The Red Raiders are headed to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2005 and while I would love to have a take about how far the Red Raiders will go in the tournament, I refuse to do or say anything that the universe could interpret as a jinx.
Instead let’s talk about the future, because at some point (hopefully April 3rd) the season will come to an end and it will be time to focus on the next chapter.
So what is next for Red Raider basketball?
While typically I try to stick with one take (it’s in the title) Red Raider fans will have a lot of questions come April and therefore I’ll take this as an opportunity to tackle multiple takes at once.
Take #1: Chris Beard is here to stay.
Tech fans are a little gun shy when it comes to the longevity of coaches (football and basketball) and for good reason. We’ve had one coach sneak out the bathroom window at a recruiting dinner, another blow off a doner meeting. One had health problems coincidently at the same time that allegations of player mistreatment surfaced, and the rest were fired. Even Red Raider football’s favorite pirate spent off-season after off-season actively trying to find another job.
Chris Beard recently signed a brand new six year contract worth $19,050,000. The new contract locks Beard in until 2024. As fans should no by now, there is no guarantee and if a top tier program wants Beard, they will find a way to pay him.
I truly believe this isn’t about the money with Beard and Lubbock is where the coach wants to be. The biggest concern would be if Texas came calling as Beard is an alumni, but I don’t think the Longhorns are willing to pay that large of a buyout plus a salary for a “basketball” coach. I also like to think that Beards nine years in Lubbock as an assistant coach to Bob Knight left a deeper impression than his four years in Austin as a student.
If another program does come calling at some point, as long as Tech makes a reasonable effort to counter, I see Beard sticking with us for a long time.
Take #2: Zhaire Smith will be the first ever one and done player from Texas Tech.
As much as I would love to see Smith stay three more years, I think he will (and should) declare for the NBA draft after the season ends. More than one publication has had Smith going in the first round and the further and further Tech goes in the tournament, the more and more NBA scouts will take notice.
I wouldn’t worry too much though as Jerrett Culver will definitely be returning along with a senior class that includes Brandone Francis and Norense Odiase. There’s also a fantastic recruiting class coming next year as well. Even if Smith declares the Red Raiders should still have the talent and leadership to make another tournament run in 2019.
What’s your take?
Will Zhaire Smith return in 2018-19?
This poll is closed