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2007 Review and Preview: Texas Tech Centers

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Last but not least, we have the Texas Tech centers who are near and dear to our heart. Already previewed are the Red Raider guards and Red Raider forwards.

Who's Gone: No one. Rizvic, the lone true center returns for his senior season.

Who Returns:

No. Player Ht. Wt. Year
34 Esmir Rizvic 7-0 250 Sr.

I like Esmir and his numbers shouldn't suggest that I should like him. Averaging only 3.8 points and 2.6 boards in almost 15 minutes a game isn't good. But it isn't necessarily the offensive production or the defensive boards that make Rizvic so unique, but the way he can potentially change the game. Rizvic is the type of player that probably intrigues Coach Knight because he is so unique. In a normal situation, for a player to change a game he has to be offensively dominate a game or defensively dominate a game.

The third way to change a game is more simple, be tall. As we well know, Rizvic isn't particularly gifted offensively and he can be quite slow afoot defensively, but he still has the ability to change a game for a period of time just because of his ability to change shots and opposing players are forced to consider if they want to drive the lane. The problem of course is that you cannot allow Rizvic to become a liability and I think that Coach Knight knows that he can't overexpose Rizvic, but he's good in spots.

Last year Knight could put Rizvic on the floor and not particularly worry about the offense, because he could put Jackson and Zeno on the floor and they could more than power the offense. I've always thought that Knight's motion offense works best when all 5 players have the ability to score. We saw last year when the team relied on only 2 scorers that the offense was less effective, but when a 3rd scorer stepped up the offense was a thing of beauty. Now that Jackson's graduated Knight may be forced to deal with the prospect of determining with what group will Rizvic be most effective. My guess is to put Rizvic out with the more talented offensive players and allow the defenders to funnel their man into the middle.

New Recruits:

Player Height Weight Year
Ricardo De Bem 6-10 240 Jr.

I think much of the short-term future success of this program is heavily dependent on De Bem being a player. There are few players on the current roster who have De Bem's ability to score inside and from everything I've read about De Bem, he's a better than average inside scorer and a better than average rebounder. His season averages at Western Nebraska CC were 17.7 points and 7.22 rebounds per game. That's pretty good and it's not that I'm expecting De Bem to duplicate in Division I his stats in JUCO, but what I think we need from De Bem is simple.

All De Bem has to do is score consistently from the inside. He doesn't have to dominate, which I wouldn't mind, nor does he need to take over games, but if De Bem could show the ability to score inside on a consistent basis, this would open up so much for the guards and wing players for this squad. Being only 1 of 2 centers on the team, De Bem will have ample opportunity and playing time, but the onus will be on De Bem to produce.

Projected Starters:

Center

  • 2007-2008
    1. Esmir Rizvic, Sr.
    2. Ricardo De Bem, Jr.
  • 2008-2009
    1. Ricardo De Bem, Sr.