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Season preview: Red Raiders look to build on Elite 8 run

Everything you need to know, from projected starting lineups, rotations, newcomers and expectations for this team is all here.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Basketball Media Day Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 2018-2019 basketball season, one where the expectations are higher than ever, one where the NCAA Tournament is no longer a dream, but an expectation. One where the Big 12 should be on watch for a team that lost a ton of talent, but reloaded with players that will play at the next level.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Villanova vs Texas Tech Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

This Red Raider team is here, and here to stay with Coach Chris Beard signing a huge extension to be this team’s Head Coach for a long time. There were some rumors suggesting his Elite 8 run with last year’s team would be enough to get a bigger job, but Beard has decided to stay in Lubbock, a move I believe will be better for this program and school than people might think.

The Dustin R. Womble Practice Facility is currently in the final design phase before breaking ground sometime in the next year. This team is moving upwards to new heights both on and off the court, as not only are the Red Raiders becoming legitimate contenders on the court, but off the court as well with the development of this facility.

The Red Raiders are looking to take a step up on the court this year with legitimate non-conference games including those against Memphis and annual title contender Duke. This team has four seniors that are going to lead this team to a great season this year. This team also has a major NBA Draft prospect in Jarrett Culver that should be the best player on this team and could be the best player to come through this school in awhile. Now all of the exposition is out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what to look for from this team this season.

Let’s start with the recruiting class that was highly touted coming in the season.

Grad Transfers:

Tariq Owens: 6-10 205lbs, St. Johns

Owens is a transfer from St. Johns University where he dominated on the defensive end where he averaged 2.8 blocks per game and was valuable on the offensive end as he shot 32% from three-point range. I will definitely talk about Owens later on in this preview as he will be a huge contributor for this team.

Matt Mooney: 6-3 200lbs, South Dakota

Mooney was, in my opinion, one the best get by the Red Raiders in the off-season. With amazing scorer Keenan Evans graduating and moving on to the NBA on a two-way contract with the Detroit Pistons, there will be a huge scoring void for the Red Raiders. Mooney will be able to fill that void as his stats at South Dakota are very impressive. He averaged 18.7 points per game last season as he also hit 83% of his free-throws and 35% of his three point shots.

Other transfers:

Deshawn Corprew: 6-5 210lbs Redshirt Sophomore

Corprew was a top 100 recruit in the nation coming out of high school in 2016 and originally committed to play at Texas A&M. He was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and decided to attend junior college at South Plains College. Coach Beard gave him a second chance at playing at the division one level. Coach Beard has had success giving guys second chances as teammate Brandon Francis was given a second chance by Coach Beard as well.

Freshman:

Kyler Edwards: 6-3, 200 lbs

Edwards will be looking to make an immediate impact off the bench with his outside shooting. Coming out of Findlay Prep in Nevada, Edwards was a consistent player as he averaged 16 points per game as a junior.

Khavon Moore: 6-7, 215 lbs

Moore was arguably the best recruit to ever sign with the Red Raiders. Moore is my dark horse to start games later in the season for the Red Raiders. His 6-7 frame will be crucial for his development on the defensive end of the floor as he will be used as a versatile guard and forward.

Josh Mballa: 6-7, 215 lbs

I believe Mballa might redshirt this season, his body is college ready, but he is a little raw, especially on the offensive end. He might get some minutes in the early non-conference games, but expect Mballa to sit out the conference season this year.

Projected Depth Chart:

Texas Tech Projected Depth Chart

Depth Chart 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
Depth Chart 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
Center Norense Odiase Malik Ondigo
Forward Tariq Owens Deshawn Corprew Josh Mballa
Forward Jarrett Culver Khavon Moore Parker Hicks
Guard Matt Mooney Brandone Francis Avery Benson
Guard Davide Moretti Kyler Edwards Andrew Sorrells

This team is deeper than last year. Those are probably fighting words to some of you, but the bench this year is stacked with young talent. This team will be looking to everyone to score some points in each game. There will be tons of scoring coming off the bench this year with guys such as Kyler Edwards, Khavon Moore, and senior sixth-man Brandone Francis all needing to make big contributions coming off the bench.

The deeper you look at this team, the more you realize this team’s defense could actually get better this year with the addition of big-man shot blocker Tariq Owens and returners Norense Odiase and Jarrett Culver, guys who could all be on the Big 12 All-Defensive team at the end of the season.

