Texas Tech guard Pop Isaacs will be tough to replace after entering the transfer portal

The sophomore averaged 15.8 points and 3.5 assists to earn third-team All-Big 12 honors this season.

Texas Tech v Houston
Texas Tech v Houston / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

This offseason, the Texas Tech basketball program will have plenty of holes to fill. The largest will be what 2023-24's leading scorer, Pop Isaacs, leaves behind after the sophomore's reported entrance into the transfer portal.

This past season had to be a true test for the Las Vegas, Nevada native. Not only was he playing through a torn labrum that had to make life on the court difficult but also, he was playing while his father battled cancer and amid a civil lawsuit that claimed he perpetrated sexual assault against a 17-year-old female in the Bahamas in November.

As a result of those allegations, Isaacs was constantly and lustily jeered and taunted during road games. Yet, to his credit, he stayed the course and started all 34 games of the season.

Earning third-team All-Big 12 honors, Isaacs averaged 15.8 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. He put up 20 or more points nine times and he scored in double figures 26 times.

However, at times, Isaacs was an inefficient player. His 3-point shooting fell from 37.8% as a freshman to just 29.3% this season. Yet, he still fired away 7.3 times per game from beyond the arc, by far the most on the team.

What's more, his offensive rating (an estimate of how many points a player is responsible for per 100 possessions) was only 100.5. That's a significant decrease from the 102.9 offensive rating he had as a freshman.

As one might expect with a player who was as up-and-down as Isaacs was this season, the perception of him among the fan base is split.

Those who hate to see him depart are quick to point to the fact that he was the team's leading scorer. As such, he had some huge games where he carried the Red Raiders including a 32-point effort in the win over BYU in Lubbock in January and a 21-point game he put forth in Austin to help the Red Raiders beat the Longhorns on the road to open Big 12 play.

However, those who criticize his shot selection and his inefficiency have their games to point to as well. For instance, in Tech's first-round NCAA Tournament loss to NC State, he was just 3-16 from the floor and 1-10 from 3-point range. Then there was the loss to Houston in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament where he was 2-13 from the floor and 1-6 from 3-point range on his way to a season-low six points.

While those of either perspective have points of merit to stand on, no reasonable Red Raider fan can conclude that Isaac's impending departure will be anything other than significant. Even if this is a move that is being encouraged by the coaching staff, finding another 15-point scorer to pace the offense won't be easy.

Tech now has to replace at least three of its starting five this offseason with Joe Toussaint and Warren Washington having exhausted their eligibility. That's a total of 37.7 points, 9.5 assists, and 13.2 rebounds per game that will be gone from the starting five next year. Certainly, Grant McCasland has his work cut out for him as he looks to rebuild his roster in the upcoming days and weeks.