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Freaky Friday: Red Raider basketball in the pros

Time to start tracking Texas Tech basketball alums

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

The Next Level:

With four potential Red Raiders in the NBA, it’s time to start tracking former Texas Tech basketball in the big leagues. Texas Tech football has a a whole wall in its training facilities promoting past and present Red Raiders in the NFL. Texas Tech Baseball has a handful of guys from the Tadlock era in the MLB. But now, Red Raider Basketball has reached a point where they too can use their players success at the next level to promote from within.

Four Red Raiders in the NBA System:

Zhaire Smith - Zhaire Smith was drafted 16th in the 2018 NBA Draft and was traded to Philadelphia. This is a prefect spot for Smith in my opinion. Smith is viewed as a positionless player, Smith actually played down low in high school, rarely shooting from deep. On Coach Beard’s team in Lubbock, Smith played anywhere from the 2 spot to the 5 down low. The Philadelphia 76’ers love players with versatility who are capable of switching screens and guarding multiple positions. I expect Smith to come off the bench and play the guard position, but will be switching screens and guarding multiple positions.

Keenan Evans - The Detroit Pistons pulled a fast one on the Golden State Warriors, and I could not be more happy about it. Evans was set to play summer league basketball for the reigning champions until the Detroit Pistons swooped in and offered him a two-way contract. Expect to see Evans suit up for summer league play and for the Pistons G-League affiliate this coming season.

Zach Smith - Zach Smith is set to suit up for the Atlanta Hawks this summer. My hope is that Smith is able to work his way up the ladder. A lot of players who get selected to play on a summer league roster rarely stick on their summer teams. However, there is a an opportunity for Smith to prove himself and maybe earn a roster spot or two-way contract for another squad.

Tommy Hamilton - In recent news, it looks like Tommy Hamilton is getting a shot with one of the greatest organizations in basketball, The San Antonio Spurs. Hamilton is one of the larger players on the Spurs roster for Utah, and should get some good playing time. I was sure that Hamilton was going to be a great international player, but why not play pro basketball with an organization that plays an international brand of basketball?

What it means for Texas Tech Basketball going forward:

In light of Red Raider Basketball’s recent success, Chris Beard and company are beginning to pull some high level recruits. Incoming freshman Khavon Moore is ranked 53rd on 247 sports national ranking list and will be the highest recruit Texas Tech Basketball as landed in more than a decade. Keep an eye out for Kevin McCullar, McCullar is set to make his commitment any day now and is currently ranked 67th in the 2019 recruiting class. Incoming grad transfers Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens area huge get for Beard’s team and should have NBA aspirations come this time next year. Jarrett Culver hopes to be in the same position as Zhaire Smith next year, potentially giving Red Raider Basketball a draft selection in back to back years. Red Raiders playing professional basketball will be huge for coach Beard on the recruiting trail. Expect Red Raider Basketball to be in the conversation for top recruits for years to come.

Since Chris Beard’s arrival the state of the program has been absolutely freaky. I don’t think even the most upbeat fan saw the rise of Red Raider Basketball coming. But we are all taking notice, and so is the rest of college basketball.