Texas Tech basketball players that showed impressive improvement in 2023-24

Chance McMillian, Darrion Williams, and Kerwin Walton each took their games to a new level for Texas Tech in 2023-24.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Pittsburgh
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Pittsburgh / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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No one knows what to expect in the first year of a new coaching staff's tenure. Fortunately, the Texas Tech basketball program proved to be a pleasant surprise this past season under first-year head coach Grant McCasland.

The program was in shambles when McCasland took over in April. Tech was coming off a 16-16 season that included just a 5-13 mark in Big 12 play.

What's more, the slimy Mark Adams era left many people around Lubbock disenchanted about the state of Red Raider hoops. Then, to make matters worse, the Red Raiders had to replace five of their top six scorers from the previous season.

So to say that the program was in a rough place this time last year would be an understatement. That's why the job McCasland did in year one in Lubbock was so impressive.

Improving Tech's win total by seven wins in one year, finishing tied for third in the Big 12 regular season, and getting to the NCAA Tournament were tremendous accomplishments for the coaching staff. What's more, several players showed impressive improvement under McCasland and Co. Let's look at how those players took a step forward and where they might still be able to improve.

Chance McMillian proved he can compete at a high level for Texas Tech

At first glance, Chance McMillian didn't seem to show a ton of improvements this year, at least statistically. In 2022-23, he scored 10.9 points per game and this year he averaged 10.8 per game.

What's more, his 3-point shooting fell from 44.4% in 2022-23 to 38.7% this season. So why is it fair to suggest he improved as a player?

The answer is that he did it against much tougher competition this season. For his first three years, McMillan played for Grand Canyon in the Western Athletic Conference. During that time he played a total of four games against teams from one of the six major conferences in the sport.

This year, in the Big 12 gauntlet, McMillian proved that he is more than just a mid-major talent. In fact, he played some of his best games against top competition. McMillian had 24 points at Butler, 27 at Oklahoma, 19 at TCU, and 17 against BYU in the Big 12 Tournament.

The difference in McMillian's season this year and last year can be measured in his strength of schedule. At Grand Canyon in 2022-23, his strength of schedule was just 1.27 according to SportsReference.com meaning that it was 1.27 points above the national average. At Tech in 2023-24, that number jumped to 9.28.

Though McMillian started only one game this past season, he was a player McCasland often turned to when games hit crunch time. Along the way, he proved capable of playing against top-flight opponents and showed that he can be a winning player in the toughest conference in America.