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Review and Preview: Forwards and Centers

Way back in April, we previewed and reviewed the guards for the men's Texas Tech basketball team. I was waiting on McDonald to make a decision (he chose Arkansas over Texas Tech) before discussing the forwards. Now that this is over, let's talk a little basketball.

Who's Gone:

No. Player Ht Wt Pts Rbs Ast TO FG% 3P% FT%
34 Esmir Rizvic 7-0 252 2.9 2.1 0.1 0.6 .517 .000 .465
11 Tyler Hoffmeister 6-6 200 0.9 0.4 0.0 0.3 .375 .000 .000

I know, Rizvic isn't necessarily gone, but he only gets one semester next year. I've always thought that Rizvic is an 8-10 minute guy. You can't over-expose him because he's just not offensively gifted enough to stay on the floor. I really wish that Rizvic was just a tad more athletic, and he'd certainly have a spot in the rotation, but he struggles against more athletic guys and it's quite obvious.

I think it's safe to say that Hoffmeister is one of those guys who is going to be able to tell his grandkids some amazing stories. Hoffmeister was picked from a number of Texas Tech student athletes to become part of the 2006-2007 basketball team in a television series called Knight School. Being picked by Bob Knight to be on his team is a damn cool life experience and I wish him the best.

God speed gentlemen.

Who Returns:

No. Player Ht Wt Pts Rbs Ast TO FG% 3P% FT%
24 Trevor Cook, Jr. 6-8 225 4.9 2.4 0.6 1.2 .455 .386 .776
2 Rogdrick Craig, Sr. 6-6 225 1.1 0.9 0.4 0.4 .273 .125 .429
30 Michael Prince, Sr. 6-7 210 1.6 1.8 0.4 0.7 .467 .333 .333
5 D'Walyn Roberts, So. 6-7 194 2.5 1.8 0.2 0.9 .407 .000 .579
32 Mike Singletary, So. 6-5 226 7.3 3.0 1.0 1.4 .490 .300 .756
41 Damir Suljagic, Sr. 6-8 245 4.7 4.0 0.7 1.0 .580 .000 .552
50 Ricardo De Bem, Sr. 6-10 233 1.9 1.3 0.3 0.2 .290 .000 .583

Let's focus on the good stuff first. I loved the play of Singletary last year. I thought his addition to the team was vital. I always love guys who aren't afraid to mix it up inside, battle for boards, get fouls, etc. That type of play is invaluable, but also so rare it seems. I thought Singletary's emergence was one of the true bright spots last year and really enjoyed watching him play in the latter part of the season. The one point of improvement would have to be Singletary's outside shot. I know he has an outside shot, he hit quite a few outside shots while playing for Team USA last summer, now he just needs to work that into his game at the collegiate level.

Trevor Cook was incredibly inconsistent, but there's something to his game that I like. There were times where Cook was an absolute pleasure to watch, but then there were games where he was playing inconsistently or not getting consistent minutes. He's got a nice outside stroke and he's also not a bad athlete (one of the few guys who can dunk with some authority on the team). Of course there were times where Cook was horrible on the defensive side of the ball and I think this what caused his mid-season slide. The frustrating part of this whole situation is that I know he's athletically gifted enough to work inside and grab some boards, but it's got to be more about desire and positioning. I also think that Cook would be better suited if he's not having to play the team's biggest player. I just don't think Cook is quite there physically to play centers, but can take advantage of most power forwards, at least from the outside.

I can't wait to watch the progress of D'Walyn Roberts, but the more I consider what he can do for the team, the more I think that perhaps he needed to sit out last year as his playing time was sporadic and it seems it would have done him some good to bulk up and put some weight on an otherwise small frame. Here's the problem that RMK and PK faced last year. Roberts was arguably Texas Tech's highest rated recruit, coming off of a Texas state championship, if they make Roberts sit for a year then perhaps he transfers and decides he doesn't want to play here. If I were RMK or PK, I would have played him more early and gotten him more consistent minutes in conference play. Yes, Roberts was mistake prone, but he's also one of the more uniquely talented players on the roster, standing at 6'-7" with the ability to hit the three and defend most any player because of his length. I'm counting on Roberts making a big jump this year.

