Texas Tech basketball fans have had to keep their heads on a swivel this offseason. After all, since Mark Adams ascended to the throne in April, it seems as if the program hasn’t gone over a couple of weeks without adding a significant piece to the roster.
But with Friday’s news that Oral Roberts transfer Kevin Obanor has signed with the Red Raiders, the 2021-22 picture is beginning to come into view. In fact, the roster is almost complete as Tech has only one scholarship available. That spot could be held open for a late high school commit, another offseason transfer, a mid-season transfer or it could be awarded to freshman Ethan Duncan from Lubbock who might be a candidate to walk on as well
What’s clear is that Adams has assembled a deeper and more talented roster than almost anyone thought he would be able to in his first season. And we can be almost certain of four of the five starters that Adams will roll out next season.
It seems fair to assume that Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon Jr. will be in the starting five as both were starters for this program in 2020-21. Last season, McCullar put up 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while Shannon averaged 12.9 and 4.0. But the third starter to return from last season’s team, Marcus Santos-Silva, is going to have to adapt to a more specialized role.
That’s because the Red Raiders have significantly upgraded the talent on the roster at the power forward spot by adding Obanor and UTEP transfer Bryson Williams, the former of whom scored nearly 19 points per game last season and the latter of whom scored over 15 per contest. Therefore, it is easy to picture both of the new 6-foot-8 big men getting the start for the Red Raiders next season as well.
But who will fill that fifth spot to start, and perhaps more importantly finish games for Mark Adams this upcoming season? Let’s look at the possible starting lineups as they sit right now.
Option 1: McCullar, Shannon, Obanor, Williams, Warren
In our first potential lineup, the Red Raiders put another transfer, Davion Warren, into the mix to add some scoring punch to the backcourt. Last season at Hampton, the 6-foot-6 guard put up an impressive 21.1 points per game (though that was against teams of a lesser caliber than he will see in the Big 12). Will he be able to continue to get buckets against top-flight competition? That could be one of the keys to the upcoming season for Adams’ squad.
This is an intriguing lineup in that every player in it would be at least 6-foot-5 and none would be taller than 6-foot-8. Thus, Tech would theoretically be playing positionless basketball on the defensive end and that would give Adams quite the thrill given the way he likes his teams to play on that end of the floor.
But this lineup would be without a true point guard meaning that McCullar would have to go back to his high school roots which saw him play the point back home in San Antonio. Also, this lineup would feature two guards in McCullar and Warren who are less than average shooters from 3-point range. In fact, when factoring in Shannon and Williams, you would have four of the five players in this fivesome that shot below 36% from deep last year.
The good news is that Obanor shot over 46% from beyond the arc despite taking 120 attempts. Still, teams would likely challenge this group to make them pay from outside which would make life much more difficult on slashers like McCullar and Shannon.
Ultimately, this would be Tech’s most athletic starting five but perhaps not its most complete as the lack of a true point guard and an absence of outside shooting would be a drawback. Therefore, there is a tweak to the starting five that Adams could make to solve at least one of those problems.