A Texas native that Texas Tech basketball needs to prioritize in the portal

JT Toppin who played at New Mexico last season, should be a high-priority target for Texas Tech in the transfer portal.
Jan 20, 2024; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; New Mexico Lobos forward JT Toppin (15) in the second
Jan 20, 2024; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; New Mexico Lobos forward JT Toppin (15) in the second / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A big name entered the transfer portal on Tuesday and it is one that the Texas Tech basketball team needs to prioritize. New Mexico freshman forward JT Toppin is a Texas native who would fit perfectly on the Red Raider roster.

The 6-foot-9, 210-pounder who played his high school basketball in Dallas instantly became one of the best players available once he entered the portal. He averaged 12.4 points and an impressive 9.1 rebounds per game this past season as a true freshman for the Lobos. That excellence made him a finalist for the Kyle Macy National Freshman of the Year Award.

The Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year could follow in the footsteps of current Texas Tech Red Raider, Darrion Williams, who was the MWC Freshman of the Year in 2022-23 at Nevada before joining Grant McCasland's program for his sophomore campaign.

“I would like to start off by saying how incredibly grateful I am for every moment spent at the University of New Mexico,” Toppin posted on his Instagram account.

“... This past season has been truly transformative, filled with many great lessons. However, at this time, I have decided to also enter the transfer portal as I move forward with the next steps in my career.”

The Red Raiders are likely in search of a player who has Toppin's skill set. Needing more scoring from the wing, the Red Raiders would love to add a player of his size who is versatile enough to guard multiple positions on the court while also being a big enough offensive threat to worry opposing teams.

Also, adding Toppin would give the team a much-needed insurance policy in case wing Devan Cambridge isn't ready to play at full strength to open the season after tearing a knee ligament in early December. With the way the roster is currently constructed, Tech would need to rely on Cambridge rather heavily right out of the gates but with Toppin in the mix, Cambridge would be able to ease his way back into game shape after a year of rehabilitation.

There have been no reports of contact between Texas Tech and Toppin so far. However, rumors are swirling online that the Red Raiders are going to be a player in his recruitment. That would be a wise move on McCasland's part because Toppin could transform the Texas Tech roster into a true Big 12 contender.