By and large, Chris Walker’s Red Raiders have fared as
expected in the non-conference portion of their schedule. Tech stands with a
7-4 record as the team prepares for its conference opener at TCU. Losses to
Arizona, Arizona State and Alabama were expected, as were wins over a variety
of inconsequential opponents from the South. The five-point home loss to
McNeese State was the only nasty surprise so far. (In their next outing,
McNeese lost by 34 to North Carolina.)
Still, the Red Raiders have not shown that they will likely
make any noise in the Big 12 this season. The team is too immature,
inconsistent and undisciplined to compete at a high level. What’s more, a raft
of newcomers have so far not provided the hoped for fillip which would propel
the Tech program to even modestly higher heights. It appears as though the new
additions will not make a truly positive impact until next season.
Below is a thumbnail report on the
newcomers, as well as the veterans, and a rating on a scale of 1-100.
Jaye Crockett: The
junior forward from Clovis, New Mexico is clearly the best player on the roster
even though he’s had two bad games in his last three outings. Crockett averages
15 points and nine rebounds per game, and also has 14 steals. Like most of his
teammates though, turnovers are a problem for Crockett; he has committed 22.
Crockett’s outside shot has also tailed off. Early in the season it looked as
though he had developed three-point range. Presently, however, he is shooting only
27 percent from deep.
Josh Gray: Tech’s
point guard certainly has his weaknesses. He’s not much of a shooter, turns the
ball over far too much, and doesn’t run the fast break particularly well, but
he is still very valuable to the team. Gray has the quickness and craftiness to
break down most any defender off the dribble, and most important of all, his
steals are the most important engine for Tech’s offensive success. Gray
currently averages 2.4 steals per contest, which leads the team.
Dejan Kravic: The
Serbo-Canadian big man is actually having a fairly
solid season. He leads the Red Raiders in blocked shots with 19, shoots 59
percent from the floor and has dished out 17 assists. Kravic is a very good
interior passer and shows promise as a distributor from the high post. His
hands and had strength are liabilities. Far too often he gets his hands on
rebounds only to have them knocked or taken away. Kravic averages five caroms
per game; he should average at least seven.
Jamal Williams: Williams
is a rather quiet player, but is no less effective for the “silence.” He is
hitting on 35 percent of his three point attempts and 80 percent of his free
throws. Williams averages over three rebounds per game (not bad for a
six-foot-four guard), and has 18 assists to only 10 turnovers. Williams is a
mature, steadying influence on a team that needs it badly.
Jordan Tolbert: The
forward from Fort Worth has hit a brick wall following a freshman season in
which he made a strong run at Newcomer of the Year honors in the Big 12. Not
that Tolbert is playing poorly, it’s just that he never
comes close to dominating games as he did when he was a freshman. Although he
has only fouled out once, Tolbert often seems to get into early foul trouble
and then never gets into the rhythm of the game. One wonders
if he might do better coming off the bench.
Kader Tapsoba: If any player deserves more minutes, it’s Tapsoba. He’s currently averaging only 7.5 minutes per
contest, yet still has eight blocks, and averages three points and three
rebounds per game. Tapsoba makes a positive impact
nearly every time he sets foot on the court, and makes few mistakes. Look for Tapsoba to be a major factor in what the Red Raiders do in
Dusty Hannahs: The freshman from Arkansas is Texas Tech’s
designated shooter, and is beginning to emerge in that role. He currently
connects on 42 percent of his shots from downtown and has yet to miss a free
throw. Hannahs has also been respectable on the
defensive end. Hannahs will never be a distributor,
nor will he catalyze the offense from the defensive end, but if he can prove to
be a reliable deep threat, that’s good enough.
Toddrick Gotcher: There’s
nothing in the stat sheet to indicate Gotcher has
done anything special, but some players contribute in intangible ways. Gotcher is one of them. He brings energy, effort and a
positive attitude to the court for the Red Raiders. Gotcher
is also a very good on-the-ball defender.
Daylen Robinson: If there’s one player who
symbolizes Tech’s inconsistency, it’s Robinson. There are times when he
provides a major spark, but far too many others where he hurts the team.
Robinson is second on the team in assists, second in turnovers and second in
steals. He has not, however, shot well from the line, the field and the
Trency Jackson: Jackson
averages 23 minutes per game (trailing only Crockett and Gray), and it’s hard
to understand why. Jackson shoots 29 percent from the field, 57 percent from
the charity stripe, and has 22 turnovers to only 11 assists. He plays hard on
defense, but that is not enough to justify his minutes.