guard if we have a 3 guard lineup in.
Switching gears for a moment, I’m excited to say that I finally think Jaye Crockett is ready to be a cornerman. A cornerman can play the 3 or 4 position on the floor, and good cornermen are truly hard to come by. I have argued with others over the past few seasons that Crockett is way better at the 4 position and not ready to be a 3. This was because he lacked the ball handling skills, passing, and downtown shot that it takes to play at the 3. Now going into his senior year he should be great as a cornerman as he has learned the skills needed to play the position. I would assume Tubby will play him more at the 4, but I think he has made a case over last season he can be at the 3-postion if we want to go for a big lineup against other teams. Crockett only attempted 23 downtown shots in his first two seasons playing, last year he attempted 70. Versatility and athleticism along with an outside shot, the ability to finish at the rim, and size is what it takes to be a cornerman. Jaye Crockett is that guy. Alex Foster is another that is talked about as being a stretch-four (cornerman), but I just don’t see him as developed enough yet at his outside game (ball handling) or having a three-point shot. As Tubby and the coaches help Foster develop, I think he will be a lot like Crockett and can be ready to be a very valuable cornerman in the future for our team.