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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Kerwin Walton became a surprise starter for Texas Tech

When the 2023-24 season fired up, absolutely no one expected Kerwin Walton to make 26 starts for the Red Raiders. Of course, the season-ending knee injury to Devan Cambridge necessitated that move. However, McCasland could have started any player on the team (such as McMillian) and instead, he went with Walton.

2022-23 was a disaster for the former North Carolina transfer in his first year at Texas Tech. He appeared in only 27 games and started only 7. He saw a mere 12.8 minutes per game and he scored only 3.6 points per game.

What's more, he was a liability on defense. In fact, at times last season, it looked like he had no interest in putting forth any effort on that end of the floor.

This season, though, he took a step forward and became a nice piece for the Red Raiders. Playing 24.5 minutes per game, he averaged 8.5 points and 2.4 boards.

Interestingly, his offensive rating, an estimate of the number of points a player produces per 100 possessions, rose from 119.3 last season to 135.9 this year. What's more, he shot a career-best 47.8% from 3-point range despite attempting a career-high 2.4 shots from beyond the arc per game.

On defense, Walton also made strides. Though he wasn't a lock-down defender, he was at least a willing participant on that side of the floor. He even averaged 3.9 rebounds per game, also a career-high. (The fact that McCasland was able to motivate Walton to try on defense is a sign of how good of a coach he is.)

Walton isn't ever likely to be a star but he can be a useable piece. His 3-point shooting is an asset any team would value on offense and his long arms make him a useable defender when he puts forth effort in that area.

This season, Walton showed signs of wanting to do more than just stand at the 3-point line and hoist jumpers. Though that's what he'll always be best at, he also showed that he can be a respectable player in other areas of the game, especially on defense, and that was nice to see from the senior in 2023-24.