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A Conversation with Double-T Nation: Basketball

I spent quite a bit of time while driving on vacation and I found myself having conversations with myself about the state of the Texas Tech program. I know, it's sad, but it's true. The following is a glimpse of those conversations. Feel free to comment, criticize or join in.

Let's move on to the basketball team, a lot has happened since the start of the 2007-2008 season.

Its been a whirlwind of events. Texas Tech goes from having a Hall of Fame coach to having a his unproven son coach the team, I think it's safe to say it's been a strange year.


Looking back at Bob Knight's mid-season retirement, how do you feel about it now?

A lot of people thought that this was another incredibly selfish thing that RMK did in his tenure as a head coach, but I just never got that feeling. Ultimately, I've always felt that if a guy isn't doing what he wants to do, then I'm okay with that, even if its in the middle of the season. If he wasn't happy, for whatever reason, then I would rather he not coach, which is what I think was the bottom line for RMK at the time.

Do you think it was fair to Pat Knight, to throw him to the wolves in the middle of the season?

Absolutely not, although I've never spoken to Pat Knight, but I'd imagine that he probably feels that his father gave him the chance of a lifetime. Again, this is just my personal perception, but I get the feeling that PK feels that this is his destiny. I know that sentiment is a little much, but I can't be the only one who feels like this is what PK has always wanted in life. Was it tough to try and coach a team mid-way through the season? Yes, but it wasn't like he was trying to find a cure for cancer either. To say that PK didn't know what he was doing, or was unprepared, or didn't want the opportunity is just not right. I think the minute that PK was named as the interim coach started studying film, thought about matchups, and strategy.

I've always thought that a coach is typically a supremely confident individual and if he or she didn't think they could do a job, then they wouldn't be coaching. Thus, I think that PK couldn't have been happier to be the head coach of Texas Tech.

Alright, what about the program in general, what do you like and what don't you like?

As I compare the Texas Tech program to other programs, I think the one thing that stands out is that the talent level just isn't on par with a lot of other Big 12 schools. Fortunately for Texas Tech fans, I think that having a legend coach your team was a difference maker in 4 or 5 contests a year. I think PK recognized this incredibly early and I have a theory about the type of team that PK is trying to construct in terms of talent.

What exactly do you mean, "type of team".

Well, and this assumes that we don't have Tyree Graham due to grades, but with the addition of Nick Okorie and Darko Cohadarevic, PK is looking to infuse immediate talent and offensive scoring to a team that struggled a bit to score last year. PK wants basketball players on the floor, regardless of position. He wants guys who are capable of putting the ball in the basket and he wants guys who are difficult to defend. If, and this is a big IF, if Okorie and Cohadarevic can play immediately, then this gives PK a little breathing room and allows him to put multiple lineups on the floor of basketball players.

I'm just guessing, but I imagine that PK is going to lean a little bit more on Trevor Cook this year, in part because he can score from the outside and he's a pretty good athlete. He can really grow into a Big 12 player. So long as Damir Suljagic can improve his low-post game, he can get 15 minutes a game. Those two guys, along with Cohadarevic will rotate in the post and then you'll see guys like Roberson make an improvement over an inconsistent freshman year, see Voskuil perhaps improve his strength and ball-handling so he can take his man to the basket more often, see Singletary improve his outside game to make him a dual threat, and Roberts also improve his strength so he can burst onto the scene and be that special player he is capable of being.

What do you predict for the 2008-2009 team?

I'm being entirely optimistic, but I can see a much improved offensive team so long as Okorie and Cohadarevic can play. Defensively, this team was pretty good, but offensively, there were too many times that this team struggled to get scoring, which was partly because not every player on the floor was capable of scoring. With Okorie and Cohadarevic on the floor then I think you'll see defenses unable to cheat on certain players, which is something that didn't happen last year.

I'm going to go ahead and predict a NCAA tournament birth, which seems incredibly unrealistic, especially considering Texas Tech lost so much in Martin Zeno, but I like the overall core of talent on this team, not to mention, it is a relatively young and talented group of guys, who saw quite a bit of playing time last year. That's probably a very homeristic view, and I recognize that, but I do think there's quite a bit of potential with this team.