Though football is squarely on the minds of most sports fans in America these days, the Texas Tech basketball program is still putting in work on the recruiting trail late in the summer. In fact, Mark Adams and his staff are in the mix for two standout high school prospects.
Earlier this week, the Twitter account @247HSHoops reported that 2023 big man Jazz Gardner will be taking an official visit to Texas Tech starting on September 10th. That is the weekend when the Red Raider football team will be hosting Houston at Jones Stadium.
A California native, Gardner is a 6-foot-10 center who is rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports.com. The No. 11 player in the nation at his position, he’s listed as the No. 79 overall player in the class of 2023.
Of course, the competition for his services will be stout. The list of teams to have offered him a scholarship includes Kansas, Illinois, Arizona State, Houston, Georgia, LSU, Pitt, Southern Cal, Virginia Tech, and others. But on July 31, Gardner cut his list of schools to Texas Tech, Kansas, Mizzou, Pepperdine, UCSB, USC, Saint Mary’s, and Dayton.
Watching Gardner’s highlights, one aspect of his game stands out over the rest; his outside shot. As smooth as the shot of any guard, Gardner’s jumper is a true weapon, especially against other big men as he will be able to pull them away from the basket which will also help his teammates get easier looks at the rim.
What’s interesting though is that Tech is already in great shape when it comes to big men. Having landed 6-foot-11 transfer Fardaws Aimaq this offseason and welcoming back 7-footer Daniel Batcho for his redshirt sophomore season, Tech will have a pair of towers in the mix this year and what’s more, both have eligibility for 2023-24 as well. If Gardner views himself as a one-and-done prospect, will the potential of a crowded rotation at center give him pause when considering the Red Raiders? It will be interesting to find out.
Meanwhile, @247HSHoops also reported this week that one of the top players in the class of 2024 is also considering the Red Raiders. 5-star prospect Jamari Phillips has reportedly cut his list of suitors to Tech, Oregon, UCLA, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Louisville.
A 6-foot-3 guard, also from California, Phillips is the No. 6 shooting guard and No. 21 overall player in the nation for 2024. Were he to pick the Red Raiders, he would easily become the highest-ranked high school player to ever sign with the program.
Phillips averaged 23.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game as a sophomore for his high school team this past season. And on the club team circuit this summer, he absolutely blew up. Now, he’s one of the most coveted players in the nation.
Interestingly, Tech already has five guards on the roster listed as either freshmen or sophomores. What’s more, Tech even has two more 4-star guards, Drew Steffe and Jason Jackson, committed for the class of 2023. But with a player of Phillips’ skill, it is certain that Tech will make room for another ball-handler.
Whether or not Tech lands Gardner or Phillips, the fact that the program is in contention with both as they narrow their choices is important to note because it is a reminder that Texas Tech basketball remains a rising power in the sport and one that is capable of bringing some of the top players in America to Lubbock. Now, we will see if Adams and Co. can seal the deal on either of these two big-time recruiting battles.