With the departures of Jordan Tolbert and Dusty Hannahs, I thought it would be good to take a look at the depth chart to get an idea as to where the team is at in terms of the players that recently signed and the players who are actually returning.
The loss of Tolbert hurt more than anything else because of the size and depth to the frontcourt. Without Tolbert, Texas Tech is looking at just five post players that are on scholarship and I think this could be problematic this year. It's part of the reason why I think that Texas Tech is going to have to go to a three-guard offense. I don't think that's necessarily problematic in the Big 12 because a lot of Big 12 teams employ a three-guard offense. Texas Tech was fortunate to have Jaye Crockett play that small forward spot and it certainly helped, but without his presence, Texas Tech is going to have to employ some small ball.
Let's get to the depth chart.
|Depth Chart & Eligibility Remaining|
|1st Team||Robert Turner||SR||6-3/180|
|2nd Team||Randy Onwuasor||SO||6-3/190|
|3rd Team||Keenan Evans||FR||6-3/170|
|4th Team||Luke Adams||SR||5-11/170|
|5th Team||Stan Mays||SO||6-2/185|
|1st Team||Toddrick Gotcher||JR||6-4/200|
|2nd Team||DeVaugntah Williams||JR||6-3/205|
|3rd Team||Justin Gray||FR||6-4/180|
|1st Team||Alex Foster||SO||6-8/225|
|2nd Team||Aaron Ross||SO||6-8/225|
|3rd Team||Zach Smith||FR||6-7/205|
|4th Team||Clark Lammert||SR||6-8/210|
|1st Team||Justin Jamison||SO||6-9/260|
|2nd Team||Norense Odiase||FR||6-9/265|
Turner is going to start the point. I'm pretty sure about that, but to implement a three-guard team, it would make sense that Keenan Evans, a guard that can score and handle the ball, could really help in that regard. It would seem that Onwuasor would be an option, but he's got to figure out how to put the ball in the basket. Onwuasor has the ability to run the offense and play some good defense, but without being able to score, he's somewhat of a liability as this team tries to figure out how they are going to try to score.
Texas Tech will have additional options with Gotcher at the two guard and his improving jumpshot. It's really been a work in progress for him, but he was as good as Hannahs shooting the ball (actually a bit better) and I could envision Turner, Gotcher and Williams getting the nod as the three starting guards. Williams is a scorer and Texas Tech is going to need some scoring punch offensively. I have a feeling that it is going to come from Williams for the most part. With JUCO guys, the one thing that seems translate is the shooting percentage, which is about 44% from the floor, but only 35% from the three-point line. For comparison purposes, Hannahs was only 38% from the floor and 37% from the three-point line. Williams will get to the line more and I'll take him shooting a better percentage inside the arc.
I think that Gray represents the big guard for the long-term that's going to play really well into what Smith wants to do. I keep thinking that Gray's game will be just perfect for that mid-range threat that has the ability to be a stretch guy as well.
It's a tough thing with Aaron Ross being out until January. I don't know to really count on him after his recovery, but that's a of basketball left to play. I have him at 2nd team, but really, I think Foster moves up and this probably means that Foster and Smith are going to play early and often. I love Foster's game because this team needs a guy that works the boards and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Smith can be a defensive presence and may not much help offensively, but as part of the second team, it might not matter all that much. At least not early. From Smiths' junior to senior year, he became much more offensive, but Smith's strengths lie in the fact that he is long and lean and can jump and defend. That's a terrific trait.
At the center spot, you don't have a lot of options here. It is either Jamison or Odiase and personally, I think it will be tough to get Odiase acclimated quickly, but I'd love to be wrong. Jamison though should help immediately and along with Foster, he will be the low post threat along with Foster. There's really no other choice.
This is a big IF, but if Shane Henry commits to Texas Tech, this he’s just about what the doctor ordered. A versatile small forward that can do a lot of good things, lots of good things on defense, although he has a small frame and needs to pack on some weight to his 6’8" frame (he’s only 180). If you can add Henry, this looks a lot better. If Henry commits then Foster moves up and down the lineup, you could go with a big lineup with a point and a shooting guard, then Henry at small forward, Foster at the big forward and Jamison would play the center.