Texas Tech basketball: The next grad transfer big man Chris Beard is targeting

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 9: Marcus Santos-Silva #14 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams shoots against the Seton Hall Pirates during the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 9: Marcus Santos-Silva #14 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams shoots against the Seton Hall Pirates during the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

With Matt Haarms committed to BYU, Texas Tech basketball head coach Chris Beard has set his sights on VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva.

Another week brings another big man target for Chris Beard and the Texas Tech basketball program to pursue through the transfer portal.  After missing out on the nation’s top rebounder from last season, Kevin Marfo of Quinnipiac who transferred to Texas A&M, and 7-foot-3 Purdue center Matt Haarms, who is now headed to BYU, Beard apparently is targeting Virginia Commonwealth’s Marcus Santos-Silva.

As a grad transfer, the 6-foot-7, 250-pounder is immediately eligible after leading VCU with 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.  In the last two years, he has started 64 games while establishing himself as one of the best players in the Atlantic 10 Conference.  Interestingly, he has also recently said that he will put his name into consideration for the NBA Draft to receive feedback but it seems that he is likely to finish his college career.

After all, he’s already released his list of six potential schools to transfer to.  Including Tech, that group consists of Arizona State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Maryland, and Georgia.

Santos-Silva has a game that more closely resembles former Red Raider Norense Odiase than his former teammate Tariq Owens, the latter of which Tech fans have been desperately wanting to clone since he set the school single-season record for blocks with 92 in his lone season in Lubbock, 2018-19.

Silva is two inches shorter than Odiase but he is far more explosive of an athlete and a more skilled scorer.  Nimble and agile when playing in the paint, he can score with regularity around the rim using either hand while deploying a crafty arsenal of post moves and a keen sense of balance.

But much like Odiase, he is a low-post player who has no interest in being an outside shooter.  Whereas Owens and 2019-20 forward T.J. Holyfield were comfortable pulling the trigger from 3-point range, Santos-Silva makes his living near the bucket.

In fact, he has yet to attempt a shot from behind the arc in his three years at the collegiate level.  On one hand, that’s not ideal in Tech’s motion offense because it allows defenders to sag off of him when he has the ball away from the paint thus clogging the driving lanes for other Red Raiders.  But on the other hand, Tech found a way to have its best season in program history with Odiase starting all 37 games without attempting one shot from deep so Beard could obviously make it work with another player of that ilk.

As you can see in this highlight package, being just 6-foot-7 didn’t prevent him from having a huge game this season against Purdue and Matt Haarms, who was the apple of everyone’s eye for the last three weeks after he entered the transfer portal.  That day, Santos-Silva had 19 points against the 7-foot-3 Haarms and his 6-foot-9 teammate Trevion Williams.

In 2019-20, he also had big games against Tennessee (22 points, 11 rebounds), LSU (17 points, 11 rebounds), and Dayton (12 points, 17 rebounds).  In other words, he’s able to hold his own against top competition.

One reason he can hold his own, and often dominate bigger players, is that he has a wingspan that is seven feet.  That combined with his athleticism and a nasty demeanor are what allows him to make highlight plays like the one below.

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For further proof that he can play above the rim despite being 250-pounds, check out this impressive finish of an alley-oop from his sophomore season.  Thus, it’s clear that Santos-Silva is far from being considered a stiff.

He’s also an asset defensively, especially when it comes to protecting the rim.  He averaged 1.3 blocks per game this past season, which was just 0.3 blocks fewer than Holyfield put up this season to lead the Red Raiders.

The one glaring flaw in his game though is his free-throw shooting.  For his career, he’s just a 55.7% shooter at the line.  That’s disappointing considering that he has averaged 2.9 free throws per game for his career and 4.4 per game this year.  For a player who draws as much contact down low as he does, being a decent free-throw shooter has to be part of his repertoire.

Ultimately, the transfer market for big men is about as picked over these days as the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store.  Thus, Marcus Santos-Silva is going to be as popular as a single girl with no ride home from the bar at 2 am.

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There’s certainly a need for a player with his skill set in Lubbock, especially when it comes to rebounding.  That’s why he might be the best possible option for Beard to improve his roster before next season.