This off-season we have seen plenty of moves made by the mastermind himself - Chris Beard. It’s clear that Beard is trying to build a championship caliber roster; and some would say he accomplished that after picking up Santos-Silva. But building a championship roster comes at a cost. The Red Raiders have already lost F Andrei Savrasov and C Russel Tchewa to the transfer portal. Even with the loss of Savrasov and Tchewa your Red Raiders are still over the NCAA Scholarship limit by one. It’s not a matter of if a next move is coming, it’s when and what that next move will be.
Scenario 1: Another transfer
Maybe your favorite player from last year’s team will never wear the Scarlet and Black again. Although it hurts, and obviously you hate to see it, this is actually one of the main reasons the transfer portal is so important to college hoops. The combination of a player’s desire for more playing time with a program’s responsibility to meet the scholarship limit eventually benefits both parties. This Texas Tech team is deep with talent, and unfortunately players get pushed to the bottom of the rotation. In my mind, the next player to transfer is G Clarence Nadolny. This is not because I think Nadolny isn’t talented - in fact it’s the opposite. Nadolny has a lot of tools to be a good primary ball handler in D1 basketball. Yet with Burnett, Moretti, and Edwards already on the roster as ball handlers I just don’t see how Nadolny continues to fit. The young athlete from France saw only 6 minutes per game last season - not an average playing time you want to be stuck with.
Scenario 2: Benson’s scholarship was temporary
There has been speculation and uncertainty revolving around Avery Benson’s scholarship. Many media members involved in Tech athletics are unsure if Benson’s scholarship was only for the 2019-2020 season or for his entire collegiate career. Benson is a fan favorite. He embodies the Chris Beard hustle mentality as well as anyone, and it’s what has kept him on the team and on the court. Were Beard to pull his scholarship (under the presumption it’s a full scholarship) the probable backlash from the media and fans would be as rough as it gets. If that scholarship was indeed temporary, though, then it’s possible to see Benson’s character shine in saying “I’ll take one for the team,” and all be well in the LBK. Still plenty of uncertainty in that arena.
Scenario 3: Esahia Nyiwe asks for release from LOI
One of the quietest stories of this off-season has been the signing of Clarendon F Esahia Nyiwe. Nyiwe does have immediate eligibility for the 2020-2021 season, but with any newcomer, it’s unclear how much production he will contribute once on the team. The only reason I propose this scenario is because it happened just last off-season. Almost exactly a year ago to date, Texas Tech and former JUCO Preseason POTY Khalid Thomas went their separate ways. It was reported that Thomas had requested to reopen his recruitment and Tech granted his release appeal. Thomas went on to average 2.6 points per game in 8.5 minutes at Arizona State last season. This move freed up a scholarship spot that was used to sign 4-star prospect Tyreek Smith. The interesting part of Nyiwe’s commitment is that it was before the signing of C Marcus Santos-Silva. It will be interesting to see if Nyiwe valued those minutes enough to pursue them elsewhere.
Chris Beard is in a league of his own when it comes to building a team. To be honest, it’s almost impossible to guess what he’ll to next. I promise you one thing though: whatever move he settles on will be the right move for Texas Tech.
For live updates on the Texas Tech 2020-2021 roster situation read here.