First off what a season. Despite all odds Texas Tech, the preseason 7th place team in the Big 12, not only won the conference and dethroned the Kansas Jayhawks, but made it to the program’s first ever national championship game. A season that Red Raider fans will never forget finished with a bitter end.
Like you, I’m heartbroken. This gritty team made program history and proved everyone that doubted them wrong and what a journey it was.
For guys like Tariq Owens and Matt Mooney all I can say is thank you. Thank you for representing this university with class and making everyone associated with Texas Tech proud. Two guys that chose to play their last season of college basketball in Lubbock and silencing the noise of critics. Many thought Tech’s run to the elite eight last season was a fluke, but Owens and Mooney believed in a program and a coach to take this program to new heights.
"We'll remain the underdogs, keep disrespecting us if you want to. Coach Beard will be back." Tariq Owens & Brandone Francis following #TexasTech's loss to Virginia. #WreckEm @fox34 pic.twitter.com/WLVf6wM0sc— Cassie Carlson (@cassiecarlsonTV) April 9, 2019
"Throughout sports, my faith has been tested alot. There's more to life than the game of basketball. There's an eternity. At some point the ball will stop bouncing."— Jason Romano (@JasonRomano) April 9, 2019
Kudos to Matt Mooney @moonswag13 for being gracious in defeat after a tough loss. pic.twitter.com/FAoYiH0BUG
What can I say about Brandone Francis? Your performance in the National Championship game was inspiring. A man that gave Texas Tech and Coach Beard a chance after transferring from Florida, nearly willed the Red Raiders to a National Championship. Your maturation and development as a person and player during your time as a Red Raider has made you a wonderful role model. You made all of Texas Tech and the Dominican Republic proud.
PROGRAMS FUTURE: For the @TexasTechMBB players - it is almost impossible to think about the future after this devastating. But, according to Brandone Francis - as long as Beard is at the helm, Texas Tech basketball's culture will continue to thrive. #WreckEm #KCBDSports @KCBD11 pic.twitter.com/f94pDGlppI— Devin Ward (@DevinKCBD) April 9, 2019
To Norene’s Odiase, thank you for being a leader and absolute brute to be reckoned with on the court. A turbulent five years and a devastating injury that caused you to take a medical redshirt after a promising freshman season all led to this. A Final Four appearance never seemed possible at Texas Tech and without your presence I don’t believe Tech makes it to Minneapolis this year.
"I went through a tough time with my family passing, you guys were the only ones I leaned on." - Norense Odiase— Jon Sokoloff (@JonSokoloff) April 9, 2019
More from @kingno_'s emotional words to his teammates: #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/H6SyrGBQhz
The sophomore from Italy, Davide Moretti gave us moments we will never forget. His progression and development from last year to this season was remarkable. Defensively, Moretti grew so much. The amount of times he laid his body on the line to take a charge were unforgettable. We all knew he could shoot, but his determination to adjust to Coach Beard’s defense earned the respect of Red Raiders and many others.
The juco transfer Deshawn Corprew and freshman Kyler Edwards will be stars for years to come with Moretti. These guys gave this team everything when called upon. Whether it was an Edwards 3 pointer, or a grown man rebound from Corprew these two played a massive role on this squad. Thank you for what you have done, and we are all looking forward to both of you being centerpieces on next year’s team.
Of course, we can’t forget the homegrown Jarrett Culver. Culver was an absolute star and I hope he has an incredible NBA career. From Texas Tech’s first ever Big 12 Player of the Year, to scoring 30 points against Iowa State on the road to secure a Big 12 title, and of course the dagger against Michigan State in the last moments of Tech’s first ever Final Four game. These were just a few memorable moments you brought us this season and thank you for giving Red Raider fans more than we could ever dream of. Now go be the NBA lottery pick we all know you are.
“That decision is still to be made. All season I just focused on my team and try to win a National Championship … Now that the season’s over I’ll take time with my family, and coach, and consider my future.”— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) April 9, 2019
Projected lottery pick Jarrett Culver address his basektball future. pic.twitter.com/JPlqeABXve
Last but not least, thank you Chris Beard. You’ve revitalized a program that had not tasted any type of success for a long time in a place that many people believe you can’t win at or can’t recruit to. You’ve proven every naysayer wrong about Texas Tech and Lubbock, Texas. You and your staff epitomize Red Raider nation and Texas Tech University. You put this university on the map as a team that can compete year in and year out and as an alumnus, I couldn’t be more excited for the future.
“To the seniors, thank you for believing in us and for everything you’ve done for the program. To the younger guys returning, let’s do everything we can over the next 365 days to get back here. I’m just so proud to be these guys’ coach.”— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) April 9, 2019
Tariq Owens and Chris Beard just emerged as the last people out of the locker room.— David Collier (@CollieronTV) April 9, 2019
Someone asked Owens if he wanted to ride the car and he responded, “Nah. I’m going to enjoy this last walk.”
Beard followed with I’ll walk with you.#4to1 pic.twitter.com/1mmFu2jTls