Season Ends: Since last buzzer sounded against Mississippi in the NIT, I've pretty much ignored the basketball team. I've written a bit here and there regarding the basketball team but for the most part, I've been a little down because PK didn't or has not yet signed a big man other than PF Paul Cooper. I'm more than likely going to write a much more comprehensive series of articles about the direction of the program so this morning I'm really only going to scratch the surface.
Wanted - Another Big Man: I mentioned above that the only post player that Pat Knight signed, which was in November of 2009. There's been talk/rumors that SF/PF Corbin Ray may not be able to play again due to concussions suffered during practices. You hate to see a player's career end because of concussions, but in terms of the program itself, it's absolutely awful as Ray was a sizable post player that could at least move some players around and was a fairly big body that would fight for rebounds.
There were only supposed to be three scholarships available this year, which is why Knight signed Cooper, Jamel Outler and Javarez Willis (more on Willis later). Having what I think was an extra scholarship available because of the Ray injury, Knight went after Findlay Prep's (Las Vegas, NV) Godwin Okonji, but Okonji ultimately chose Loyola-Marymount. This leaves PK with Cooper as the only option available. Cooper apparently battled injuries all of last year, which led to Cooper having less than stellar statistics. Cooper averaged 5.67 points, 4.14 rebounds and 1.03 blocks per game shooting the ball at a rate of 35.92% from the field.
Cooper's sophomore season, coupled with Ray's supposed injury, apparently led PK to look elsewhere for another big man and I can't blame him. The problem of course is that at this time, the few quality big men remaining are few and far between. I can envision a situation where PK said that he would go after Okonji and if that didn't work out, he'd figure something else out.
I'm not sure what happens here, except that I wish there was another option. I know I've been rough on Cooper and he was injured, but those are really rough numbers to stomach and other than D'Walyn Roberts, Robert Lewandowski and Jaye Crockett, there aren't many post options available.
Willis Soars Up Rankings: Earlier last month, news was released that PG Javarez Willis is rated the 74th best player coming out of the 2010 basketball class. That's pretty special. And as to the thought that Willis is soaring up the player rankings, I don't think that Willis was even close to be a top 150 player after high school, but his year at prep school must have done wonders for his overall game. You'll note the blurb about Wills is that he's an "exceptional shooter". This morning, I ran across a mailbag with Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer, the recruiting expert, and he was asked what player would make an immediate impact this year:
Q. What about two or three "sleeper" recruits you think can make an impact as freshmen?
A. Look out for Javarez Willis, who will be at Texas Tech next year. Wills, a 5-10 guard from Humble (Texas) Christian Life Center, just might be the best shooter coming into college basketball next season. In Pat Knight's motion offense at Tech, Willis could be lethal coming off all those screens.
That's good news. This team needs better shooters and if Willis is one of the best shooters in the entire class, I think this bodes well for the Red Raiders.
Overall Rankings: The Rivals.com conference rankings were released and the Red Raiders were given the 10th best recruiting class. The thing that scares me to no end is that a majority of the teams at the top are recruiting highly ranked big men. There's no question that it's tough to compete on a national level when the post players aren't as gifted athletically.
Possible Transfer: LAJ's Courtney Linehan wrote last month that the Red Raiders could use that last scholarship on a possible transfer from Utah, PG Marshall Henderson (6-2/175). The main page at RRS.com keeps talking about a possible transfer and I'd imagine that this is it. Henderson averaged 11.8 points, 2.5 boards and 0.8 assists a game as a true freshman.
There's two schools of thought here. First, if PK uses his extra scholarship on Henderson, then you obviously won't have a spot for any sort of post player. That would be tough for the team next year, and Henderson would take up a scholarship for all of next year. The other part of this equation is that anytime that as a coach you have the opportunity to take in talent, you jump on the opportunity. After this year, PK will graduate five seniors (Roberson, Singletary, Tairu, Reese and Jenkins) and the current playing time impasse will be free for a ton of players to see playing time.