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Beyond the arc: Wooden Award, Larry Eustachy, Lady Raiders

News and notes from around the hardwood

Wooden Award Late Season List

The Big 12 placed a conference leading five players on the Wendy’s late season Top 20 list for the Wooden Award. The players are Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Trae Young (Oklahoma), Mohamed Bamba (Texas), Keenan Evans (Texas Tech), and Jevon Carter (West Virginia).

The national ballot for the award will consist of 15 top players and will be announced in early March. Voting will begin at the end of the season and voters will take into account the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Voters for the award consists of 1,000 members of the national college basketball media.

Larry Eustachy troubles.....again

It appears the on again-off again love affair between Larry Eustachy and Colorado State is about to be over. Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker announced last Saturday the coach has been placed on administrative leave. Associate head coach Steve Barnes will take over in Eustachy’s absence.

Eustachy was investigated by the school in 2014 over allegations of verbal and emotional abuse. At the time, then athletic director Jack Graham recommended the work relationship come to an end. Instead, the coach kept his job and was given a contract extension in 2016 which keeps him at the school until 2020-21. The contract extension will pay him $1 million beginning next season. If he keeps his job.

I love when these things pop up with coaches. Colorado State is 121-74 since his arrival in Fort Collins in 2012. However, the Rams are 10-16 this season and current owners of a seven game losing streak and Eustachy has mysteriously returned to his old ways?

When discussing the situation, Parker said “I have asked head coach Larry Eustachy to temporarily step away from the men’s basketball program, as he has been placed on administrative leave while we conclude our climate assessment,” Maybe the climate being assessed is the avalanche sized mistake they made with the contract extension. They have to blame someone.

Big 12 POW

Keenan Evans was named Big 12 Player of the Week and Oklahoma State’s Kendall Smith was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for week 13.

Evans averaged 27.5 points, 4.5 assists, and four rebounds to help lead Tech to the league’s only 2-0 record over last week. Evans hit the game winning shot in overtime to beat Texas and also scored a career-high 38 points against the Longhorns. It’s Evans fourth time to win this award.

Smith, a 6’3 graduate transfer guard, scored a game-high 24 points with five rebounds and five assists in the Cowboys upset win over No. 7 Kansas. He averaged 18.5 points on 60 percent shooting for the week.

Oklahoma captured the Big 12 superlatives for women’s basketball this week as Vionise Pierre-Louis was named Player of the Week and Ana Llanusa was named Freshman of the Week.

Pierre-Louis, a 6’4 senior center, averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks in wins over Kansas State and No. 21 West Virginia. She recorded a season-high five blocks in the win against the Mountaineers. This is the second time for her to win the weekly honor.

Llanusa, a 6’0 freshman guard, averaged 19 points, six rebounds, and 2.5 assists over the last week. She scored a Big 12 freshman season-high 27 points in the win over the Mountaineers. This is also the second time for Llanusa to win this weekly honor. Llanusa was also named the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association National Freshman of the Week.

Lady Raiders

Texas Tech Lady Raiders (7-16, 1-11) had another tough week. The Lady Raiders dropped a game last Saturday against No. 3 Baylor, 44-90 and followed that up with a 69-83 loss on Wednesday at Kansas State.

Jada Terry led Tech in scoring against Baylor with 10 and Zuri Sanders led the way with nine rebounds. Brittany Brewer led the way in points and rebounds against Kansas State with 24 and 13 respectively. Brewer’s performance against Kansas State also represented season highs in minutes (32), field goals made/attempted (11/19), and rebounds (13). Her 24 points was one point shy of her season high of 25 against UMass-Lowell.

The loss against Baylor was the seventh loss this season by 30 or more points. The lackluster performance against Baylor was also “highlighted” by tying the season low in field goal shooting of 27 percent and demolishing the season low in free throw shooting at 25 percent.

Tech returns to action Saturday when they host West Virginia. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the United Supermarkets Arena.

Lady Raiders part 2

The performance against Baylor resulted in a shakeup of minutes against Kansas State as coach Shimmy Gray-Miller struggles to find a group to finish out the season. The loss against Baylor was not only the seventh of the season by 30 or more points but 14 of the 16 losses have been by more than 10 points. That’s the sign of a team which get’s frustrated and gives up during games.

When Tech decided to part ways with Candy Whitaker on January 1, they named Gray-Miller interim coach and it was pretty obvious the search for a new coach would take a back seat to other, more important, athletic department tasks at hand. Well, it’s now five weeks later and some of the tasks are complete.

Last week, Raiderland’s Ryan Hyatt took a thorough look at some of the possible candidates for the new Lady Raiders coach. Ryan is old school, like me, and fondly remembers the glory days of Lady Raiders basketball.

Hyatt writes, “there will be great interest in the job. Texas Tech is in a great women’s basketball conference, pays well, and has proven that you can win in Lubbock with the right mix, chemistry, and mindset.” I would add, Tech is also in a great region of Texas for outstanding girls high school basketball which should make recruiting even easier.

Hyatt outlines “The Definitive, Texas Tech Lady Raider Basketball Coaching Search Target List”, from his perspective of course. My choice is, and has been since January 1, Krista Gerlich. Krista was, and is, west Texas girls basketball and she would be a great choice to return her Lady Raiders to prominence. Ryan has some other great names on there as well. It should be a tough choice.