Though we are almost to Independence Day, the Texas Tech basketball team continues to try to put together its roster for the upcoming season. That endeavor could take a major step forward this week as one of the top remaining guards in the portal is set to pay a visit to Lubbock.
In the wake of Bob Huggins’ resignation as head coach at West Virginia, Mountaineer guard Joe Toussaint has entered the transfer portal and according to college hoops insider Jon Rothstein, the New York native will be visiting Kansas State and Texas Tech over the next few days.
This visit comes just as we learned on Monday that recent verbal commit, Dishon Jackson, is now going to attend Charlotte, where he was originally committed before giving a verbal to the Red Raiders last week. That leaves one scholarship still open for Grant McCasland to play with. However, Toussaint and Jackson are vastly different players meaning trading one for the other might not make perfect sense.
Jackson is a 6-foot-10 back-to-the-basket center who was going to provide Tech with some much-needed size down low. Now that he’s off the roster, McCasland again has a lack of height with Arizona State transfer Warren Washington now the only player on the roster over 6-foot-8.
Toussaint certainly won’t help in that regard. At just 6 feet tall he’s a point guard who might make Tech’s backcourt even smaller than it was a season ago.
On the other hand, he is capable of putting the ball in the bucket and proven scorers are something that Texas Tech does not have a wealth of. Thus, McCasland might be ready to roll out the red carpet for Toussaint.
Last season, he averaged 9.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in 34 appearances. Those numbers came in only 21.7 minutes per outing as one of the better backup guards in the conference.
Red Raider fans should remember this player because he had arguably the best game of his career when the Mountaineers came to Lubbock this past season. Playing 28 minutes, he racked up 22 points (thanks largely to 12 of 14 shooting at the free-throw line), 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists as the Mountaineers overcame a large early deficit to pull away from the home team. Last season, he also put 20 points on Baylor and had a 19-point outburst against Iowa State.
However, would he be a natural fit playing next to another small guard, Pop Isaacs? On one hand, he isn’t as much of a spot-up shooter as Isaacs is with Toussaint averaging just 3 attempts per game from beyond the arc last season (less than half of the 3-point shots Isaacs took on average). Rather, Toussaint is more of a player who will create offense off the dribble, which would be a change of pace from Isaacs.
On the other hand, though, both players are smaller than the average Big 12 guard. Though the Red Raiders now have plenty of size on the wings thanks in part to the addition of Arizona State transfer Devan Cambridge, playing Toussaint next to Isaacs could leave Tech undersized in the backcourt for the second year in a row and that proved to be a problem last season so one could assume the same struggles might arise in 2023-24.
Still, Tech needs to add players who are natural scorers to the roster and Toussaint is certainly that. Therefore, his presence on the team might be welcomed despite his lack of elite stature.
Also, this will be an interesting recruiting battle between McCasland, who has landed a commitment from every player he’s convinced to visit Lubbock thus far, and Jerome Tang, the wildly popular and personable second-year Kansas State head coach who reminds many of the college basketball version of Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire when it comes to charisma and charm.
What we do know is that McCasland is not satisfied with where his roster sits at the moment as the pursuit of immediate-impact players remains a priority. So keep an eye on the news concerning Toussaint this week because he appears destined to be a factor in the Big 12 again next season, whether that be for the Red Raiders or not.