I know all of the focus has been on the rapidly approaching football season recently (PS - we are only 38 days away from college football season starting), but I wanted to take one look at the basketball team as I think Tubby's plan is finally starting to come together. I believe we should see a marked improvement this season. Last year's team was really young but gain valuable experience as the season went along.
Players lost to graduation: Rob Turner, Clark Lammert & Luke Adams
Players lost to transfer: Alex Foster, Randy Onwuasor
Recap: I don't feel like we lost much at all. Rob Turner and Randy Onwuasor were the only players that logged significant minutes last season. Onwuasor's minutes declined dramatically over the course of the season, so the impact of him leaving is pretty small even though he did play quite a bit in the early part of the season. Turner averaged 24 minutes per game last season, but they weren't productive minutes. He average 1.8 assists and 1.6 turnovers/game. He shot 36% from the field and averaged 8.3 points/game. As I watched last season wind down, I lived for moments when Keenan Evans was in the game, so he could gain valuable experience. He is the point guard of the future and with no hope of post season play towards the end of the season, I wanted him playing as much as possible.
Players added: Jordan Jackson (SG), Devon Thomas (PG), CJ Williamson (SF)
Recap: We recently learned that Shawntrez Davis did not qualify academically to be able to enroll at Tech. That was bad news, as he was a big body who can come in and add size immediately. Devon Thomas will be the only player who comes in and immediately impacts the team. I think between he and Keenan Evans, we will be upgrading at the point guard position. Thomas is a very strong distributor which we need to create easy shots because this team isn't full of dynamic scores. I am not sure Jackson or Williamson can bring a lot of scoring their freshman year. I am hopeful they gain some good experience this season and can add some weight over the next offseason to be able to endure a full college basketball season. Williamson specifically is listed 6'6, 195 pounds, so he needs to add some weight.
Key Players Returning: Toddrick Gotcher, Keenan Evans, Justin Gray, Isaiah Manderson, Norense Odiase, Zach Smith, Devaugntah Williams
Recap: I am excited to see Gray back on the floor. He looked like things were starting to click for him when his knees let him down last season. Hopefully he is fully recovered and ready to go. I am looking for Gotcher to improve his shooting again this offseason. He was noticeably better behind the 3-point line last season and hope he improves upon that. Williams will have to be leaned on as the scorer like he was much of last season. Again, we really need another scoring threat to help Williams out but beyond that we honestly need a few more players who can just consistently put points on the board. I like Odiase and Smith on the inside with Manderson off the bench. I would like to see Smith gain some weight, while I would like to see Odiase and Manderson polish their low post skills.
Outlook: We aren't winning the Big 12 title this season. I do think we can pull off a few big wins and hopefully make it through the non-conference schedule in a much stronger position than we did last season. We entered conference play last season with a 9-3 record with no real wins to speak of and bad losses to Loyola-Chicago and Houston. I think this is team is the building block for Tubby. Similar to the football team, I feel like last season was the bottom of the barrel and we are starting our way back up. My goal for this team this season is the NIT tournament. That means only one or two losses in non-conference and two to three more conference wins. I believe that is very doable.