Texas Tech Basketball Season Outlook | Frontcourt

Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Texas Tech hoops frontcourt... some expectations and possible needs for recruiting during the upcoming season and beyond.

Eligibility Remaining
Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Jaye Crockett SR 6-8/200 Small Forward
Dejan Kravic SR 6-11/240 Center
Kader Tapsoba SR 6-10/222 Center
Jordan Tolbert JR 6-7/225 Power Forward
Clark Lammert JR 6-8/210 Small Forward
Aaron Ross RS FR 6-8/235 Power Forward
Alex Foster FR 6-8/215 Power Forward

*credit to Seth for making the charts

I don’t know if it’s been officially announced yet, but for those that haven’t heard the rumor that freshman guard Cory Scott is no longer with the team here is some evidence… click here. It looks like he has signed with Midland College and is no longer on the Texas Tech roster.

Seniors | There are three seniors on this team that play in the frontcourt who will be gone after this season ends. That is a long term concern when you are trying to build stability and establish yourself as a legit Big 12 contender for the future. The down-low players in the paint are the ones that see the most action during games. We are going to be really young and inexperienced next year in the frontcourt unless we start hitting the recruiting trail for some JUCO talent right now.

Jaye Crockett comes into his final year at Tech, and I am going to be sad witnessing his departure from this program. Leading up to the season I’m going to write a few "Player Spotlight" posts giving background, statistics, and breakdown of our better players on the team. Of course I’ll have one on Jaye Crockett. Everyone has a favorite player on their favorite team… Crockett is mine. He is a great teammate that has developed his game to be stretched beyond the arc. Crockett averaged the 2nd most minutes on the team last year with 24.9 mpg and I expect that number to stay the same or increase. He mainly got those minutes off the bench playing the majority of time at the 4 position over his career. But, he should get some minutes at the 3-spot if Coach Smith and crew want to go with a bigger line-up. Crockett can rebound, has a nice shot, can get above the rim when needed, and is the leader of this team. Fans have liked seeing him over the years playing in a glorified 6th man role, but I think it is time for Crockett to be an established starter each and every game.

Dejan Kravic developed nicely over his first year on the court for Tech playing in the Big 12. I still am hesitant with him at the 5 position when we are playing teams with more traditional centers. He seemed to be pushed off the ball and out of the paint easily. Though he did vastly improve his positioning and blocking-out in the paint as the season progressed. Offense is where Kravic excels, and he has a nice touch on his shot and incredible handling for a big man. He was on the court and usually a starter at center last year with 21.5 mpg. I would think his number of minutes would stay the same, because Jordan Tolbert should switch off minutes at the 4 and 5 position this season. Kravic is an experienced basketball player and has potential to be a breakout player on this team. Let’s hope Coach Smith can help him distribute the ball more and try to involve his teammates when the ball is in his hands.

Kader Tapsoba only had 7.2 mpg last year. I always thought that he would get more time at center than he did. He is not an offensive threat like Kravic, but he had shot blocking ability and rebounding potential. I will be shocked again this season if he doesn’t get more minutes in the game, but maybe it’s something the coaches in practice see that we as fans don’t get the privilege to be a part of. Now with Coach Smith running things, he could see more minutes.

We have 2 guys on the team that play at the 5 position exclusively. They both are the tallest guys on the team at 6’10 & 6’11’’. Then we have 6’7’’ Jaye Crockett who is the best player on this team, and can play the 3 and 4 positions. All of them exhaust their NCAA eligibility at the end of the season. This scares me tremendously. Jordan Tolbert is the only other guy on our team that gets playing time at the center position. He is a senior next year. Time to grab some recruits that play in the paint at the 5 position. The JUCO route might be the best place to find big bodies that already know how to play at a higher level. The other hope is that our freshman forward Alex Foster can step in and develop into the next Jaye Crockett of Texas Tech basketball.

Juniors | Jordan Tolbert is another guy that will definitely have a "Player Spotlight" post written about him. He was in beast mode his freshman year, and last season had himself a sophomore slump at the beginning of the season. The sophomore slump cannot be mentioned without sharing the fact that he was going through a rough time having his father pass away. Also, teams were gunning for Tolbert last year with all the recognition he received his freshman season. They were hammering him right away as soon as the clock started to roll. He did get 23 mpg, but it would've been more had he not gotten into so much foul trouble. Tolbert is a force, and the second best player on this team. He is a starter at the 4 position, but gets a lot of minutes at the 5 spot even though he is listed at 6’7’’. He needs to cut down on those fouls, and get more minutes of playing time because he is a huge contributing factor into winning games. He only has two more seasons to play, and next year we will be leaning on him as our big time senior leader. Again, we need to be recruiting him some help down low for next season.

Clark Lammert, what a guy he is. Always one who you want to cheer for while in the game. He has a younger brother that overshadows him playing at UT, but he pays his own way to be on this Tech team as a walk-on. I’ll keep cheering for him every time he gets in on the action, but I don’t think he will even see the 5.9 mpg that he was in last year.

Freshmen |Aaron Ross is different than your normal frosh, he is a redshirt freshman… and he was a highly rated recruit in 2011. Ross has a load of potential according to all the basketball experts, problem is that he has never played in Div-1 basketball. Also, he is going to be playing for the first time since tearing his ACL. From what I hear he has a great shot, and can handle the ball really well. For being listed at 6’8’’ and 235 lbs I was hoping for him to be one of the guys that could help take over at the 4 position, be aggressive, and get things going in the paint when Tolbert needs help. I have high expectations for this kid, but I really want to see what he looks like in some games before I’m sold that he is going to be another bruiser down-low. That goes for playing time too, I bet that some of you have him slated to play at least 15 minutes a game. I am one of those fans that think he will get a lot of time, but it is hard to say how much without seeing him play… by the end of the season he could be playing 25 or 30 mpg. He is a wild-card that I hope turns into a winner for our basketball program.

Alex Foster is another wild-card for this program. He is a true freshman that will get some minutes. Foster had a lot of schools recruiting him, but we got lucky he followed Coach Smith to Texas Tech. He is trying to develop his game and be like Jaye Crockett. Having the versatility to play a cornerman role at the 3 and 4 spots. Here again, I will not know what we have until he hits the floor in a Tech uniform. His minutes will be determined by what he shows on the court this season.

Needless to keep harping, but Texas Tech is in dire need of recruiting at the frontcourt positions. I think we will have a strong frontcourt this year, but next year will depend on who we can get to come to Lubbock. Wreck ‘em Tech!

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