#72 Texas Tech: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #72
Conference Rank: #8 Big 12 Conference
2009-10: 19-16, 4-12
2009-10 postseason: NIT
Coach: Pat Knight (37-42 at Texas Tech, 37-42 overall)
A 4-12 conference record does not sound very impressive, but Coach Pat Knight finally led Texas Tech to the postseason and the Red Raiders made a nice little run in the NIT. The hope is that the postseason success will lead to better things in 2010-2011. However, the same issues that led to that 4-12 record are still there and this is a team that needs to find a big man who can get the job done in the paint.
Key Losses: F Darko Cohadarevic, G Nick Okorie
Texas Tech hopes Paul Cooper, Jaye Crockett or Zach Jones can at least provide something during their first year suiting up for the Red Raiders. Cooper, a junior college transfer, has the most potential to make an impact right away. Crockett lacks the size to play at the five spot, but the 6-7, 200 pound Clovis, New Mexico native spent a year on the sidelines and should be ready to contribute if the team needs him to fill in a few minutes here and there. The perimeter needs some depth too and that is where the most talented freshmen are this year. Javarez Willis is a superb point guard and will spend a year as a backup before taking over the team and Jamel Outler is a quality all-around scorer who will likely see quite a few minutes as long as he is ready.
The backcourt did not go very deep last year since this is a team loaded with small forwards, but John Roberson is not a bad player to build around. The 5-11 point guard dished out 5.4 assists per game during his junior campaign, but he is about a lot more than just passing. Roberson connected on an impressive 40.9 percent of his attempts from long range and is never afraid to mix up his scoring options and attack the basket. The absence of Nick Okorie will hurt, but David Tairu seems prepared to take over the starting job. Tairu nearly matched Okorie’s scoring output of 10.8 points per game last year and that was in fewer minutes and mostly off of the bench. The 6-3 senior is now ready to take over a larger role and fill in what was lost with Okorie’s outside shooting. Now the question is who will fill in off the bench for Tairu?
Roberson may make this team tick, but Mike Singletary makes them dangerous. The 6-6 senior has had some amazing scoring outputs throughout his career and is a great all-around player. He may force a few too many three-pointers, but when one averages 15.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game, it is hard to complain. Brad Reese and Theron Jenkins are a couple of 6-6 forwards as well and, like Singletary, they may be forced to spend some time at the power forward spot. Reese is mostly a shooter, but Jenkins could develop into a player who can steal 15 minutes a game at the power forward spot. Ideally, D’walyn Roberts will stay at the power forward position most of the time. He has developed into a decent interior scorer and a fine rebounder. However, he has to stay out of foul trouble or this will be a small team that gets outrebounded consistently.
Who to Watch:
Every year it seems like Robert Lewandowski is ready to take over a starting role. Last year he started three games and the 6-10 junior is running out of time. The now departed Darko Cohadarevic did a decent job under the basket and at least gave the Red Raiders a big body who could do a little scoring and grab some boards. Now it is Lewandowski’s turn to go from ten minutes per game to 20 or 25 minutes per game.
If Lewandowski cannot step up his game, Roberts will have to spend a lot more time at the five spot and many times the 6-7, 200 pounder will get outmuscled by bigger opponents. The Big 12 Conference has plenty of centers who would have a field day with a 6-7 forward under the basket. Texas Tech has enough bodies to rotate 6-7 and 6-8 forwards in and out to foul people, but that is not going to work most of the time.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
John Roberson, Senior, Guard, 14.5 ppg
David Tairu, Senior, Guard, 9.2 ppg
Mike Singletary, Senior, Forward, 15.0 ppg
D’walyn Roberts, Senior, Forward, 7.0 ppg
Robert Lewandowski, Junior, Forward, 2.3 ppg
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