Offensively, this team has a ton of great scorers, some we have already talked about. Davide Moretti is a name I have in mind as being someone who surprises us all with his ability on the offensive end. We also got the benefit of watching Moretti a bit this summer in the FIBA European Under 20 Championship tournament this summer. He looked better on the defensive end along with being a bit more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor, attacking the basket and not settling for as many outside shots. With his ability at the free throw line, Moretti attacking the basket just might be what this team needs from him this season.

We need not forget newcomer Matt Mooney as well, who will surprise some people this season with his scoring ability. He played for South Dakota the past two seasons and lit up the competition, including 32 performances of 20 points or more. Mooney will add another outside threat to this team, something that will make Tech a huge threat with 4 of potential starters on this team being able to shoot the outside shot.

Minute Distribution:

Minute Distribution

Overall Minute Distribution Center Power Forward Small Forward Shooting Guard Point Guard Total
Overall Minute Distribution Center Power Forward Small Forward Shooting Guard Point Guard Total
Norense Odiase 15 0 0 0 0 15
Tariq Owens 10 15 0 0 0 25
Jarrett Culver 0 5 20 5 0 30
Matt Mooney 0 0 0 25 5 30
Davide Moretti 0 0 0 0 25 25
Brandone Francis 0 5 5 10 0 20
Malik Odingo 15 0 0 0 0 15
Khavon Moore 0 5 10 0 0 15
Deshawn Corprew 0 10 5 0 0 15
Kyler Edwards 0 0 0 5 10 15

Center:

The center position is quickly becoming nothing in the game of basketball, but it is so crucial to the defensive scheme for the Red Raiders. Odiase will most likely get the start at center, but will not receive many more minutes than he did last season. Malik Ondigo looks ready to step into the backup center role for the team and will get the same amount of minutes as Odiase. Owens will most likely start at power forward but will move to center when the team wants a smaller lineup on the floor.

Power Forward:

The power forward spot will be played by four or maybe even five different guys. Owens will get the start at power forward, but might step up to play some of the center minutes as well. Corprew and Moore who are both looking more like small forwards, will have to play some minutes at the power forward, guarding bigger guys. Culver will only play here when really small lineups get introduced.

Small Forward:

Culver has this position on lock for now as he will get most of his minutes here at the small forward position. Khavon Moore will also get some work here as his 6’8 frame will be used at multiple spots. There is tons of versatility on this team, that starts with senior Brandone Francis playing at least three different positions.

Shooting guard:

Mooney’s shooting ability is perfect for this spot. Jarrett Culver locked it down well last season, but with there being a need at small forward, I see Culver playing there a lot more than I see him playing at the shooting guard spot. Look for walk-on junior Andrew Sorrells to also get a few minutes here and there at shooting guard as well.

Point Guard:

This position will be dominated by the sophomore point guard out of Italy. Moretti has grown leaps and bounds since coming over from Europe last year. Freshman Kyler Edwards will also play here, his shooting will help spread defenses out as he also will look to make an impact on this team in the early part of the season. Don’t be surprised if Jarrett Culver takes over the point guard position at some points in the game allowing both Mooney and Moretti play more off the ball for some catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Expectations:

This team will be good this year. I do not know if they will go as far as they did last season, but I would definitely put this team in the NCAA tournament with their depth and the fact that the Red Raiders have another star player in Jarrett Culver. The Big 12 will be loaded again, with AP No. 1 Kansas being the reigning champion for however long it is now. The coaches picked the Red Raiders to finish 7th in the Big 12 again this year. Let them think this team won’t be good again this year, because Coach Beard has something great in this program. We replaced a good rim protector in Zhaire Smith with a proven rim protector, we replaced Keenan Evans with Jarrett Culver, a man who Coach Beard says could be the best player to have played at Tech ever. This team may have lost some key pieces, but this team has also recruited two of the best in the country in Kyler Edwards and Khavon Moore to help get minutes off the bench. And let’s not forget a former Top 100 player in the country, Deshawn Corprew who might end up starting for the Red Raiders this season. This team may have lost a lot, but this program reloaded and is looking towards this season, as am I.

Poll

How far will the 2018-2019 Red Raider go?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    No Tournament Appearance
    (1 vote)
  • 37%
    Round of 64 or Round of 32
    (37 votes)
  • 47%
    Sweet 16 or Elite 8
    (47 votes)
  • 10%
    Final Four
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    National Championship
    (3 votes)
98 votes total Vote Now