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Player of the week: Zhaire Smith

Keenan Evans was the top scorer, but the supporting cast was stellar

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Texas Tech vs. Florida Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As you may have heard, the Red Raiders advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2005, beating SFA and Florida in the Dallas regional round, respectively by ten and three points.

In both games, senior guard Keenan Evans was the best scorer of the team, with 23 points against the Lumberjacks and 22 against the Gators, but he found a good help in a freshman who’s acting like a senior, and who improves game by game in every aspect of the game.His name’s obviously Zhaire Smith.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Texas Tech vs. Florida Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe excited by the fact of playing near home, the Garland native had two solid games, as he had ten points and eight rebounds against Stephen F. Austin, while he exploded against the Gators, capturing nine rebounds and scoring 18 points, including the spectacular 360 (or 180) alley-oop that transformed the American Airlines Arena in a bigger version of the United Supermarkets Arena.

Zhaire’s performances in the biggest stage of the nation are drawing interest from many analysts, and his name began to appear in some NBA mock drafts. In particular, Tankathon sees him drafted with the 11th overall pick, and many big boards include him among the rising talents.

It is clearly too early to talk about some developments, but in our minds, we could start to think to the odd chance of Zhaire being the first one-and-done player in Texas Tech history.