Basketball

Texas Tech Basketball Notebook: Preseason Rankings and Polls

The orange roundball season is getting close.

When I did this exercise, I didn’t have every player included because Terrence Shannon, Jr., Kevin Obanor, and Bryson Williams on the roster breakdown because they had not committed to play for Texas Tech (Shannon was still deciding between the NBA and returning).

The entire team is good at shooting the ball and I think the key will be how well the team does at creating shots without a traditional point guard. It’s the reason we’ll see so much dribble-drive and bigs hanging out on the perimeter making shots and creating opportunities that way. I think the other interesting thing is that the Shannon really isn’t a good rebounder and he’s an okay passer. I generally think that if Shannon improves on those areas and shooting, he’ll be drafted. I feel a bit cheap giving that green-box to anything over 35% for three-point shooters because you get to be really good above 40%, see Calhoun and Obanor.

This is maybe the most complete team that Texas Tech has had in quite some time. There’s not a true center and there’s not a true point guard, but there are serviceable players who can do those things.

Both KenPom and T-Rank came out with their preseason rankings and I think that the range of 15 to 25 seemed about right for this team. There’s a lot to prove and a lot of new players. That shouln’t be surprising to not be ranked acocording to the preseason AP poll or to see advanced stats have Texas Tech as high as #12 because there are a lot of talented players that are on this team. The AP Top 25 College Basketball Poll was released yesterday with Texas Tech “receiving votes” and basically 33rd.

KenPom

T-Rank

Kansas’ Taylor Eldridge has the details from the not-so-secret scrimmage between Texas Tech in Wichita State in Wichita Falls. there were three different segments, a half-court segment, then two 20-minute scrimmages. Wichita State won the half-court segment 18-12 and the second scrimmage 33-31, but Texas Tech won the first scrimmage 52-28. Texas Tech was without Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon, Jr., both out with minor issues, nothing that will affect the season, and WSU was without starting center Morris Udeze.

In the first scrimmage, WSU coach Isaac Brown rotated all 10 players in his rotation, according to multiple sources, and Texas Tech pounded the Shockers, 52-28. Bryson Williams (25 points) and Kevin Obanor (14 points) were the top scorers for the Red Raiders in the combined scrimmages.

Texas Tech’s Wes Bloomquist writes about the story of Bryson Williams, who may be one of the better players on the team this year. Go read the whole thing. Promise you won’t regret it.

Back in the gym on that morning, it’s 6:05 a.m. when Bryson walks out of the locker room and heads over to the rack of balls on the wall. It’s about as silent as it will ever get in the Womble practice facility in this moment with only the court lights on – strikingly different than the madhouse it will be the rest of the day. For the next hour, Bryson, Batcho and Marcus will go through a series of drills with graduate assistant Ty Nurse and student managers Marlei Burrowes and Jake Hirst. There’s a layup drill where they are alternating hands and sides of the rim, arcing shots over foam sticks and shot fakes that are followed by attacking the rim with thunderous dunks that reverberate throughout the otherwise silent gym. Left-handed hook shots are followed by right-handed hook shots and then drills working on jumpers, free throws and spin moves come one after another. Everything he’s doing you can tell he’s done countless times before. Everything is with purpose.

“I believe he’s showing me how to be great,” Batcho says. “I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as he does every day. Nothing stops him. I just look at him sometimes and say, ‘damn’. He’s an animal. You can just tell nothing is going to get in his way.”

“His work ethic is what separates him,” adds Texas Tech Director of Scouting Darshawn McClennan. “He is so hungry and driven to make it. He does whatever it takes to be successful, whether that’s diving on the court for a loose ball during a game or waking up at 5 a.m. for morning workouts and then coming back late at night to get in more shots every day during the summer. Bryson never stops working.”

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