Key Departures: Mac McClung (NBA); Kyler Edwards (–>Houston); Micah Peavy (–>TCU); Nimari Burnett (–>Alabama); Tyreek Smith (–>Oklahoma St); Jamarius Burton (–>Pitt)
New In Town: Kevin Obanor (<–Oral Roberts); Daniel Batcho (<–Arizona); Sardaar Calhoun (<–Florida St); KJ Allen (JUCO); Davion Warren (<–Hampton); Bryson Williams (<–UTEP)
State of the Program:
Texas Tech had finally found their guy after years and years of mediocrity and lack of success Chris Beard had elevated this program into a perineal contender and getting them to their first ever Final 4 and National Championship game. Beard surprised the college basketball world and bolted for his alma mater Texas, and left Texas Tech to try and scramble to remain relevant. They brought in Beard’s longtime assistant Mark Adams, who was with Beard at Little Rock and then followed him to Lubbock. Adams has coaching experience at the DII and JUCO levels but very minimal at the DI level. He had success at those levels however, and if he can keep the train rolling as far as the culture and philosophy Beard instilled then there could be success. He will have to deal with a lot of roster turnover however, as they lose several pieces from last year’s group. They do get back starters Terrence Shannon (JR), Kevin McCullar (JR), and Marcus Santos-Silva (SR) who will be key in Adams’ attempt to keep this program from missing a beat. Shannon was an All-Big12 selection a year ago and has a chance to become the star of the show in Lubbock. The rest of the rotation will be made up of transfers, with several returning bench players that could emerge to garner some minutes.
The biggest land for Texas Tech from the transfer portal was Oral Roberts transfer Kevin Obanor (SR) who burst onto the scene a year ago with his huge performances for Oral Roberts during their Cinderella run to the Sweet 16. Obanor is the perfect stretch 4, and is absolutely lethal from 3 as he shot 45% from deep. He scored 30 and 28 in their 2 March victories and became a household name. He will start alongside Santos-Silva in the frontcourt and provide a much needed scoring punch. The other guy who figures to step in and start is Hampton transfer Davion Warren (SR), who was an All-Big South selection a year ago after averaging 21/6/3. Warren is a great athlete that has developed his game to become a true 3 level threat that can come in and contribute offensively as a playmaker. Also incoming is 6’6” G Sardaar Calhoun (JR) out of Florida St. Calhoun is a tough defender and has a really nice stroke from deep, and he will be a primary option off the bench for the Red Raiders. If you’ve watched Last Chance U you’ll know JUCO transfer KJ Allen (SO), who featured on the show as the best player for East LA College and comes in as a talented athlete that excels in the paint and attacking the rim relentlessly. He should also be a contributor off the bench this season. 6’8” F Bryson Williams (SR) out of UTEP also figures to be a key piece in the frontcourt, as he was a 2x All-CUSA selection, averaging 17/7 in his 2 full seasons with UTEP. He will likely be the main backup in the frontcourt, and his athleticism and strength will be huge for Tech. The last transfer coming into town is Daniel Batcho (FR), who is really just an incoming FR after enrolling early last season and not playing. He’s a more traditional big, and at 6’11” he’s the biggest guy on Texas Tech’s roster, and his height may be called upon in relief sparingly this season. He has star potential with his combination of size and athleticism, and if he can add strength he can become a dominate force.
McCullar, Shannon, and Warren make for a talented backcourt, but none of them are true PG’s, and there’s really no true PG on the roster. That is a concern, and could lead to some turnover problems with the wings being forced to handle pressure and control the offense. Due to that you’ll likely see Tech rely on their stifling defense to keep them in games and create opportunities in transition. They will be able to switch and pressure 1-5, and rely on their speed and athleticism to overwhelm opponents. I like their defensive upside, but their lack of depth and lack of a PG are concerning. McClung and Edwards were 2 of their better perimeter shooters as well, and they are gone with no clear volume shooters coming in to replace. If Beard’s philosophies remain in place, then their half court style may be challenged not having much size or a leader of the offense. If I were in Adams shoes I would be extending the defense in order to create pressure and let these athletic wings and forwards run in transition to create easy opportunities. Otherwise they will be reduced to just running ball screen after ball screen in a very ugly half-court offense. The offensive struggles I foresee are why I have them this low, but I do still expect them to be in the 8-10 range come tourney time. It will nevertheless be interesting to see how Mark Adams takes control of this program.