|Jamal Williams, Jr.||SR||6-4/190||Shooting Guard|
|Robert Turner||JR||6-1/175||Point Guard|
|Luke Adams||JR||5-9/170||Point Guard|
|Toddrick Gotcher||SO||6-4/195||Shooting Guard|
|Dusty Hannahs||SO||6-4/210||Shooting Guard|
|Cory Scott||FR||6-2/---||Combo Guard|
|Randy Onwuasor||FR||6-3/190||Combo Guard|
*credit to Seth for making the charts
Senior | A look at the guards does one thing; it makes you realize how young and inexperienced our backcourt really is this season. Our lone senior guard on the squad, Jamal Williams, has played D-1 basketball for only one full season. He did average 20 minutes per contest last year and played with confidence along with showing team leadership skills. I think we can expect him to get a lot of minutes out on the court. You hear the term in college basketball “glue guy”, and I would give this honor to Williams. A glue guy doesn’t get the recognition or praise that the stars on the team seem to attract from media or fans. A glue guy makes his teammates and the overall team better when he is on the court. Williams’s loss due to exhausting his eligibility at the end of this season in the backcourt at shooting guard and in the frontcourt at the small forward/wing position will be tough to replace. During our recruiting over this next year we need to be looking for another glue guy like Williams that can play at the 2 and 3 position.
Juniors | Next on the list with only 2 seasons of NCAA eligibility remaining is junior Robert Turner. This is Turner’s first year of D-1 college basketball coming from New Mexico JC … similar to Jamal Williams coming from a JUCO last year. It has been speculated by many that Turner will get the majority of time at point guard. He was Tubby Smith’s first recruiting commitment to the Tech basketball program. Coach Smith said he is a pass-first type of player and a tenacious defender. Without Josh Gray or Daylen Robinson to help run our team as the floor general, I have to think Turner will get the nod at the 1-position as starter. It’s his spot to lose to one of the younger guys. If Turner doesn’t have a great display at the PG position this season then it might be time for the coaching staff to start recruiting hard for another JUCO point guard.
Luke Adams has 3 seasons of eligibility if he for some reason burns a redshirt. All Tech fans respect the fact that Adams has been sporting a Tech uniform for a while now going into his 3rd season on the team, but Adams hasn’t been able to shake the unfortunate stigma of being labeled as a walk-on. He played a generous amount of minutes during his freshman campaign with Billy Gillispie running the show, but last season with interim head coach Chris Walker he saw a minimal amount of time out on the court. Adams still being classified as a walk-on his junior year along with the lack of in-game action last season translates to thinking he is not an experienced D-1 junior guard Tech wants heading up at the point. I always find myself apologizing for Adams, because I really like the guy and wish that he could turn into a spectacular Big 12 PG. He busts his ass on the floor when he gets minutes in games. I just hate to say that I don’t think if we are going to have a chance to be competitive this season during conference play that we should give Adams many minutes. Unless it is to use his deep-threat three point shooting ability on offense to our advantage. As a walk-on we don’t get a scholarship to open up when he leaves the team.
Sophomores | Our two sophomore guards, Toddrick Gotcher and Dusty Hannahs, are experienced backcourt players. Gotcher averaged 30 minutes of playing time for 9 games during his true freshman year before getting injured. The NCAA declared his injured freshman season as a medical redshirt. He played in every game last season as a redshirt freshman averaging a playing time of 13 minutes per game. His stats are not impressive, but he gets my stamp of approval for his vocal leadership and display of passion for the game while out on the court. I want you to watch during the games when a player drains a tray from way downtown, hits a nice dribble-drive lay-up, or has a sweet cross-over pass to an open teammate. Gotcher is the guy that is yelling words of encouragement to these playmakers to get pumped up. I expect him to do well this season. This third year for him to play in a Tech jersey should mean more minutes at SG.
Dusty Hannahs during his freshman debut saw action in every game last season too. He broke into the starting line-up at SG in the middle of the season and ended up averaging 22 minutes per game. Hannahs is the only other guy besides Jamal Williams in the backcourt that is coming off significant playing time in the Big 12 last season. Like Gotcher, his stats aren’t impressive to scroll over. The impressive thing about Hannahs is that he showed improvement last year as the season went along. We all know he has a wicked shot from the three-point line, but the frustrating thing is that it was a problem for him to get open. Tubby Smith and his flex offense should open up a lot of opportunities for Hannahs to shoot. The only reason to hold Hannahs from getting more playing time will be if he doesn’t work on being a step quicker on his defense, or learn how to free himself for shots in the new offense.
On the recruiting front, Gotcher has 3 more seasons to play and Hannahs has 4 if he burns a redshirt. I would not think the staff would be looking to the JUCO ranks for a shooting guard unless they could rope in an excellent player who shows interest in Tech. I would think they would bring in another shooting guard that has skill and talent from high school that could develop over time to maybe push Hannahs and Gotcher for playing time.
Freshmen | Our frosh this year are Cory Scott and Randy Onwuasor. Scott is the dual sport high school star high-jumper/basketball player. Scott was granted a release from his LOI to Stephen F. Austin and came to sign with Coach Smith and Tech this summer. Onwuasor is from Inglewood, CA and he’s the one who was really appreciative that Coach Smith drove him to the airport at 4am on his Tech visit because he hadn’t ever had any other head coach do that for him. My feelings on Scott and Onwuasor; and on most incoming college basketball freshmen are the same. Unless you are a McDonald’s All American, or other highly recruited basketball talent out of high school then you are going to be in for a rough time your freshman year. This is even truer at the guard position. I actually give most freshmen a clean slate and don’t expect much from them during their first year, except blue-chip recruits. I measure how good they are on how much they grow and develop basketball skillwise over the season. The great thing about Scott and Onwuasor as guards is they have size at 6’2’’ & 6’3’’, respectively. I think they both will get a chance to prove themselves at the PG or SG position, whichever needs the most help. We won’t know what we’ve got in these two (or if we might need to recruit at their position) until the season is over. I’m hoping that they both surprise the heck out of all of us.