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Texas Tech Basketball | Exclusive Season Preview

Recaps, Preseason Awards, Player Profiles, Game Analysis, Season Predictions, and more!

David Purdy

Recapping the 2013-14 Season

Record: 14-18 (Big 12 6-12)

Points per game: 68.4
Rank: #245

Assists per game: 11.4
Rank: #267

Rebounds per game: 32.9
Rank: #270

3-pt FG %: 31.3%
Rank: #314

Free Throw %: 72.8%
Rank: #72

Steals per game: 6.1
Rank: #166

Blocks per game: 3.7
Rank: #156

Departures: Jaye Crockett, Dejan Kravic, Kader Tapsoba, Jamal Williams, Dusty Hannahs (transfer), Jordan Tolbert (transfer), Patrick Strake

The Coaches

  • Head Coach Tubby Smith - Head Coaching Record of 525-244 (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas Tech)… 17 NCAA Tournament appearances… Won National Championship at Kentucky in 1997-98…. Assistant Coach for the 2000 USA Olympic Team… Played basketball at High Point University under 3 different coaches in 4 seasons... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Assistant Coach Joe Esposito - Head Coaching Record of 118-99 (The Villages Charter Schools, Angelo State University)… Associate Head Coach for Assumption College and Tennessee State University… Director of Basketball Operations for Tubby Smith at Minnesota for 6 seasons... Graduate from Marist College and U.S. Sports Academy... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Assistant Coach Vince Taylor - Assistant Coach for Wyoming, Pittsburgh, and Louisville... Assistant Coach for Tubby Smith at Minnesota for 6 seasons… Worked with Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff for 2 seasons… 1982 Round 2 #34 overall draft pick by the New York Knicks… Played basketball at Duke University... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Assistant Coach Alvin "Pooh" Williamson - Interim Head Coach briefly for University of Tulsa (2004-05 season)… Assistant coach for Washington State, Illinois State, Tulane, Tulsa, Wichita State, Texas A&M, SMU, and TCU… Former player for Tubby Smith at University of Tulsa... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Director of Operations Mark Adams - Head Coaching Record of 448-229 (Clarendon College, Wayland Baptist, West Texas A&M, Texas Pan-American, Howard College)… Won NJCAA National Championship at Howard College in 2010-11… Graduate from Texas Tech… Father of current player Luke Adams... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Assistant Director of Operations Zo Goodson - Special Assistant to Tubby Smith at University of Minnesota for 6 seasons… Special Assistant to Tubby Smith at University of Kentucky (2 seasons)… Student Manager at University of Kentucky for Tubby Smith… Named in Cosmopolitan Magazine as Minnesota’s most eligible bachelor (2008)... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Video Coordinator Saul Smith - Assistant Coach for Tennessee Tech University… Assistant Coach at University of Minnesota for Tubby Smith (6 seasons)… Played for Tubby Smith at University of Kentucky… Son of Coach Smith... 2nd season at Texas Tech

  • Assistant Director of Video Operations Derrick Jasper - 4th straight season as a basketball staff member at Texas Tech… Played 1 season for Tubby Smith at Kentucky… Played 1 season for Billy Gillispie at Kentucky… Played at UNLV for 2 seasons for current Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger

The Players

HT/WT: 6-3/180
LAST YEAR: 9.3 PPG; 2.6 RPG; 2.6 APG; 1.3 SPG
STRENGTHS: Defensive Ability, Quickness, Ball Handling, Slashing/Cutting to the Basket
WEAKNESSES: Inconsistency on Offense
HT/WT: 6-4/200
LAST YEAR: 7.3 PPG; 2.9 RPG; 1.9 APG; 0.7 SPG
STRENGTHS: Leadership, Decision Making, Passing, Finishing at the Rim
WEAKNESSES: Backcourt Ball Handling
HT/WT: 6-6/205
LAST YEAR: 17.5 PPG; 7.5 RPG; 3.2 APG 1.6 SPG; 1.9 BPG (HS)
STRENGTHS: Intelligence, Offensive Ability
WEAKNESSES: Lack of College Basketball Experience
HT/WT: 6-3/200
STRENGTHS: Shooting, 3-point Threat
WEAKNESSES: Lack of D-1 College Basketball Experience
HT/WT: 6-3/190
LAST YEAR: 2.9 PPG; 1.3 RPG; 1.3 APG; 0.6 SPG
STRENGTHS: Speed, Finishing at the Rim
HT/WT: 6-3/175
LAST YEAR: 21 PPG; 6.1 RPG; 6.0 APG (HS)
STRENGTHS: Athletic, Defensive Ability
WEAKNESSES: Lack of College Basketball Experience
HT/WT: 5-9/170
LAST YEAR: 0.3 PPG; 0.3 RPG; 0.6 APG; 0.3 SPG
STRENGTHS: Maturity, Long-range Shooting
HT/WT: 6-2/185
LAST YEAR: 1.1 PPG; 0.1 RPG. 0.1 APG; 0.3 SPG
STRENGTHS: Shooting, Passing
HT/WT: 6-8/225
STRENGTHS: Quick First-step, Finishes in the Paint, Good Blocking-out Technique
WEAKNESSES: Post-up Strength
HT/WT: 6-8/225
STRENGTHS: Shooting, Ball Handling, Stretching the Floor
WEAKNESSES: Conditioning
HT/WT: 6-9/260
LAST YEAR: 10.4 PPG; 6.8 RPG; 1.4 BPG (JUCO)
STRENGTHS: Rebounding, Put-back Scoring (2nd Opportunity Points)
WEAKNESSES: Raw Technique Down-Low at the Post
HT/WT: 6-10/235
STRENGTHS: Height (Length), Uses Both Hands, Excellent Footwork
WEAKNESSES: Undeveloped Post Game
HT/WT: 6-8/210
LAST YEAR: 15.6 PPG; 12.1 RPG; 1.6 APG (HS)
STRENGTHS: Ability to Finish Above the Rim, Versatility
WEAKNESSES: Inexperience at the College Basketball Level
HT/WT: 6-9/265
STRENGTHS: Size (Mass), Strength
WEAKNESSES: Inexperience at the College Basketball Level
HT/WT: 6-8/210
STRENGTHS: Fortitude, Mid-Range Shooting
WEAKNESSES: Frontcourt Strength

