Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 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.
Tubby Time has arrived for the Texas Tech Red Raiders as Tubby Smith takes over as head coach. It will be an uphill climb as Smith is the fourth head coach in as many seasons and his challenge is re-building a program that has won just four Big 12 Conference games the past two seasons.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Last Season: 9th, 3-15 in Big 12, 11-20 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 10th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Dejan Kravic (Sr)/Kader Tapsoba (Sr)
F: Jordan Tolbert (Jr)/Aaron Ross (Fr)/Alex Foster (Fr)
F: Jaye Crockett (Sr)/Clark Lammert (Jr)
SG: Dusty Hannahs (So)/Toddrick Gotcher (So)/Cory Scott (Fr)
PG: Jamal Williams (Sr)/Daylen Robinson (Sr)/Randy Onquasor (Fr)/Robert Turner (Fr)
Gone: PG-Josh Gray (transfer-Odessa JC), PG-Ty Nurse, PG-Trency Jackson (transfer-Western Kentucky)
Smith failed to lead Minnesota out of mediocrity and into the upper echelin of the Big Ten, never once finishing with a winning conference record during his six years with the Gophers. His new chore of getting the Texas Tech Red Raiders back on track will be equally difficult.
Smith does have the luxury of an experienced frontcourt to help ease his transition. Jaye Crockett was the team’s leading scorer a year ago despite primarily being used as a sixth man. He will join returning starters Jordan Tolbert and Dejan Kravic to form a solid, though far from intimidating frontline. The depth should be improved with Aaron Ross returning from a torn ACL that forced him to miss all of last season and the arrival of Alex Foster, who originally committed to Smith and the Gophs before changing his mind to follow Tubby south.
The guard play is a major area of concern though for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The transfer of starting point guard Josh Gray leaves a huge hole at the one. Seniors Jamal Williams and Daylen Robinson were barely serviceable reserves last season but will likely compete for the starting job. Freshmen Randy Onquasor and Robert Turner could factor into the equation as well but it is hard to imagine that either newcomer being ready to take over the floor general role.
Dusty Hannahs was decent during his freshman campaign and is the team’s best long range threat. He is expected to man the shooting guard position with Todrick Gatcher and Cory Scott vying for minutes off the bench. With scoring a question mark at the point guard position, Hannahs needs to increase his aggressiveness on the perimeter.
Texas Tech has gone with the big name hires recently like Bob Knight, Pat Knight, Billy Gillispie, and now Tubby Smith. Those decisions haven’t panned out as hoped and for Smith to right the ship, time will be needed. This year’s Red Raider team lacks the guard play to really make any major move up the Big 12 standings and the new Tech staff must hit the recruiting trail hard to bring some better talent to Lubbock.
Player to Watch: Jaye Crockett
Crockett is an athletic combo forward and easily the team’s most talented player. Assuming Tubby permanently puts him into the starting lineup, it will be interesting to see if Crockett can elevate his production given the increase in court time he should get this year.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/14 at Alabama (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
11/25 vs. Pitt (Legends Classic in Brooklyn)
11/26 vs. Stanford/Houston (Legends Classic in Brooklyn)
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 to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks