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How does Tariq Owens fit into Texas Tech’s system?

Owens is a potential graduate transfer from St. Johns.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Butler Thomas -USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 2017-2018 season is over, Coach Beard and staff are hitting the recruiting trail looking for one or maybe even two more recruits that can make next year’s team whole. Tariq Owens is a highly touted graduate transfer that hails from St. John’s University. Owens is a 6’11 205 pound center that can stretch the floor as well as he hit 12 three-pointers this year and shot 50% overall.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Owens is an extremely lanky recruit that was a 4-star top-100 recruit coming out of high school in 2014. He originally committed to Tennessee and played there one year before transferring after the coach there was fired. He was coach Chris Mullen’s first commitment at St. Johns and sat out a year before carving out a role off the bench in 2016-2017. This past year, he became a featured player in the Red Storm’s offense as he averaged 30 minutes a game. He averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 32 games. The most impressive stat is that Owens averages 2.8 blocks per game. He is a true defensive presence in the post. Owens will be on an official visit to Texas Tech this weekend.

At 205 lbs, Owens is not the bulkier type of center that Texas Tech has played with the past few years with Norense Odiase, Tommy Hamilton IV, and even Matt Temple and Anthony Livingston. Owens plays above the rim and with his size, he can really be the anchor on this defense that will be missing with the departure of Zach and Zhaire Smith. Strength and Conditioning coach John Reilly will most likely be looking to add a tad bit more weight to Owens to increase his athleticism that will help him play inside.

The real question is where Owens fits into the rotation. I see him as a potential starter but I am not sure Coach Beard will want to put both him and Odiase on the court at the same time. Here is a look at my starting lineup if both Odiase and Owens were to start.

Starting Lineup

Davide Moretti Jarrett Culver Khavon Moore Tariq Owens Norense Odiase
Davide Moretti Jarrett Culver Khavon Moore Tariq Owens Norense Odiase
6'3" 165 lbs. 6'5" 190 lbs. 6'8" 185 lbs. 6'11" 205 lbs. 6'9" 245 lbs.
Sophomore Sophomore Freshman Senior Senior

This lineup involves a ton of length and some great shooting as Moretti has become an amazing shooter and overall offensive player. This lineup is honestly unlikely as both centers on the floor at the same time is unlikely. A more likely lineup involves either Owens or Odiase and either South Plains College transfer Deshawn Corpew or Brandone Francis starting at the small forward spot. This is the two-deep lineup going with Owens. I see Odiase as a 6th man like he was at the beginning of the season. Whether or not Odiase starts, I see Owens taking up most of the minutes anyway.

Two-Deep Lineup

Davide Moretti Jarrett Culver Deshawn Corpew Khavon Moore Tariq Owens
Davide Moretti Jarrett Culver Deshawn Corpew Khavon Moore Tariq Owens
6'3" Sophomore 6'5" Sophomore 6'6" Junior 6'8" Freshman 6'11" Senior
C.J. Roberts Kyler Edwards Brandone Francis Malik Ondigo Norense Odiase
6'0" Sophomore 6'4" Freshman 6'5" Senior 6'11" Freshman 6'9" Senior

This lineup makes more sense to me as Beard would prefer Owen’s athleticism over Odiase’s bulk but both would be used extensively. I am really excited to see what this team would look like with Owens. Malik Ondigo is another player vying for minutes in the frontcourt and will still probably get minutes. Ondigo has a similar skill set to Owens. Ondigo needs to continue his development and I think that having two senior centers in front of him two years in a row will help him master his skill set so that when he takes the reins his junior year, he will be ready.

All of this, of course, is hypothetical. I have taken into account Zhaire Smith leaving for the NBA but if he returns with Owens, look out, this team could be set for the next year. Let’s hope Owens will enjoy his visit this weekend and hopefully chose Texas Tech as his home.

How do you think Tariq Owens will affect this team? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!