*this wonderful table was formatted by Seth C including names and stats

Preseason Awards

  • Team MVP – Toddrick Gotcher
  • Gotcher will have the responsibility fall upon his shoulders to be our leader on and off the court this year. Normally your MVP is the guy that gets the most points, assists, or rebounds per game. But, this preseason we have to give the team MVP to the guy who will step up and be the primary leader of the team. Gotcher has been designated as that player for Tech this season.

  • Best Offensive Player – Justin Gray
  • I’m going out on a limb with this pick. Rumors are that Gray is an all-around scorer that will impress the college basketball world this season. I never pick a frosh for this award, but everyone has high expectations for Gray. Here is what he had to say about the coaches hopes for him when he choose Tech...

    "They pretty much told me I have a great chance of coming in and playing a lot of minutes and providing for the team," Gray said. "They want me to be the guy, the face of the rebuilding stage they are in. They know the things I can do now, and I’ll do that plus more, what they add to me through their program. That’s what I wanted."
  • Best Defensive Player – Rob Turner
  • Turner is capable of being a shutdown guard against his opponent. His defensive skills caught our attention last season, as we discovered he has lightning quick reflexes to defend his man. There is no question who will be our guy to always pick up the assignment of defending the best backcourt player on the other team.

  • Best Shooter – DeVaugntah Williams
  • No more Dusty Hannahs, so Williams gets the respect as best shooter on the team. Here are words of praise straight from Tubby Smith…

    "He's probably as good a pure shooter as we've had. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense if we're capable of making the outside shot as well as putting it on the floor. That's what he can do. He gives us a new dimension. I think he brings the total, more complete package."
  • Best Rebounder – Norense Odiase
  • Odiase is receiving a lot of hype from his new teammates. He supposedly knows how to throw around his 6'-9'' 265 pound frame really well. Most people would say the tallest guy on the team is the likely choice for best rebounder. But, true basketball fans know that usually the widest and heaviest guy on the court is the best at grabbing boards using his weight advantage to block out in the paint.

  • Best Newcomer – Justin Gray
  • If he is the best offensive player on the team, then the award for "Best Newcomer" will also belong to Gray. A note to remember this season is that Gray picked Texas Tech over offers from Stanford and Harvard, which is what definitely qualifies picking him in the preseason for this award.

  • Most Improved Player – Alex Foster
  • With losing all the players in the frontcourt due to exhausted NCAA eligibility and transfer; Foster will be used a lot more than the 7.8 minutes per game he logged in last season. He has great potential to be an offensive threat, and to fight for boards down in the paint. A year under his belt from his freshman year and increased playing time has Foster considered the best candidate for a breakout season.

Top Non-Conference Games

  • Nov. 18th at LSU (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • The game last December in Lubbock against LSU and Tech was a barnburner. LSU beat Tech 71-69 and the contest ended with a misplay causing Rob Turner to fire an off-balance 3-pointer that bricked badly at the buzzer. That same Tigers team went on to make the NIT and finished their season with a loss to SMU in the second round, making their overall record 20-14. Johnny O’Bryant, Anthony Hickey, and Andre Stringer have departed from the team; but Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin return from the starting lineup that beat Tech. Another face that Tech fans will be very familiar with is ex-Tech player Josh Gray. He transferred from Odessa College (JUCO) to LSU and will play this season. The recruiting class was a very good one for LSU, and fans tend to think the new guys will fill the shoes of the players lost from 2013-14 quite nicely. NCAA tourney hopes are the expectations. I think Tech will be challenged in this game, but I don’t think it is unwinnable for our team. Expect a showdown in Baton Rouge.

