Though it will be hard for the 2019-20 Texas Tech basketball team to surpass what the 2019 national runners up accomplished, the next version of the Red Raiders could be better than last season’s squad in several key areas.
After the two most successful years in program history, it is hard to blame Texas Tech basketball fans for being a bit excitable when it comes to Red Raider hoops. And though the upcoming season is still five months away, we can’t help but think about what next year’s team will look like.
Certainly, there will be some tremendous changes with nine new faces expected to comprise 75% of the scholarship roster. That includes two graduate transfers, two redshirt freshmen and five true freshmen.
And with so many new faces and so much youth on the squad, it might seem illogical to expect the next version of Chris Beard’s team to be as good as the team that came within twelve seconds of a national title. But then again, wasn’t the same assumption made prior to last season when Tech was tasked with replacing six of its top eight scorers from an Elite 8 team?
No one thought that a program that lost Keenan Evans, Zhaire Smith, Justin Gray, Niem Stevenson, Tommy Hamilton, and Zach Smith and their combined 53 points per game would be a factor in the Big 12, much less nationally. But as we now know, Beard was able to get his returning players like Jarrett Culver and Davide Moretti to take their game to another level while seamlessly incorporating the games of grad transfers Tariq Owens and Matt Mooney into his system to build a team that surpassed any and all expectations.
So by now, it would be foolish for us to doubt Beard again. And certainly, his team will not be picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 as it was prior to last season and there’s no doubt that Tech will begin 2019-20 in the top-15 if not the top-10 in the national polls.
But what should excite Red Raider fans is the fact that the upcoming edition of the team will be far more talented on paper than either of the past two incarnations of Beard’s team. In fact, with three top-175 incoming freshmen and two of the nation’s most coveted grad transfers arriving in Lubbock this summer, this team will be the greatest collection of individual talent ever assembled in program history.
The key will be for this incredible group of gifted players to all buy in to the Red Raider way and come together as a team. And if the 2019-20 team can reach its potential, it could be even better than the 2019 Final Four team in some interesting aspects of the game that could change what Red Raider hoops looks like.