Texas Tech's basketball program has been in desperate need of a guy who can get the crowd into the game with an incredible play or two. In Zach Smith, they have all that and more. Smith's earth-shaking dunks have been the adrenaline needle into the thigh of this basketball squad all season, and it shows no sign of stopping.
A shot clanks off the rim. We sigh. All of a sudden, #11 jumps higher than everyone else on the court, grabs the rock, and puts it right back where it belongs. We all go crazy. Zach Smith has improved his game this season, but make no mistake: his biggest contribution to this team is his ability to get everyone in the arena going crazy or dead silent.
Smith is more terrifying than his calm, fun-loving, joking self appears. He has one of the rarest things in sports: the ability to dang near incite riots in the stands at any given moment. Texas Tech Men's Basketball is very improved this season. We can definitely point to many things for this improvement: the emergence of Justin Gray and Aaron Ross, the coaching of Tubby Smith, and the leadership of Toddrick Gotcher. However, no one has more of a visible impact than Zach Smith has had so far.
In the video from Tech Athletics, Gray says it best: "People are going crazy for something he does every day". And that's the part of Zach Smith that ignites the passion of the Red Raiders and the grudging respect of opponents. It's his freak athleticism. It's his sky-high potential. It's the star power. Zach is still a sophomore. He has so much more room to grow, that when his senior season rolls around there's going to be hell to pay for the Big XII.
In a roundabout way, Smith symbolizes this Tech team. He's potential. The potential to do any given thing at any given time. It's the reason why games at the USA have been more than likely circled by opposing coaches as "trap games" for months. Iowa State has Hilton Magic, Kansas rarely loses at the Phog, but none of these compare to the way the Red Raiders and the fans unite for a Bermuda Triangle of basketball when we play at home.
Texas Tech is an incredibly young team in debatably the best basketball conference in the NCAA. Despite the losses, players like Zach Smith should make any Red Raider fan excited for what the future holds.