  • Dec. 3rd vs Auburn (home)
  • Auburn was not a spectacular basketball team last season, finishing with a record that is comparable to Texas Tech. The Tigers went 14-16 (SEC 6-12), but unlike Tech they didn’t pull any top 25 upset victories. All of a sudden Bruce Pearl becomes their coach and they have brought in three transfers Antoine Mason, K.C. Ross-Miller, and Cinmeon Bowers. These three transfers are suspected to be competing for the starting line-up. You add everything up, and put on top of that a key returning guard KT Harrell (18.3 ppg) and Auburn is not the same team as last year. People in Auburn are starting to already talk about a trip to the Big Dance. This will be the Red Raiders first big test of the season at home in Lubbock. It will tell us a lot about our Red Raiders at the outcome of the game. I hope we pack the USA and get to see some fireworks on the court that could keep the momentum up for Tech into the rest of the season.

  • Dec. 10th vs Fresno State (home)
  • The Bulldogs made it into the CBI Tournament last season, and played for the championship. Their closing record was 21-18 at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. They return Marvelle Harris who averaged 14.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg while playing as a swingman (SG/SF). A face that Big 12 fans will recognize is the transfer from Texas, Julien Lewis, who averaged 11.2 ppg as a Longhorn his freshman year. This is a trap game that could catch Texas Tech off-guard if they are not ready to play at full force. Pay extra special attention to the game when Fresno State comes into Lubbock, it might be a close one.

  • Dec. 23rd vs Boise State or Houston (Las Vegas Classic Tournament)
  • I wrote an article on the 2014 Las Vegas Classic Tournament, and here is the preview for December 23rd in the Orleans Arena…

    This will be the first and only real fight that Tech will face in the tourney. My money is on us battling Boise State in the finals. In the Mountain West they finished with a 21-13 overall record, and challenged conference foes such as New Mexico and San Diego State. Our fellow Big 12 conference tournament champion Iowa State only beat BSU 70-66 in the Diamond Head Classic last season. Thankfully for us they lost Ryan Watkins due to exhausted NCAA eligibility, he was a double-double machine that averaged 11.9 ppg and 10.6 rpg. But, watch out for senior Anthony Drmic from Australia who is already on some of the NBA scouts radar. He hasn’t averaged below 12 ppg over three seasons and has the skills to score all over the floor. He is hot and cold, so hopefully the streaky shooter will be off if we play his team. The Broncos are not a stranger to grinding out hard fought contests, and it would be a huge test to see if we could hold off one of the better teams we would face on our non-conference schedule for a win. I think the game would go down to the last minute, and it would definitely be a heartbreaker for one of the teams at the final buzzer.

    The other team we could face is U of H. Houston was not easy to beat last year in Brooklyn, NY when we played the consolation game of the Progressive Legends Classic. But, Tech did come away with the win 76-64 and we killed the Cougars on the boards outrebounding them 46-26. Kelvin Sampson is taking over as the new Houston head coach this season, and it should only be a matter of time before he is up to his cheating ways that got him ousted from Oklahoma and Indiana. If James Dickey was still running the program at Houston, I would be concerned about coming away with a win again. But, with Sampson there this will be a rebuilding year for the Coogs. A week after Sampson was hired his two top scorers TaShawn Thomas and Danuel House instinctively starting seeking to play elsewhere, but were denied transfer and had to go through an appeals process. Thomas has since signed a financial aid agreement with Oklahoma, and House has landed with Texas A&M. I would be very surprised if we ended up playing Houston in this tournament, but if we do meet I think this game would be an easy win for Tech.

Season Prediction

Predicted 2014-15 regular season record: 19-12 (Big 12 8-10)

Many people that are not regular Texas Tech basketball followers have already looked over us for the upcoming season. It should be a surprise to many that Tech will string together a lot of consecutive victories in our non-conference games. The way the non-conference schedule lines out should be very favorable, and Tech should expect to get a lot of individual and team improvements accomplished before Big 12 play starts-up.

If momentum swings in our Red Raiders favor during the non-conference games, this will lead to some gained confidence when Big 12 play begins. That opens the flood gates for a young, athletic, and hungry team like Texas Tech. The new faces need to become quick learners of Tubby Smith’s system and it could end up being a very respectable regular season record in Lubbock. A push in the Big 12 tourney might work wonders for postseason tournament at-large bids (NIT).

Before anyone gets caught up dreaming too far ahead into the future, the team will have to rely on the leadership and consistency from our backcourt. If the guards can get into an early rhythm with Toddrick Gotcher and Robert Turner leading the way, then the frontcourt will have wiggle room to work out the kinks. We are going to see growing pains along the way. There will be a game or two this season that completely gets away from the team (like the Kansas game in Lawrence). But, if we can learn to close out the tight games and get those victories we barley missed out on last season then the growing pains don’t seem to hurt as badly.

With all the fresh faces, expect to witness a more athletic and faster paced style of play out of our Red Raiders this season. Tubby Smith is wanting to get the guys more comfortable under pressure. It is going to fun to watch! Wreck ‘em Tech!