In the weeks following an unexpected departure from Tubby Smith, we have allowed the dust to settle a bit and look clearer at the landscape of Texas Tech basketball. There were questions of loyalty thrown around from all parties involved, and I'm sure UNLV is still unsure how to take the almost equally sudden departure of Chris Beard. There was questions about how the Red Raiders were going to hold up after being left by Tubby, but the question that we had never asked ourselves was this: What if Tubby Smith leaving was a blessing in disguise? Now, hear me out on this one because as radical as it sounds, it does have some logic.
Chris Beard was an assistant for over ten years at Texas Tech. He wants to be here in Lubbock. You couldn't say the same for Tubby Smith. I'm sure he enjoyed living in west Texas, but how many of us were betting that this would be his final stop? That difference already raises the credibility Beard has amassed through his 171-50 record, and his impressive campaign at Arkansas-Little Rock where he took that team to 30-5 overall season, a seed in the NCAA tournament, and a miraculous comeback win against Purdue in the tournament. Why does him wanting to be in Lubbock raise his credibility? He genuinely cares about this team. He has so many connections to this school and city that with that much investment in one thing, you'll want to see it flourish. He will see an already impressive, young roster flourish even more than it did last year. The maturity of the team increased so much last season that it's promising to see the results we'll get this upcoming season.
The legitimate love for the school will project onto the fan-base and the students, which will increase excitement around the south plains. It was natural for everyone to become worried about the direction the program would head after Tubby left, but it's safe to say that this team will not skip a beat and hopefully build upon the impressive season that they just posted. I fully believe that Chris Beard was put here at the right time, and obviously the right place. He'll be able to develop a young, and potent offense with talents like Justin Gray and Aaron Ross. He'll be able to reboot our defense with players like Norense Odiase and Zach Smith. The talent is there and the promise is there.
We won't be competing with Kansas for a Big 12 title next season, but I also don't think we'll be a bottom-feeder anymore. If we're going to have a breakout year, it's going to be underneath Chris Beard. He has the right tools and he has the passion to see Texas Tech flourish. Tubby leaving for another school is rough, it's like being lied too, but what if Chris Beard was always meant to take us higher than anyone else could?