On Tuesday, we recapped our honorable mentions and the No. 10-6 moments from the past year. Today, we’re going to review our No. 5-1. If you disagree with something in this list, feel free to comment below in a civil manor.
No. 5 Keenan Evans to Zhaire Smith
Why This Was Chosen?: This is likely on the Mount Rushmore of moments Texas Tech Men’s Basketball fans will never forget. This is as high as Daryl Dora’s three against Kansas and below Darvin Ham breaking the backboard against North Carolina.
If you don’t know, I’m talking about Keenan Evans ally-oop to Zhaire Smith against Florida. The game was coming to an end, and the Red Raiders had made several defensive stops in the past couple minutes. Now they were up three with about 30 seconds left.
Keenan Evans got a pick from Zach Smith, crossed over the defender, headed towards the paint, and threw the ball up to a wide open Zhaire Smith. The arena erupted, and even though the game wasn’t over, it felt like Tech just punched a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.
It ended a great game, helped Texas Tech advance to a very important Sweet Sixteen and was the key moment of the game. The crowd had a great reaction to the play, and many will remember that play for a long time. You can guarantee this will be played at the USA for a long time.
It also got the “Titanic” treatment, which is always used for big moments, and was compared to the Kobe to Shaq ally-oop nearly 20 years earlier. What a play and moment.
Keenan Evans to Zhaire Smith WOWWW pic.twitter.com/XpVsEgEYH5
— Matt Spendley (@mattspendley) March 18, 2018
Kobe to Shaq
Keenan Evans to Zhaire Smith
— 🏀🚢🎶TITANIC HOOPS🏀🚢🎶 (@TitanicHoops) March 18, 2018
No. 4 Justus Parker Gets A Scholarship
Why This Was Chosen?: Much like the Make-A-Wish kids, the videos announcing scholarships for walk-ons has also become a popular event during the football offseason. Texas Tech had a pretty good one during the winter, giving a deserved player a scholarship.
Justus Parker had balled out during the season. He came to Lubbock from Texas Lutheran as a walk-on, eventually started, and just kept on making plays (Eight turnovers on the year). He had a couple turnovers and a touchdown against Kansas, nearly had a pick-six against Iowa State, and a game changing interception against Texas.
Parker was rewarded by being told that he wasn’t going to pay for school anymore. After their biggest win of the season (or both teams), Parker and the team were shown a video from Texas Tech great Danny Amendola and one of the greatest TE ever in Rob Gronkowski that he was on scholarship. The room exploded.
This video was seen by sports networks across the country, as ESPN, Sports Illustrated and even non-sport networks like The Today Show. Parker became the scholarship announcement video of the year.
Parker proceeded to earn All-Big 12 second team honors and is now one of the key members of the growing Texas Tech defense.
No. 3 College World Series Dogpile
Why This Was Chosen?: This moment has happened before, as the Red Raiders have gone to the College World Series three times. This one isn’t as big as the first dogpile, but I believe it was bigger than the second one.
Although the first team was special because it was Texas Tech’s first trip to Omaha, this one was special because it showed that Tech baseball was going to be around for a while. The first two teams had the same core of guys, but this group was full of new guys, and that Tadlock was the ability to head to Omaha with anyone he recruits.
It also allowed guys who haven’t played in Omaha to go, as Grant Little and Zach Rheams were going pro, and guys like Josh Jung, Caleb Kilian, Gabe Holt among others had never gone.
And much like the first trip, Tech was not a national seed and needed a little bit of help along the way. They also had some key injuries to the rotation that perhaps lowered expectations as well.
For the next several years, the fans of the baseball program expect to recruit well, be in the conversation for a national seed and plan to make a deep run in the postseason. Dogpiles never get old.
— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) June 12, 2018
— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) June 12, 2018
No. 2 College Gameday Experience
Why This Was Chosen?: Remember how crazy it was when College Gameday came to town back in 2008? I didn’t even know who Texas Tech was at the time so of course I have no recollection of the event, but that moment (along with the win over Texas) was the most memorable moment in Texas Tech history.
So for the basketball fans who saw that Lubbock was getting College Gameday, this moment was huge. Although a regular season basketball game doesn’t have the impact of a football game, and the injuries and recent losses made the game not as big as it could’ve been, it was still a huge moment.
Students started lining up for the event on Friday afternoon (I joined the line around 4 a.m.) that stretched all the way across the rec fields. People started coming in an hour and a half before Gameday, and it became a party. Music was blaring, Chris Beard gave the best speech I’ve heard at Texas Tech and the Red Raiders got plenty of national attention.
The game was pretty epic too, despite the loss. The student line started during Gameday, and the stands were packed with Red Raider fans in black. Everyone was dancing during the timeouts, Tech brought out a few distinguished guests and the crowd was loud and wild.
That game (along with the record and postseason play, obviously) helped put Texas Tech on the map. The Red Raiders landed a few recruits, and everyone learned about the program Chris Beard is building in Lubbock.
No. 1 Team Luk3
Why This Was Chosen?: Although this moment wasn’t as popular as the previous examples, sometimes sports is just that. Sports. They are just games. However, sometimes sports can affect our lives in many different ways. Team Luk3 is a perfect example.
For those who don’t know the story by now, Luke Siegel, the son of former Texas Tech’s tennis coach Tim Siegel, had an accident on a golf cart and was at the University Medical Center for 44 days before heading to Fort Worth for a few months.
Since then, they’ve been dedicated to helping those families who have had problems funding their children’s medical bills for head injuries. And one of their biggest supporters have been Texas Tech, who have helped and advertised for them along the way.
What’s great about this, is that unlike the other moments on our list, is one stretches across all sports. They have videos of coaching supporting the foundatio, players repping Team Luke3 gear, and advertise them during gameday events
For example, during the College Gameday, where Tech had a chance to advertise their program, the players came out wearing Team Luk3 T-shirts, bringing the cause to a national spotlight. Baseball had a Team Luk3/Hope For Minds day at the ballpark.
We’ve seen plenty of players wearing gear casually as well. Jarrter Culver and Zhaire Smith had been spotted with their gear, the Women’s golf and soccer team has worn Team Luk3 shirts, other programs (like Iowa State tennis) have worn Team Luke3 shirts as well. Even famous athletes like Rafael Nadal and Drew Brees have reached out.
There’s plenty of others I could mention as well. This has became something much bigger than sports, and it’s real neat to see the whole athletic department support such a great cause.