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Nate Night Thoughts: Basketball season finally something to look forward to in Raiderland

After a historical season, should we expect similar success in years to come?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional Practice Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Beard has a 45-24 (17-19) record since taking over for Tubby Smith as the head coach of the Red Raider basketball program. He led the team to their first Elite Eight and fans need to be excited for the future of this program under Coach Beard’s leadership.

After a successful season, Tech graduated key players such as Keenan Evans, Tommy Hamilton, Justin Gray, Zach Smith, Niem Stevenson, as well as losing backup PG Josh Webster by transfer, and losing the first “one-and-done” player in Texas Tech history in Zhaire Smith to the Philadelphia 76ers.

While most of the country will count out next year’s team, Chris Beard and staff have reloaded by grabbing two of the top grad-transfers in the country in South Dakota’s Matt Mooney and St. John’s big man Tariq Owens. Mooney is a skilled scorer that averaged over 18 ppg in his last two seasons with South Dakota and he is sure to provide some offense for the Red Raiders. Owens is a 6’11” big man that will provide rim protection and rebounding this coming season.

In addition to the grad transfers, the Red Raiders will boast a few standout Freshman this season, most notably 4-star signee Khavon Moore who is a 6’8” SF from Macon, Georgia. Moore is ranked #43 in ESPN’s top 100 recruits and he will surely add to the length that Jarrett Culver already brings on the wing. Moore will be fun to watch in transition as he has incredible athleticism and stands out as a passer. He isn’t much of an outside shooter, but his length will give him an advantage when attacking smaller defenders. Many scouts project him to be picked in next year’s NBA Draft, so let’s enjoy him while he’s in Lubbock.

Texas Tech lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, but Jarrett Culver and Norense Odiase are the biggest pieces returning this season. Culver showed that he can be a go-to player for Chris Beard by averaging 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his Freshman campaign and I’m excited to see his decision making and shot selection mature during his Red Raider career. Culver boasts the athleticism and the size at 6’5” to be a special player next year. Meanwhile, Odiase will provide a physical presence down low as he has his entire career as a Red Raider. The Senior always comes up big defensively and fights for rebounds like his life depends on it. With Odiase and newcomer Tariq Owens down low, opposing teams will have a tough time getting second chances against the Tech defense.

The national media is sleeping on this team and I believe it will fuel the coming success. Chris Beard has shown he can reload a team to compete and it seems as though we have a coach that will bring success for many years to come in Lubbock.