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The Red Raider basketball team looks to get off to a hot start

Angelo State; an exhibition preview.

Big 12 Basketball Tournament - First Round Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Red Raiders will open up their season next Wednesday against the Angelo State Rams. The Red Raiders will face what is surely the easiest match of the season, with the Rams of Angelo State not only being a Division II team but losing the vast majority of their team from last year. Look for some of the Red Raider newcomers to get much needed experience against some actual opponents, so the large stat lines may not come from headline players such as Zach Smith, Justin Gray, and Keenan Evans. While we are sure to see these players play and (hopefully) play well, the vast majority of minutes are going to the backups and freshman.

The Red Raiders will look to run their offense methodically and get good shots. In my mind, the backup point guard job is still up for grabs so look for highly touted transfers Josh Webster, Hyron Edwards, athletic freshman Zhaire Smith, and even sharpshooter Davide Moretti to get reps running the offense. Although this game is not one that will probably mean much in the win column, it will help Chris Beard and staff shape the rotation for when non-conference starts.

Now, let’s look at the Angelo State Rams, the Red Raider’s first opponent.

Honestly, there’s not much stat wise on this year’s team. The vast majority of last year’s team has moved on or graduated. Much of this year’s team are transfers from Division I and Junior Colleges. Their coach, Cinco Boone (awesome name by the way), is someone that Coach Beard knows well as he was the associate head coach while Beard was at Angelo State from 2013-2015.

Some decent names on this roster starting with someone that Red Raider fans might be familiar with in junior guard Ja’Micheal Brown. Brown was the main backup point guard last year for the North Texas Mean Green when the Red Raiders defeated the Mean Green 70-43 behind a Zach Smith double-double. Brown played 29 minutes in the loss and had 5 points, 2 boards, 1 assist and 4 fouls, look for him to help run the point guard position for the Rams this season. The next player that intrigues me is 6’11 Brandon Williams. Williams played at the University of Texas Arlington from 2013-2015, and was then red-shirted during the 2016-2017 season before transferring to Angelo State this year. Look for Williams to get lots of time in the frontcourt playing center and power forward. Another player to look for is Washington State transfer Damien Gray, although Gray did not play much for the Cougars in his time there, he was at one point ranked as the number two junior college player in the state if California.

Overall, the Red Raiders should have no trouble with the Angelo State Rams. As a team, the Red Raiders have the Rams outmatched in every way including size, speed, experience, and athleticism just to name a few. Backups for the Red Raiders will get most of the time in this game. Look for raw prospects such as Jarrett Culver, Zhaire Smith and Italian superstar Davide Moretti to put up good stat lines against this transfer-laden Division II team. Prediction: TTU 95 ASU 40