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The Key to Success Next Season: Justin Gray

Justin Gray will be the key to Texas Tech having more success next year than they did this year. Gray's all-around game and experience will drive this team even further.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For more years than I want to admit, I looked forward to the basketball season ending because that meant full focus on baseball, the spring game and getting ready for the fall. This season however has been completely different. I just can’t turn the page from the basketball season.

This past basketball season brought more joy to me than any since I was a student at Texas Tech and Bobby Knight sat on the bench. Add in the hiring of Chris Beard, two big-time scorers committing to play for Coach Beard, and I’m already counting down until the next tip-off.

And when that season tips off, I think Justin Gray will be the biggest key to our success.

I know Zach Smith and Norense Odiase are incredibly important down low. Smith’s consistent scoring presence in the key, break away jams, alley oops and all-around terrific defense may be the most important player on the team, but I think Gray will drive success.

Gray has the shooting ability to put the team on his back from outside, while also scoring down low. He can handle the ball and play terrific perimeter defense. I loved Gray coming off the bench, but when he broke the starting lineup the team took the next step.

When thinking about replacing Toddrick Gotcher’s points from outside, while also looking to replicate Devaugntah Williams’ ability to drive to the hoop, I think Gray can do both.

Now don’t get me wrong, we need Keenan Evans and Aaron Ross and CJ Williamson and Jordan Jackson will play a tremendous role in the success of the Red Raiders’ basketball team next year. But I think Gray, with his experience and leadership, will take the next step as a player and teammate and carry this team to the next step.

*I write this article having already admitted that Justin Gray is my favorite Texas Tech basketball player in the past 10 years