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Who are The Matadors?

Previewing the Texas Tech Alumi competing in The Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Purdue vs Texas Tech Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It’s now nearing July and basketball is probably the farthest from some of your minds as the Red Raiders ended their season in April. There is another opportunity to see a team of (mostly) Red Raider alumni play together on a team for a 2 million dollar prize in July. This team will composed of overseas professional players coming back to the states to compete for their schools.

Starting 5

This is my projection of who will be starting for this team:

Point Guard - John Roberson 5’11”

One of the best guards in Texas Tech recent history will be a great offensive player for this team. He is currently the point guard for Tony Parker’s French team ASVEL. During his time at Tech, he averaged 14 points and 5 assists per game and was a 30 minutes per game player all four years he was in Lubbock. He will be one of the best scorers on your team and can hit the three ball as he averaged over 40% from the 3 point line in his professional career. Below is a video from last year of Roberson hitting some absolute bombs from deep.

Shooting Guard - Quincy Diggs 6’6”

Diggs is one of the players on the team who is not a Tech alum. He played his college days at the University of Akron and had a very good senior season where he averaged 13 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Diggs has played overseas since, he was awarded the MVP of the Austrian League in 2015 and played in the Czech league this last year. His biggest strength will be his ability to get to the rim. With his 6’6” frame, he will be able to post up on smaller defenders and take them to the hoop. He is also a very good ball handler and is considered a point forward on his current team. This could give the team a major boost if they want to give Roberson, a better shooter, some off the ball looks. He is also a veteran of this team as he played on the 2017 squad.

Small Forward - Justin Gray 6’6”

This player is one that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now. Gray was a starter on the Elite 8 team this past season. Gray will be a starter on this team and will be guarding the best offensive player on the opposing team. He averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds per game for the Red Raiders last season. He averaged higher point totals in previous years but this past year, his offensive talents weren’t used as much with such great offensive talents such as Keenan Evans, Jarrett Culver, and Zhaire Smith on the team. He was used mainly as the team’s best defender, as he was tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player and it will be no different in this tournament.

Power Forward - Jeffery “Jaye” Crockett 6’7”

Crockett is highly regarded as one of the best players in school history. He was just the fifth player in school history to record 1000 points, 600 rebounds, 100 assists, and 100 steals in their career. He has been playing for the Bakken Bears in the top league in Denmark. Crockett has averaged 13.6 points and 6 boards per game this season. He is remembered from last year’s Tournament for a huge dunk in the first round. He athleticism will be useful at the power forward spot for this team. Below is a highlight tape from this season.

Center - Terell Parks 6’9”

Parks is poised to make a splash at the center position with his size and rebounding. He originally played at Iowa Central College before transferring to Western Illinois for his final two years of eligibility. There, he was a great player averaging 12 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in his senior year. He has played professionally since 2013, and this past season he played with Keravnos Strovolou, a team in Greece.

Backup roles

6th Man - Niem Stevenson 6’6”

Another member of this year’s Elite 8 team, Stevenson will be valuable coming off the bench with his length and shooting. Stevenson averaged 7.5 points and 3 rebounds per game for the Red Raiders last year. He really shined coming off the bench later in the season and I expect the same thing here. With Stevenson’s defensive ability, he will tons of minutes off the bench guarding the best guard on the opposing team.

Scorer Off the Bench - Toddrick Gotcher 6’3”

If you want firepower, Gotcher is your man. He is one of the best three point shooters I have ever witnessed live, and he is someone that can catch fire at any moment. Although he only shoots around 39% from outside, he is your typical catch and shoot guard that was the emotional leader of the NCAA tournament team in 2015-2016. He averaged 10 points per game last season with Cholet in the French league last year. I think he can give you some scoring off the bench, something that this team will need.

Wily Veteran - Ronald Ross 6’2”

The now retired Ross was once an All-American for Texas Tech. He has now joined the Texas Tech coaching staff as an Graduate Assistant for Coach Beard. He will be a fun guy to watch coming off the bench, as he had a long and very successful overseas career. He averaged 17 points in his senior season at Texas Tech and was named to an All-American team. Ross will be used at a scorer as he has averaged over 35% from beyond the arc over his career.

Athletic Point - Nicholas Okorie 6’1”

Okorie was a transfer from South Plains College, and played two great seasons for the Red Raiders as he averaged 11 points and 3 rebounds per game. He has also had a successful career overseas since 2012. He has had many successful seasons but this past season, he averaged 13 points per game and has shot 36% from three point land this season. Okorie will be used for his scoring off the bench during the tournament.

What do you think of this team? Let us know in the comment section below!