The last few weeks, we have reviewed the top ten athletes, plays and games from the past school year. This week, we are going to review the top Texas Tech moments from the past school year.
This is a little different from plays or games, as this list may contain non-game moments or moments from former Red Raiders not currently in school. It’s about how we felt in the moment (or reaction to the moment) and going around thinking or boasting about that moment.
The qualifications are very similar to the previous lists we have done. How big was the sport that the moment occurred (due to pressure or the nation paying attention)? How often do we reflect on these moments? How do these moments represent Texas Tech? And how memorable will these moments be?
Once again, if you disagree with our list, feel free to comment below in an ordinary manor. Now here are the honorable mentions:
- Super Fan Eric — Anyone who has gone to a baseball game knows who this guy is. He’s passionate about the Red Raiders and pumps up the crowd. He even got his own separate camera during a game against Texas.
- Men’s Basketball Senior Day — This was a special moment for the seniors and those who watched them. Specifically for Keenan Evans, Zach Smith and Justin Gray, who were with the program when they were last in the Big 12. I thought about this making the list, but the crowd wasn’t as big as previous games, possibly due to a close loss to Kansas and a small losing streak.
- Dylan Dusek’s Cancer Buddy — This moment will be overlooked because it was during the middle of the College World Series, but it was cool to see a cancer survivor meet with someone with cancer as well and inspiring him. Real neat moment.
- Allen Fieldhouse Win — Texas Tech had never won at Allen Fieldhouse before, and we weren’t quite sure what to make of the basketball team. The win showed that Texas Tech was legit and finally had a winner in Lubbock once again.
- Keke Coutee gets drafted — It’s always neat to see the best player from your program get the chance to play professionally at the highest level. Coutee got picked in the fourth round by the Houston Texans, which is two hours from his hometown of Lufkin.
- Big 12 Track and Field Champions — Once again, the Texas Tech Men’s Track and Field took home the Big 12 championship. However, they dominated this one, earning 165 points, the most since the Big 12 realigned.
- Women’s Tennis Advances to Elite Eight — For the second time in two years, the Women’s Tennis team advanced to the Elite Eight, and they pulled off an upset to do it.
No. 10 Danny Amendola Gets Recognition
Why This Was Chosen?: Amendola is been unappreciated by the national media and even sometimes by his previous team’s fans (Patriots). Well this year he finally got the attention he deserved. The 2017-2018 year was the year of Amendola.
When the Patriots loss Julian Edelman for the year, they needed someone to replicate his production on the field. Amendola stepped right up and did excellent. He converted a large amount of 3rd down conversions (the “Drink everytime he catches a 3rd down pass” is a bad idea) and was third on the team in catches and yards.
However, the biggest moment is when the postseason began, and he lived up to his Danny “Playoff” Amendola nickname. He converted multiple third down conversion against Tennessee and was Brady’s main target during the Patriots fourth quarter comeback against Jacksonville, where he caught five passes for 56 yards and two clutch touchdowns.
Everyone was talking about Amendola and his performance on the season and playoffs. But he did more than just play football. Dola seemed to be everywhere. He went to Mexico to represent the NFL, was a guest on Texas Tech’s College Gameday (below), had songs named after him (Lola and Hallelujah), finally got paid after taking several paycuts and dated a super model. It was ridiculous.
It was great to see Amendola get recognized. Now he gets to play with fellow Red Raider Jakeem Grant in Miami. I hope he keeps on performing well (just not against the Patriots please, thanks).
No. 9 Patrick Mahomes Hype Train
Why This Was Chosen?: Mahomes was phenomenal at Texas Tech and became the highest Red Raider taken in the NFL draft since Michael Crabtree was selected in 2009. So many fans followed Mahomes when he went to the NFL. He only started one game, but the hype around Mahomes since the preseason has been insane.
In the postseason, he was an instant highlight machine, making plays that we didn’t even see at Tech. Those Kansas City Chiefs fans who were skeptics started to become believers after watching the preseason.
