2008-09 Texas Tech Basketball Preview: #71
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Overall Rank: #71
Conference Rank: #8 Big 12
2007-08: 16-15, 7-9, 7th
2007-08 postseason: none
Coach Pat Knight and his Texas Tech squad had an entire off-season to adjust to the style of play that the coaching staff wants to employ. The transition was relatively smooth when Bob Knight handed the reigns over to his son in the middle of the 2007-2008 season, but Coach Pat Knight wants to run a little more and the players need some time to adjust to that change of philosophy. Part of last season and all of the summer should be enough. Yet, can Alan Voskuil be the team’s leader? Voskuil hit exactly half of his 134 attempts from three-point territory and is certainly a good shooter, but it remains to be seen if he can take the big shots and be the go-to-scorer.
But even with all the time in the world to prepare, the Red Raiders still have to go into the 2008-2009 season without Martin Zeno. During his senior campaign, the 6-5 wing led the team in points, rebounds and steals and ranked second in assists. It will take a handful of players to step up their game and replace those numbers. The backcourt also lost part-time starter Charlie Burgess. Up front Tyler Hoffmeister and Ricardo De Bem will not be suiting up for Texas Tech this year after seeing limited playing time last season.
The Red Raiders need a drastic increase in talent if they want to start competing for conference championships any time soon. This class is decent and has some potential, but it is not good enough to battle the likes of Kansas and Texas. Yet, at least it fills some holes and it should help the team improve in the short term. Power forward Darko Cohadarevic has the most potential. The 6-9 Serbian spent some time at the junior college level and should play a big role on the Red Raiders right away. Cohadarevic can shoot, but this team needs him to use his size and hit the glass hard. Robert Lewandowski and Corbin Ray will add some much needed depth in the paint. Besides some improvement from the big men, Texas Tech needs a backup point guard. Nick Okorie, who can also spend time at the two-guard spot, has plenty of experience after spending a couple years at South Plains College in Texas. On a team that lacks much perimeter leadership, Okorie could play a big role during his first year in Lubbock.
Who to Watch:
More important to the short term success of the Red Raiders than the development of this year’s freshmen is the development of last year’s freshmen. John Roberson did a decent job running the point last year. The turnovers were high, especially once the offense picked up its pace a little bit, but a year of experience should help Roberson develop some consistency. One thing Roberson offers consistently is his scoring. He averaged 12.3 points per game last year and hit 40 percent of his attempts from long range. Mike Singletary’s numbers might not be as impressive as Roberson’s, but the 6-5 forward showed plenty of potential. He is undersized to play the four and does not have a good enough shot to play the three in most offenses, but he will get above the rim and do plenty of scoring around the basket. Even the last freshmen on the team, D’Walyn Roberts, had his moments and could play a bigger role as a sophomore.
The frontcourt should at least be better than they were last year. Unfortunately, that might not mean too much. The newcomers will help and Trevor Cook, Esmir Rizvic and Damir Suljagic at least have experience, but this is not a group that instills fear into their opponents. Even without Zeno, the backcourt will be dangerous and the difference between a bad year and a decent year will be resting on the shoulders of a frontcourt that has yet to prove to be reliable.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
John Roberson, Sophomore, Guard, 12.3 points per game
Alan Voskuil, Senior, Guard, 13.1 points per game
Mike Singletary, Sophomore, Forward, 7.3 points per game
Trevor Cook, Junior, Forward, 4.9 points per game
Damir Suljagic, Senior, Forward, 4.7 points per game