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2007 Review and Preview: Texas Tech Forwards

We've already taken a look at the guards and now it's time to focus on the forwards. For our purposes, I'm going to consider Rizvic and De Bem the team's only centers and we'll preview those two upon my return.

Who's Gone:

No. Player Ht. Wt.
12 Jay Mitchell 6-8 235
15 Justin Wilkerson 6-8 205
31 Tanner Ogden 6-7 220
32 Jon Plefka 6-8 245
44 Darryl Dora 6-8 250

I'll be honest here, I'm quite anxious to move forward after last year's issues with the frontcourt. The overall lack of rebounding and true inside presence was incredibly frustrating. Jay Mitchell and Justin Wilkerson have both left the school. Ogden, Plefka and Dora were all three seniors.

I always thought that Dora had more talent than how he played, seemingly never playing to his potential. There were games where he was a complete savior and there there were other games where he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn.

Plefka was a player who was just limited by his physical attributes. Jon played pretty good post defense and was more than capable of hitting an open shot or two, but could never really be relied upon to do much more than that.

I always loved watching Ogden play, the kid played with reckless offensive abandon, never met a shot he didn't like. There were games where I wouldn't mind seeing him utilized a little more, but he was too much of a liability defensively.

Who Returns:

No. Player Ht. Wt. Year
2 Rogdrick Craig 6-6 230 So.
11 Tyler Hoffmeister 6-6 200 Sr.
13 Decensae White 6-6 200 So.
24 Trevor Cook 6-8 200 So.
30 Michael Prince 6-7 210 Jr.
34 Damir Suljagic 6-8 248 Jr.

There are players who return who have serious potential to do something for this next year's squad. However, there are also players who return who have got to make significant improvements or be left behind by more talented recruits.

Craig sat out all last year with a heart condition and it's been reported that he's been cleared to play. That's great news for a team and a program that lacked athletic forward types. I've said it before that I've never seen Craig play, but I envision a P.J. Tucker type of game. Craig definitely has some size to him and if he's half of the athlete of his father then I think Tech may have a special athlete on their hands. I'm not sure if Rogdrick is a small forward or power forward, but will list him at power forward until proven otherwise.

Hoffmeister won the "Knight School" competition and is a crowd favorite. He's not expected to get much playing time, but considering the non-conference schedule he may want to run a few extra wind-sprints.

Decensae White is a star in the making. He's a hard worker who I believe will develop an excellent 3-point shot. I love White's game and it will be interesting to see how Knight gets he and Zeno on the floor more often than not. I think that White's going to have an outstanding season for Tech and won't suffer any sort of sophomore slump, mainly because he's willing to mix it up inside and get some easy buckets.

Trevor Cook is the real wild card for this team. From everything that I've read and seen, he is an excellent outside jumper, has the ability to block a few shots and can rebound. I'd love it if Cook had just one inside move, to give Tech some sort of inside presence, which would keep opposing teams a little more honest and open up the outside for the guards. I'm looking forward to seeing what Cook has to offer.

Michael Prince is the guy who may be left behind if he doesn't show something. I loved Prince's play early in the year. He was a hustle player, played good defense and was able to score some trash buckets. The problems for Prince started to occur when he had trouble making outside shots and became a liability offensively. Not to mention, Prince deferred all too often last year, passing up an open jumper to someone else with a contested jumper. Michael can be a serious player for Tech, but he's got to step up his game, significantly. This means being able to knock down an open jumper and continuing to work on his defense and his rebounding.

Damir is great for one thing and that is post defense. Suljagic doesn't offer much of an inside presence, unless it's a layup, but he's a hell of a defender. Of course in that sentence lies the problem. He too is an offensive liability and there's only so many of those you can have on the floor at a given time without completely wrecking any sort of offensive continuity. Suljagic should come back to Lubbock with some sort of offense and show Knight that he's capable of, at the very least, being a threat.

New Recruits:

Player Ht. Wt.
D'walyn Roberts 6-7 185
A.J. Hardeman 6-7 210

I love Roberts game, he's got long arms, a decent 3-point shot and a nice defensive game. I watched him play a couple of games for Duncanville and although that team had talent, Roberts was the most consistent player. His biggest issue is his weight. He's got to put on a few more pounds to be an effective player in the Big 12 (of course this didn't seem to stop Durant), but the general idea is that additional weight will certainly help his game.

Hardeman is the other kid where I was never able to find any information. He apparently has had some eligibility issues, but I would love for him to come to Tech in the same manner as Michael Crabtree, let him get a year under his belt as a college student and then have him dominate the Big 12 with 4 years of eligibility. There's plenty of talent with the current club, I think it would be great to let him sit for a year and learn the system.

Projected Starters:

Small Forward

  • 2007-2008
    1. Decensae White, So.
    2. Michael Prince, Jr.
    3. D'walyn Roberts, Fr.
    4. Tyler Hoffmeister, Sr.
  • 2008-2009
    1. Decensae White, Jr.
    2. Michael Prince, Sr.
    3. D'walyn Roberts, So.

Power Forward

  • 2007-2008
    1. Trevor Cook, So.
    2. Rogdrick Craig, So.
    3. Damir Suljagic, Jr.
    4. A.J. Hardeman, Fr. (possible redshirt)
  • 2008-2009
    1. Trevor Cook, Jr.
    2. Rogdrick Craig, Jr.
    3. Damir Suljagic, Sr.
    4. A.J. Hardeman, RS Fr.