Texas Tech Basketball Preview: #130
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Overall Rank: #130
Conference Rank: #11 Big 12
2008-09: 14-19, 3-13
2008-09 postseason: none
Coach: Pat Knight (18-26 at Texas Tech, 18-26 overall)
Until the last two weeks of the season, Coach Pat Knight’s first full year at the helm of Texas Tech’s basketball team was not very memorable. Then the Red Raiders got the biggest two wins of the year and at least have some momentum heading into the fall of 2009. Texas Tech knocked off Kansas by 19 points after coming off of six straight losses. Then the team won a game in the conference tournament against NCAA bound Texas A&M.
Key Losses: F Michael Prince, G Alan Voskuil
Coach Knight knows that he needs to add talent to his roster and, at least for the sake of his job, the sooner they can contribute, the better. Thus, three of the five newcomers are junior college transfers who should be able to make an impact right away. All three of them are shooting guards or small forwards, but the increase in athleticism should help this team. David Tairu, Brad Reese and Theron Jenkins will all compete for playing time and possibly even a starting job. Meanwhile, incoming freshmen Mike Davis and Jaye Crockett will have to bide their time.
John Roberson has emerged as the team leader for the Red Raiders. He led the team with 13.9 points and 6.4 assists per game. His turnover numbers were a little high, but Roberson is the catalyst of the offense. He is a capable three-point shooter, but will occasionally try too hard to make a tough outside shot. And now without Alan Voskuil, who actually could hit three-pointers consistently, Roberson might feel the urge to try and force even more shots this year. But Roberson does have Nick Okorie back to pick up the shooting slack left behind by Voskuil. Okorie, a 6-1 senior, averaged 11.3 points per game last year and will need to do even more scoring this time around.
The Red Raiders have lacked a quality scoring big man for quite some time. And that probably will not change this year, but if it does, it will be Robert Lewandowski. The 6-10 forward had a surprisingly good freshman campaign, tallying 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. If he can build off of his success from last year, Lewandowski could be exactly what this team needs. D’Walyn Roberts and Trevor Cook are not bad scorers either, but are not as imposing as Lewandowski. Cook could be that player if he can stay healthy. He only played in 14 games last year due to a back injury, but at 6-9 and 241 pounds, he certainly has the size to bang around in the paint. Cook can even step out and hit the outside shot relatively consistently, but his health remains a concern.
Who to Watch:
Until the Big 12 conference tournament, Mike Singletary was relatively unknown. He spent the year coming in off the bench, but he exploded late in the year, culminating with a 43 point effort, 29 of which came consecutively, in the team’s upset over Texas A&M. Nobody will expect Singletary to do that everyday, but he is an upperclassman now and the 6-6 Humble, Texas native needs to step into a starting role and be a consistent scorer.
Texas Tech has potential and Coach Knight is desperately searching for new talent by hitting the junior college ranks. That might bode well for this season and the Red Raiders should win more than three conference games, but the long term success of the program does not seem very promising. Yet, in basketball, all it takes is one good recruit or one surprising player to step up and turn things around and the Red Raiders hope they can find that magic during the 2009-2010 season.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
John Roberson, Junior, Guard, 13.9 points per game
Nick Okorie, Senior, Guard, 11.3 points per game
Mike Singletary, Junior, Forward, 12.2 points per game
D’Walyn Roberts, Junior, Forward, 4.9 points per game
Robert Lewandowski, Sophomore, Forward, 6.6 points per game