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DTN's 2008-2009 Texas Tech Basketball Preview

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Basketball season is right around the corner and I thought it was high time to take a look at this year's squad.  All numbers are based on last year's performances and you'll note that Texas Tech has quite a few new players that are expected to contribute immediately.

Probable Starters

No.
Player
Ht./Wt.
Pos
Year
Pts
Reb
Ast
A/TO
Stl
Blk
23 Nick Okorie 6'1"/195 PG/SG Jr. 17.2 3.4 - - - -
21 John Roberson 5'11"/165 PG So. 12.3 2.5 3.3 1.2/1 0.8 0.0
20 Alan Voskuil 6'3"/181 SG Sr. 13.1 3.8 1.4 1/1.2 1.4 0.0
32 Mike Singletary 6'6"/230 SF So. 7.3 3.0 1.0 1/1.5 0.4 0.3
31 Darko Cohadarevic 6'9"/242 PF Jr. 15.4 8.0 - - - -
24 Trevor Cook 6'9"/241 PF Jr. 4.9 2.4 0.6 1/1.9 0.3 0.6

I understand the rules of basketball and there are only 5 starters, but I've included 6 starters because I think that Pat Knight will utilize these 6 guys depending upon the opposing team. Junior Knight has already said that Cohadarevic and Okorie will start and I think that's a good thing. I think it's also safe to assume that Roberson and Voskuil will also continue to start. I think that Junior Knight would prefer to have an athletic 3-guard lineup, much like Texas has run out in recent years (Augustin, Abrams and Mason) and now, Texas Tech has something similar, although Voskuil is not quite as athletic as Mason, he's a much better shooter, is okay defensively (he does a good job of keeping his man in front of him) and with his shooting, makes up for some of the lack of true athleticism.

 

Okorie is supposed to be a jumping-jack of a guard and in JUCO he was a very good shooter. I think opposing teams are going to have a difficult time covering Okorie and he should have more than enough athleticism to cover opposing guards as well. Roberson's freshman season had some bumps along the way, but he was a true freshman and he'll improve on what he did last year, he just needs to watch the turnovers.

Singletary is another true sophomore who will need to improve defensively as well as adding to his offensive game. When I watched Singletary in the Futures Game he displayed a nice 3-point shot and I'm hoping that he continues to mature his game to the point that he's both an inside and outside threat, but would hate to see him abandon his inside game completely. Singletary has some good post moves and I think he can take advantage of opposing small forwards inside.

Cohadarevic is the wild-card. Cohadarevic adds intensity that this team hasn't seen, but worry about his ability to stay with opposing defenders. He should be able to cover opposing centers/power forwards. He certainly has the size to do that and with his offensive game, which is typical of a Euro, he's a good shooter and can handle the ball as well as a better than average passer.

Depending upon matchups, Cook could see more than a couple of starts. Cook has added some muscle to his frame, which should make him a greater asset defensively. Cook has always been able to shoot from the outside and much like Cohadarevic he's a decent passer.

The key for this unit, and hell for the entire team, is improving the rebounding. Last year's unit was awful rebounding the ball and if this team expects any improvement then Cohadarevic, Cook and Suljagic have got to improve the rebounding edge.

Key Reserves

No.
Player
Ht./Wt.
Pos
Year
Pts
Reb
Ast
A/TO
Stl
Blk
3 Tyree Graham 6'0"/190 PG Fr. - - - - - -
5 D'Walyn Roberts 6'7"/194 SF So. 2.5 1.8 0.2 1/4 0.3 0.2
41 Damir Suljagic 6'9"250 PF Sr. 4.7 4.0 0.7 1/1.5 0.4 0.5
15 Robert Lewandowski 6'10"/240 C Fr. - - - - - -
34 Esmir Rizvic 7'0"/262 C Sr. 2.9 2.1 0.1 1/5.7 0.4 0.3
30 Michael Prince 6'7"/208 SF Sr. 1.6 1.8 0.4 1.1.7 0.5 0.0
2 Rogdrick Craig 6'6"/217 SF Sr. 0.9 0.4 0.0 1/1.2 0.4 0.0

Tyree Graham will be one of the first players off the bench, along with Suljagic and Roberts. Graham is especially important because he possesses a type of game much like Okorie's. A smaller guard who is capable of scoring, playing some point guard, and is all-kinds of athletic. This team is generally short on guards who can handle the ball and his development as a freshman will be important.

I'm hoping that Roberts makes some significant weight gains and improvement. Last year Roberts was somewhat hesitant and I think that in order for him to see significant playing time, he's got to improve his rebounding and defefnse. Roberts has a skill-set that this team doesn't have otherwise. He's incredibly athletic, has long arms and could be a force on the boards, again if added some weight, and defensively. Roberts has a nice outside shot, but for him to see significant playing time he needs to make his mark inside.

Suljagic is one of those players who has done quite a bit in his time at Texas Tech. When he first arrived he struggled to make layups, but he's become much more well-rounded offensively and is a good rebounder. I'd expect Suljagic to continue his improvement, although I'm not expecting a huge jump in skill, but enough to see significant time in the post.

Lewandowski is something that this team doesn't have, which is a true post player. Lewandowski has low-post moves, but I worry about him from a size and strength standpoint because he is a true freshman, but I'd expect Junior Knight to work Lewandowski in early because he could be a tremendous asset in conference play. I'm also guessing that Knight will favor Lewandowski over Rizvic because there's a much better offensive game there over Rizvic. Rizvic is good in very short spurts, but he shouldn't see significant time. Also keep in mind that Rizvic will need to set out this semester or next due to the broken jaw received from Longar Longar, and I'd expect Rizvic to see time during the second half of the year.

Prince and Craig should be at the very end of the key reserves because I'm not expecting each of them to see significant time, but it wouldn't bother me if they did, especially if the younger guys aren't playing well. Prince is a good defender, but lacks offensive assertiveness and often defers to the point that it's maddening. I don't really think we saw enough of Craig to know what he could bring, but he's a decent athlete that could contribute.

End of the Bench

No.
Player
Ht./Wt.
Pos
Year
Pts
Reb
Ast
A/TO
Stl
Blk
10 Wally Dunn 6'4"/194 SG So. - - - - - -
4 Corbin Ray 6'7"/225 SF Fr. - - - - - -

Walk-on Wally Dunn should be a deep reserve and could become a decent spot player. Dunn is a good shooter, but I don't know much else about him.

I'd love to see Ray redshirt this year. He's a decent prospect, but there are plenty of guys in front of him and Ray shouldn't play unless he forces Junior Knight's hand with excellent practices. If Ray plays that means that Singletary, Roberts, Prince, and Craig aren't playing well and that would probably not be a good scenario.