Alex Smith started the first 15 games and their playoff game, but with the No. 4 seed cemented, Andy Reid showed his project to the world in Denver. He had some good plays and gave the Chiefs a lead. Reid took him out in the second half, but when the game was tied, he put Mahomes back in to win it. And he did just that.
After the season ended, the Chiefs traded Smith, who was considered an MVP candidate, basically giving Mahomes the starting job next season. It sent shockwaves around the NFL and the hype train following Mahomes started to really take off.
The former Tech QB also has been in attendance for a lot of Texas Tech events and consistently reps the Red Raiders outside of Lubbock. No matter what Tech event you go to, there is always a Patrick Mahomes jersey in the crowd. The West Texas people love embracing the future Chiefs quarterback.
No. 8 Make A Wish Kids At Spring Practice
Why This Was Chosen?: It’s always a special moment whenever you can make a kid’s day. Zachary and Dylan were both part of the Make-A-Wish foundation and were about to have an awesome day.
They didn’t know they were going to get into the game at first (according to this video), but found out they were going to dress up and actually be on the field during the scrimmage.
Zachary took his lone carry of the game down the right sideline, evaded some tacklers and ran into the endzone for a 20 yard touchdown. He took a knee in the endzone, and the team hoisted him on their shoulders.
Dylan’s touchdown wasn’t a run play like Zachary’s, as his was a 20 yard slant into the endzone. A majority of the touchdowns you see from Make-A-Wish children are runs, so it was unique to see a passing touchdown. Dylan was also hoisted on their shoulders.
This was the second year in a row that the Red Raider participated in this event, and it’s awesome to see the reaction from the kids every time.
— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) April 7, 2018
And Jett Duffey hit another young fan named Dylan on a deep post. pic.twitter.com/6cn1OjxxK0
— David Ubben (@davidubben) April 7, 2018
No. 7 Dakota Allen Makes His Return
Why This Was Chosen?: Allen got kicked off the team after the 2015 season and went to East Mississippi Community College in order to get his football career back on track. His story there and his performance for the Red Raiders last season makes quite the moment.
First off, if you watch Last Chance U, you know that a lot of the players on this show don’t always have their best moments. Whether it’s attitude, or grades, or how one is acting, they aren’t always the best. Not Allen though.
Especially highlighted in the fourth episode of the series, they portray Allen as a born again Christian who knew he messed up and was looking to get his football career back on track. He showed concern for his grades and expressed interest on wanting to return to Texas Tech.
Allen was shown as a positive role model on the show, and continued to do so when he returned to Lubbock. He also killed it on the football field, with 101 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. He did so well that he earned All-Big 12 second team honors at linebacker, was voted preseason first team for the 2018 season and is on the Bednarik Award watch list for the best defensive player in college football.
With his popularity among Tech fans and the nation, it’s cool to see Allen do well and provide a good example and recruiting tool for the Red Raiders.
No. 6 Zhaire Smith Gets Drafted
Why This Was Chosen?: The last time a Texas Tech player was on an active roster was 2012 when Tony Battie was at the end of his run. The last time a Texas Tech player was draft was Andre Emmett in 2004 (Battie last first rounder in 1997). Zhaire Smith ended those streaks.
No one expected heading into the 2017-18 season that Zhaire Smith was going to be the first one-and-done player in Texas Tech history. Hell, there had never been an ESPN 100 recruit go one-and-done either. Zhaire didn’t even think he would go pro.
But he showed out early and often his freshman year. You could tell in the scrimmage that Tech had something. He eventually became a starter and was the Red Raider’s second best player this season. As expected after his NCAA Tournament performance, he declared for the NBA Draft.
Zhaire could’ve gone in the lottery, but didn’t have to wait long after that, as he was seleected by the Pheonix Suns with the 16th overall pick. However, that didn’t last long, as he was quickly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, a team with NBA Finals potential.
It’s another moment where you could tell how far along the program had come. I’m sure some (like myself) thought Tech would never get a one-and-done, especially with the NBA rules likely changing soon. But as Zhaire often did this season, he rejected it (FYI, I love that Avery Bradley comparison in the video below. Have a lot in common).