A lot has changed over the course of this season for the Texas Tech basketball program. Coach Tubby Smith and staff came in and made a lot of drastic changes that created excitement for the men’s basketball team. What do you think is the most significant change within the basketball program that you witnessed happen this season?
Seth - The biggest change is the level of continuity with the program. The program has direction and a purpose. One other thing that I don't think gets enough credit are the assistant coaches. Smith really identified how he wanted his assistants to tackle Texas Tech basketball. You continually see Alvin "Pooh" Williamson talking to Smith during the game. You really get the idea that Williamson is an extension of Smith considering he's a former player for Smith and long-time assistant. Vince Taylor has a history of coaching post players, something that I think this team really needed and you can see how you have the frontcourt and backcourt divided with Taylor and Williamson.
Joe Esposito must be the hardest working guy in the business and Smith rightly identified that he was going to need an assistant that was constantly on the road recruiting. And I mean constantly. Mark Adams gives you ties to every JUCO in the area and then some. Heck, I thought Adams would have been a good choice for a head coach at Texas Tech. There are clearly defined roles for everyone on the staff and they've taken to them. I think I really took for granted how all of this is supposed to work, but it's been so refreshing to see it at work.
LSRR - One word: stability. Coach Smith was able to provide stability for these players and this program for the first time in years. Our guys had someone to look up to, to trust, and someone they could count on. So did our fans and our students. It was a remarkable thing to watch Coach Smith singlehandedly (that's a word, right?) increase home game attendance just by being accessible and making time to visit with students. I am very excited that he is a Red Raider, and I am looking forward to what is in store for us in the upcoming seasons.
DanSwany - I think the biggest change is how much Tubby Smith has raised fan interest in this team, especially student curiosity. I have felt that for many years the basketball team was a forgotten program by many except for a few people that have Tech basketball flowing in their veins. It has been astonishing to see Tubby Smith come in and make the students feel excited to watch home basketball games. The University chipped in and did some fairly large promotions for the games, but it was Tubby Smith that made the first step. When I heard that Coach Smith was going and buying students lunch at the SUB, I immediately gained even more respect for the guy. He really wants the fans and students to get involved with the team. He wants people to take pride and get involved in supporting Red Raiders basketball.
It showed for the better part of Big 12 conference home games when we were breaking student attendance records and selling out games. It is great writing about a team that has grown so much in just one season. It is incredible to see how the fan interest that Tech basketball has produced spill over onto VTM. I love it! I feel sorry for students that had to deal with the Pat Knight and Billy Gillispie era. Basketball enthusiasm may have been dormant for those years, but now it’s back. It’s a damn good feeling.