The Texas Tech basketball coaching staff is still searching for talent in the bountiful pool of 2018-19 graduate transfers.
One of the biggest changes in college basketball recruiting over the past handful of years has been the prevalence of graduate transfers. This season, dozens of players who have earned their degrees but still have a year of eligibility remaining, are looking for new homes in something that has become the college equivalent of free agency.
Texas Tech has already scored a big win in this market by landing center Tariq Owens. But Chris Beard appears not to be satisfied with just one high-profile grad transfer. There are three top transfers Texas Tech continues to heavily recruit in hopes of bolstering next year’s roster.
South Dakota guard Matt Mooney is one of the most highly-coveted grad transfers in the nation. Named a member of the 2017-18 Lou Henson all-American team (awarded to the top Division I mid-major players in the country), Mooney put up 18.7 points per game last year. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder also averaged 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
Matt Mooney’s (@MoonSwag13) busy weekend continues today with visits from Creighton’s Greg McDermott and Oregon’s Dana Altman. TCU, Indiana, Northwestern and Texas Tech are set up for Sunday.
— Jay Elsen (@ElsenMidcoSN) April 7, 2018
Texas Tech coaches met with Mooney in person over the weekend and it is easy to see why he is one of their top targets. The versatile offensive player is a terrific ball-handler and a fantastic shooter who would add an extra outside shooting element to a Texas Tech roster that could use a sharp-shooter.
Another player on Texas Tech’s radar is Zach Johnson who spent last season at Florida Gulf Coast. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 16.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season. He is a 39% shooter from three-point range and hit 9 threes against NCAA Tournament team Lipscomb.
Florida Gulf Coast grad transfer Zach Johnson tells me he’s receiving interest from Arizona, South Carolina, and Texas Tech. Averaged 16.1 PPG.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 5, 2018
In the video below, watch as Johnson (No. 5 in white) almost single-handedly erases a 20-point deficit in the conference championship game. Johnson scored 37 points in the loss and followed that up with 23 points against Oklahoma State in the first round of the NIT.
One other fantastic guard to be aware of is Ehab Amin from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. At the 14:25 mark of the interview linked below, Amin lists the teams he has heard the most from and Texas Tech is one of the schools named.
🚨 New podcast🚨
Texas A&M Corpus-Christi grad transfer Ehab Amin (@ehab_amin4) joins us for a discussion.
Amin tells us what schools he’s heard from, what qualities he’s looking for in a school, and more!
— Gabe (@AllDaySportTalk) April 4, 2018
Amin might be the most well-rounded guard in the grad transfer market. The native of Egypt sat out last season with a hip injury and now is looking to make the most of his final year of college basketball.
In 2016-17, Amin was a mid-major all-American scoring 16.9 points and grabbing 6.6 rebounds per game. Additionally, the 6-foot-4 guard is a fantastic defender. He led the entire country two seasons ago by recording 3.44 steals per game, a trait that would make him a perfect fit in Texas Tech’s defense-first scheme.
Amin has heard from dozens of schools including some big time programs like Arizona, Texas, Louisville and Ohio State. He has said that he intends to narrow his list in the upcoming days.
One must wonder if Beard is only looking to add one of these players or if he could actually be looking to add at least two. That answer likely will not come until Zhaire Smith decides whether he will enter the NBA Draft. That decision does not have to be made until June 11th and all three of these players will likely be off the board by then.
If two of these players want to come to Lubbock, Beard could part ways with a player like guard Josh Webster who is limited as a scorer and played only a minor role on the team this season. If any of these players want to join the Texas Tech basketball program, it would be almost impossible to turn them away.
But what is certain is that Texas Tech is now a highly coveted destination for college basketball players from high school prospects to graduate transfers. Chris Beard has made the Red Raiders into a force on the national scene and now he is trying to find the right players to help put ensure Teas Tech stays there next season.