Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders add star forward Kevin Obanor to roster

Mark Adams has dipped into the transfer portal once again.  And this time, the new Texas Tech basketball head coach has added one of the nation’s best players to his roster.

Kevin Obanor, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward who played the last three years at Oral Roberts, has joined the Red Raiders making Adams’ team measurably better.  In fact, this addition could be one that puts the Red Raiders in the mix to compete at the top of the Big 12 standings.

Last season, Obanor averaged an impressive 18.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.  He shot 50.3% from the field and 46.3% from 3-point range in helping ORU reach the Sweet 16.

It was in that improbable March run for the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles that Obanor became a star and announced to the nation that he is one of the best players in the NCAA.  Averaging 29 points per game in the first two rounds, the Houston native carried his team past No. 2 seed Ohio State with 30 points and past No. 7 seed Florida with 28 points before being held to 12 points in a two-point loss to No. 3 seed Arkansas in the third round.

What makes Obanor such a dangerous weapon on the court is that he can score at the rim, in the mid-range, and from long distance. He’s a stretch power forward who is comfortable playing away from the rim as he averaged two made 3s per game last season and that’s going to be a huge boost to the Texas Tech offense this year.

Specifically, a player such as Terrence Shannon Jr. could benefit from Obanor’s ability to draw bigger defenders away from the paint.  Already one of the best drivers and finishers in the Big 12, Shannon could find even more driving lanes as well as less resistance at the goal thanks to Obanor’s ability to pull his defender out to the perimeter.

This development also means that Tech will have one of the most dangerous forward combinations in the conference.  Having already added UTEP transfer Bryson Williams (15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season) and seeing Marcus Santos-Silva (8.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21) return for one final season, Tech’s three primary forwards will comprise a group that will rival any in the conference.

This addition to the roster leaves Tech with just one open scholarship and given how picked over the portal is, it is conceivable that Adams may be finished adding pieces to this season’s team.  However, the Red Raiders have expressed interest in a number of guards in recent weeks including Alabama’s leading scorer, Jaden Shackelford, who at one time was reported to be deciding between the Red Raiders and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Still, simply adding Obanor should make the Red Raiders a top 25 team to begin the year.  That’s an amazing thought given how decimated the roster was when Adams was elevated from assistant to head coach in April.  It’s a testament to this coaching staff’s ability to recruit high-end talent and it’s a great sign for the future of Red Raider basketball; a future that is far more exciting with Kevin Obanor now back home in Texas.