Basketball

Texas Tech Hoops – New Faces & Reloading

The Big 12 preseason rankings did not show us the love that we all know we deserve. Texas Tech came in at #7 out of 10 in the recent voting. It is alright, we have been here before and will have to prove ourselves to the rest of the conference and college basketball nation that we are not going anywhere. Time to show that our Red Raiders should always be considered a top tier hoops team in the stacked Big 12 conference.

In order to gain respect we need to demonstrate that Texas Tech can reload our roster each and every season, and that we do not go through the cycle of rebuilding stages like most CBB programs experience. Getting to the Elite Eight would not have happened without Keenan Evans, Zhaire Smith, Niem Stevenson, Zach Smith, Tommy Hamilton, and Justin Gray. Yet, now they are gone. We do not have those players on the roster, so it is going to be the new crop of talent combined with the other returners that has to prove to everyone that the Red Raiders are still a contender.

The college basketball blue bloods don’t rebuild, they reload. To gain that upper status and get the respect each season no matter the key departures on the roster, it will take time to prove our worth. Get back on top and make a run at the Big 12 regular season title, along with making a deep postseason run in March Madness with a set of some fresh faces will do wonders to how the Texas Tech basketball program is viewed by the outsiders.

Here are those new faces…

Matt Mooney, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from South Dakota

Mooney, who played his freshman season at Air Force before transferring to South Dakota after the 2014-15 season, was one of the top guards in the Summit League last season. A first team all-conference selection, Mooney averaged 18.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in leading the Coyotes to 26 wins and second-place finish in the Summit League.

Mooney shot 44.5 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from three and 82.9 percent from the foul line, finishing the season with an effective field goal percentage of 51.8 percent.

Tariq Owens, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from St. John’s

As a junior, Owens notched 8.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game with the Red Storm. He finished with 94 blocks to lead the Big East Conference, averaging 2.8 blocks per contest. Owens, who is considered a rim protector by 247Sports director of basketball scouting Jerry Meyer, recorded four or more blocks in eight games.

As a comparison, Tony Battie and Brodney Kennard are the only Texas Tech players to average over 2.0 blocks per game for a season in program history.

“To me, the big thing is it adds to the defense,” Meyer said Monday of Owens. “Tech had a great team this past year. He gives them great athleticism and can protect the rim. Adds another dimension with his 6-11, 205-pound frame on offense and defense.”

Deshawn Corprew, Sophomore, Guard, JUCO Transfer South Plains College

“His outside shot, you have to respect it, but I don’t think he thinks that’s his go-to. Right now, he’s hard to stay in front of. He can get the ball to the rim on you.”

Corprew agreed that getting to the rim is his forte.

“And right now, I’m trying to be the best defender I can be,” he said, “and trying to be a leader on the court also so my team can follow me. I’m more a pass-first guy, because I’m a team player. Right now, I’m really trying to be a leader on the court, just get everybody involved.”

Kyler Edwards, Freshman, Guard, Findlay Prep

Edwards, a 6-4 guard from Arlington, Texas, is playing his final season of prep basketball at the prestigious Findlay Prep in Nevada. He received close to 30 scholarship offers and chose the Red Raiders over Butler, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.

Edwards amassed 22.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during his junior season at Arlington Bowie High School. He was tabbed the District 4-6A Offensive Player of the Year.

Josh Mballa, Freshman, Forward, Putnam Science Academy

Mballa is a 6’8″ kid with a 7’1″ wingspan, and his intangibles read like Chris Beard’s dream player. A New England recruiting website described Mballa as a “6-foot-8 forward with a long and chiseled frame, he’s a good athlete who plays with a high motor and has the potential to be a high volume rebounder, finisher, and versatile defender.”

The Putnam Science Academy coach added this: “Josh is one of the toughest players that has come through our program. His combination of strength, athleticism and versatility makes him extremely unique. This is a late steal and a great fit for both Josh and Texas Tech. Coach Mark Adams did a great job of making a connection with Josh and was consistent in recruiting him all season.”

Khavon Moore, Freshman, Forward, Westside High School

Moore is regarded by ESPN.com as a four-star recruit at No. 39 nationally and ranked No. 44 nationally by Rivals.com in the Class of 2018. The Georgia native chose Texas Tech over Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Oklahoma, Providence, UCLA and USC.

Moore averaged 22 points and nine rebounds per game during his junior season. He is a multi-dimensional wing player that can play three positions on both sides of the floor. Moore possesses a strong ability to play on the ball, create for others and is a volume rebounder. He has amassed over 2,000 career points during his high school career.

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Mooney and Owens as graduate transfers are obviously going to get a lot of minutes and be big contributors to this roster. I feel that Corprew will have to fight for his playing time, but if he shines he could be a wildcard and surprise us all. The incoming frosh have some huge shoes to fill, but we all know that Chris Beard is not afraid to start freshmen if they show that they have what it takes to be a leader on the roster.

My thoughts are that these new faces will be the roster reload that is needed to help get Texas Tech back to the top of the Big 12 this season. It will only take time to prove to the nation that we should be respected in the preseason rankings. Wreck ’em Tech!!!

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