Damir Suljagic has shown that he has ability, and surprised me with some real post moves last year. But he gets lost in the shuffle, as most big men at Texas Tech. He doesn't do what he really needs to do, which is rebound the hell out of the ball. I wonder too if Suljagic is in the same boat as Cook, just not big enough to take the opposing team's biggest man, which limits his effectiveness both offensively and defensively. But here's Suljagic's biggest obstacle, he's not gifted offensively to create mismatches like Cook can, so he's almost a guy without a true position, or rather, he's a guy who can play excellent defense if the opposing player isn't a true center. Again, I need more from Suljagic. I need more rebounds more than anything else.

For some reason I really want Prince to succeed, but I think Prince's lack of success is his own fault. Prince has offensive ability, but chooses to defer to other players, and it's maddening at times. The bottom line for Prince is if his offensive game improves then he plays quite a bit next year, if not, then I think you see some of the freshmen.

I have no idea what to think about Craig and De Bem. I haven't seen enough of them to base a real opinion. Other that trusting PK, then I'm assuming these guys don't see the floor next year, at least not very much.

Who Is Going To Be Here:

Player Ht Wt Pts Rbs Ast
Robert Lewandowski, HS 6-9 250 15.3 - -
Corbin Ray, HS 6-8 210 - - -
Darko Cohadarevic, JUCO 6-9 240 16.5 6.0 2.2

I'm going to take Cohadarevic first because I think he starts immediately. Just like Cook and Suljagic, I'm not sure that Cohadarevic is big enough to play center, but I'm guessing that PK is trying something different, I think he's going to go with a more versatile and less traditional starting 5 than we are accustomed. I'm thinking that PK knows he can't get a true dominating low-post presence at Texas Tech, at least not right now. We've all read how PK wants a more up-tempo game and I think the key to all of this is to have a guy who can do a number of things offensively and create mismatches. Enter, Cohadarevic. Cohadarevic has an outside game and passes the ball well, so I think that what PK is trying to do is create mismatches on the court, where most teams have a low-post presence, PK is getting his big guys outside and letting Singletary and hopefully Roberts play on the inside and take advantage of opposing players who probably don't match-up as well. I'm certainly interested to see if this works and I'm not holding my breath, but I think PK is trying something different.

I think Lewandowski is a project, and if possible would love to see him redshirt. This is of course predicated on the thought that PK will be more inclined to play the more veteran players, which I'm not so sure is the best thing for the program right now. If it were me, Lewandowski would be the 2nd guy off of the bench behind Cohadarevic, especially if Lewandowski has any sort of offensive skills at all. If Lewandowski doesn't, then I would sit Lewandowski and hope that I get 4 good years from him. It's not easy to make a kid sit, and PK has an interesting balance between long-term and short-term success that I'm not sure I envy.

Corbin Ray is the real wild-card here and if anyone takes minutes away from Prince it's going to be Ray. If Ray shows any inkling of an offensive game, then Ray plays immediately, probably behind Cook. It seems I've read numerous places that Ray has both an inside-outside game, which means that he can take advantage of other post players with his outside shot.

Depth Chart:

I believe that PK goes with a 3-forward team, almost exactly like last year, but I think this year he stresses offensive ability over defensive ability, opposite from RMK.

Year Position Starter Backup
2008-09 Small Forward Mike Singletary, So. D'Walyn Roberts, So.
Power Forward Trevor Cook, Jr. Damir Suljagic, Sr.
Center Darko Cohadarevic, Jr. Robert Lewandowski, Fr.
2009-10 Small Forward Mike Singletary, Jr. D'Walyn Roberts, Jr.
Power Forward Trevor Cook, Sr. Corbin Ray, So.
Center Darko Cohadarevic, Sr. Robert Lewandowski, So.
2010-11 Small Forward Mike Singletary, Sr. D'Walyn Roberts, Sr.
Power Forward D'Walyn Roberts, Sr. Corbin Ray, Jr.
Center Robert Lewandowski, Jr. -