The Texas Tech basketball season is just 19 days away. Therefore, it’s time that we start getting ramped up for some hardwood action.
It should be another fascinating year in the Big 12. For starters, in the preseason AP poll, which was released on Monday, five Big 12 teams are included.
Baylor and Kansas are highest on the list tied for 5th. Texas checks in at No. 12 while TCU is at No. 14. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders close out the poll at No. 25.
On one hand, that is a decent nod to a team that is bringing back just one of last season’s top ten scorers, Kevin Obanor. Given that sobering reality, it is actually a bit surprising to see Tech begin the year ranked at all.
However, Mark Adams garnered some respect last season by leading Tech to the Sweet 16 in his first season as a head coach of a high-major program. And perhaps voters and experts around the nation now realize that rebuilding on the fly is what Adams has done for virtually his entire coaching career.
A long-time JUCO head coach, Adams is accustomed to annually rebuilding his roster given that JUCO players have only two years of eligibility. Therefore, Adams was being prepared for life in the transfer portal era long before anyone knew what the landscape of the NCAA would be in 2022.
Last season, Adams took over a program that brought in eight new players and he was able to get Tech into the national conversation almost immediately. In fact, starting the year 10-2 in non-conference play, the Red Raiders took little time to gel, which surprised many people outside of Lubbock.
Now, Adams is bringing in ten newcomers in 2022-23. That means that the only returners from a season ago are Obanor, Daniel Batcho, and KJ Allen.
Thus, it will be another year of questions about whether Adams can make another chemistry experiment work. However, there is one huge difference between this season’s new crop of talent and last year’s newcomers.
This year, Tech is working five true freshmen into the mix whereas last season, there were no true freshmen on the roster at all. That’s going to mean that Tech is going to have to rely more heavily on first-year players than any Tech team in recent memory.
In fact, it’s been since 2014-15 when the likes of Keenan Evans, Norense Odiase, Justin Gray, and Zach Smith were true freshmen that Tech has had as many true freshmen expected to contribute as is the case this season.
Fortunately, this year’s class is highly touted and features three four-star signees. It was ranked the No. 16 overall class in the nation and when combined with the nation’s No. 1 overall transfer class, there’s reason to believe that the newcomers Adams will be working with will be more than capable of keeping this program relevant on a national scale.
So, to begin getting our heads right with Texas Tech basketball, let’s dive into the roster and take a look at five players we are the most excited to see in action. And we will begin by taking a closer look at a player who made the brilliant decision to shun Tech’s most hated former coach.