Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
For the second straight year, Billy Gillespie has massive turnover on the Texas Tech Red Raiders roster. Six players are transferring out of the program while a whopping eight new recruits arrived on campus. Translation; it should be another long, painful basketball season in Lubbock, Texas.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Last Season: T-10th, 5-11 in Big 12, 13-19 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 9th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Dejan Kravic (Jr)/Kader Tapsoba (Jr)
F: Jordan Tolbert (So)/Aaron Ross (Fr)/Clark Lammert (So)
F: Jaye Crockett (Jr)/Wannah Bail (Fr)
SG: Toddrick Gotcher (So)/Dusty Hannahs (Fr)/Michael Carey (Fr)
PG: Ty Nurse (Sr)/Josh Gray (Fr)/Daylen Robinson (Jr)/Trency Jackson (So)/Jamal Williams (Jr)
Gone: C-Robert Lewandowski, PG-Javarez Willis (transfer-Ohio), SF-Terran Petteway (transfer-Nebraska), F-Jaron Nash (transfer-North Dakota), SG-Deshon Minnis (transfer-Rhode Island), PG-Kevin Wagner (McLennan CC)
Guessing what the Texas Tech starting lineup might look like next season is like picking the winning lottery numbers; next to impossible. If my math serves me right, Gillespie has 15 players on their roster with only 13 scholarships to hand out. Something has to give…
There is reason for optimism with the Red Raiders new crop of prospects. Gillespie scored a solid late get when Mississippi State commit Josh Gray decided not to sign with the Bulldogs after Rick Stanbury left, opening the door for him to state in-state and go to Tech. Former Arkansas signee Aaron Ross and Wannah Bail add length and athleticism to the frontcourt. Bail’s high school teammate, Michael Carey and Dusty Hannahs are physical off-guards also joining the program.
Tech also add three junior college transfers to the mix who all play point guard. Former Southern Miss commit Trency Jackson, Daylen Robinson, and Jamal Williams all join the fray. Add Gray and returning starter Ty Nurse to the equation and the Red Raiders have five point guards on their roster so it will be interesting to see how Gillespie divvies up the playing time at the one or if he chooses to utilize a small, multi-point guard line-up.
Tech was supposed to add a fourth JUCO but big man Rodrigo Silva instead chose to sign a professional contract with a team in Brazil. This hurts a Tech team that doesn’t have a lot of size inside due to the graduation of Robert Lewandowski. Candian transfer Goran Dravic and former JUCO transfer Kader Tapsoba who redshirted last season, are the only options at center. Dravic is the better offensive player of the two while Tapsoba is known as a difference maker on the defensive end.
The Red Raiders do return their top two scorers from last season in forwards Jordan Tolbert and Jaye Crockett. They should start in the frontcourt which will allow Ross, Bail, and sophomore Clark Lammert to fight for minutes off the bench.
Another player to keep an eye on is sophomore shooting guard Toddrick Gotcher. He played heavy minutes right away during his freshman season but missed all of conference play due to an ankle injury that required him to have surgery in March. If healthy, he brings tremendous versatility to the wing. With so many guards on their roster and questions on the inside, Gillespie might be forced to use a smaller line-up more times than not.
The roster has pretty much been gutted and rebuilt in the 13 months that Gillespie has been on the job with Crockett being the lone holdover from the Pat Knight era. The 2012 class might have what it takes to once again make Texas Tech a relevant basketball program. More than likely though, that won’t happen for at least another year or two.
Player to Watch: Aaron Ross
After failing to academically qualify at Arkansas last summer, Ross was forced to do a year of prep school at St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. He will be able to play either forward position at the collegiate level and can cause match-up issues due to his strength and mid-range game. Without a great deal of size on the roster, Ross will probably spend more time playing at power forward but should be able to make an immediate impact.
Key Non-Conference Games:
12/1 vs. Arizona
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks