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Tariq Owens, a player with blue-collar work ethic

If there’s a dirty job to do, then no. 11 is probably behind it

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Football teams have offensive linemen, who allow quarterbacks and running backs to put up incredible numbers.

Soccer teams have midfielders, who are responsible for stripping the ball away from opponents and giving it to attackers.

Hockey teams have defenders, who hit, block, and fight to give forwards and wings the chance to assist and score.

This Texas Tech basketball team has Tariq Owens, who patrols the rims and works hard for his teammates.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The grad transfer from St. John’s has had a good impact on his new team, averaging 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game so far. However, the most impressive stat has been his 2.53 block average. This makes him the second best blocker in the Big 12 (only behind Texas’ Jaxson Hayes) and fifteenth in the nation.

Historically Texas Tech doesn’t have a good history of blockers, and Owens is trying to beat the school record set by Tony Battie in 1996-97, his last season in Lubbock. Battie had 71 blocks in 28 games (avg. 2.537), while Owens has 38 in 15 games (avg. 2.533).

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Someone could doubt his offensive production, but Owens has never been a great scorer in his college career. The native of Odenton, MD, originally committed to Tennessee and in his freshman season couldn’t find much playing time, finishing with 1.2 points and 0.5 blocks in 7.6 minutes per game.

After that, he transferred to St. John’s, sat out a year, and in his second and last season with the Red Storm had his best performance, averaging 8.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game (11th in the nation) .

These last numbers are similar to the ones he’s averaging in this season with the Red Raiders while nearly doubling his assists (0.5 to 0.9), playing about 8 minutes less than he did in New York (30 to 22).

NCAA Basketball: Hall of Fame Classic-Southern California at Texas Tech Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tariq Owens constantly does the dirty work for the team and like the star offensive linemen for the national champion Clemson Tigers football team, Tech basketball will need Tariq Owens to be a star in order for the Red Raiders to achieve the same greatness.