Thank you to everyone who sent me suggestions for this week’s article. The VTM readers sent me many great options for this week; Bubba, Sheryl Swoopes, Donny Anderson, and Tech joining the Southwest Conference amongst them. For this week’s article it came down to the three above mentioned choices and Bubba. To help make my decision, I consulted another proud Red Raider, my mom. She went with Bubba. In order to score some early brownie points for Christmas, I decided to go with her choice.
Hailing from Clovis, NM, Bubba Jennings was a stud basketball player. How do these credentials work for you? All-State team, New Mexico Player of the Year, and he set a state record for most points scored in a game, 75. Coach Gerald Myers won the recruiting battle for Bubba’s talents and he enrolled at Texas Tech in 1980.
Bubba had an immediate impact on the court. Starting at point guard as a true freshman he averaged almost 11 points per game on a team that ended up 15-13. The following season, he broke his foot and redshirted as a sophomore. His return for his second and third playing seasons brought better play and statistics. Just as Bubba was improving his game during those two seasons, the Texas Tech basketball program was improving. The fruits of those improvements were realized in the 1984-1985 season. Led by Bubba’s 19.5 points per game, the Red Raiders won both the Southwest Conference regular season and tournament championships, and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade. Individually, Jennings’ year was even better. He was named Southwest Conference Athlete (all sports), Player (basketball), and Defensive Player of the Year (basketball). Nationally, he got his due as well. He was named an honorable mention all-American and won a major award, the Francis Pomerey Naismith Award. That award is given to the top player in the country who is shorter than 6 feet tall.
Upon graduating from Tech, he was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, but never played in the NBA. Instead he went the coaching route and joined Gerald Myers coaching staff at Tech. From there he became a highly successful high school basketball coach, winning two state championships in New Mexico. His Texas Tech career was not over just yet. He rejoined Texas Tech basketball under Bob Knight as a video operations manager, and in 2008 was hired on as a full-time assistant coach. He held that position through the 2013 season.
Next week will be the final entry in this series. It will be a football related event. Any guesses on what it may be??? GUNS UP