The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2019.03.26

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Leading Off

Wells at Touchdown Club. Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells will be at the Touchdown Club of Houston on April 17th for a luncheon. You can click on the link to contact for tickets to the event.

Texas Tech Golf

Lady Raider Basketball

Erin Grant Won’t Return to Coaching Staff; Mia Castaneda, Eryka Sidney, Kiara Shoals, and Angel Hayden Will Not Return. There’s a lot to unpack here. Grant was the former Red Raider who returned as an assistant coach and I sort of got the feeling that she was pretty darned good at her job. But she really wasn’t part of Marlene Stollings’ crew, her group of core coaches. My best frame of reference is Chris Beard, who seemingly traveled with a core group of coaches throughout his stops. They went where he went unless the coaches left for greener pastures. Loyalty going both ways. Grant was an outsider in terms of Stollings’ circle of coaches from what I could tell, i.e. she didn’t have any prior relationships with Stollings.

As far as the players, this is the ugly side of collegiate sports, but it happens, even with Beard. Josh Webster and Shadell Millinghouse are two names that stick out to me and there could be others that I’m just not remembering. These guys were just asked not to come back, mostly because Beard probably told them that they would not be contributing and Beard thought that he could get better. That’s probably what happened here. Castaneda, Sydney, and Shoals were all junior college transfers that arrived this past year as a result of Stolling’s recruiting (again, same could be said about Webster and Millinghouse who were also JUCO transfers recruited and signed by Beard), while Hayden was a sophomore from Canyon.

Texas Tech Baseball

Texas Tech 5, Stetson 4. Texas Tech would end up splitting the two-game series with Stetson and moves to 16-6 on the year after a weekend sweep of Michigan from Thursday through Saturday (Recap | Box Score. Bryce Bonnin had a really nice start, going 6 innings and allowing 1 run while striking out 4 and walking 3. Dane Haveman continues to struggle out of the pen, he allowed 3 runs in just 1.2 innings, all earned, while Ryan Sublette earned his first save of the year. A bit of a lineup change here as Doug Facendo got the start at DH, freshman Easton Murrell started at shortstop, and Dylan Neuse moved to the leadoff spot and centerfield. I get the impression that head coach Tim Tadlock is not done tinkering with the lineup.

Texas Tech has a weekend series with Kansas State coming up on Friday.

Texas Tech Basketball

Links! Well, there are some national folks writing about your Red Raiders and I’ll get to a few of them.

SI’s Ross Dellenger writes about how Texas Tech’s relentless defense is making a statement:

Beard is integral to this unit, too, but he admits that Adams—a 40-year veteran in the industry, longtime small-college head coach and Tech graduate—is his de facto defensive coordinator. Beard first met Adams when he was an assistant for Bobby Knight in Lubbock. The Knights, both Bobby and Pat, are part of the roots of Beard’s defensive emphasis, and the system leaks onto the recruiting trail. The staff targets players whom they believe can play aggressive defense and then convinces them to do so once they arrive. “You try to explain to the player that these are the things we do to do win. You got to get them to understand why and get them to agree with you,” Beard explains. “Once they say, ‘O.K., Coach, I want to win. I understand how important it is,’ then you got to get it done.” A good example of this is Mooney, who readily admits he was only a scorer at his last stop, showing up to Lubbock and realizing a stark truth: “Practice was defense over offense,” he said inside a celebratory locker room Sunday.

USA Today’s George Schroeder writes about Texas Tech’s possible deep run:

What we saw Sunday certainly was. The Red Raiders squeezed off driving routes and cut off passing lanes and closed out on shooters — usually allowing only a very difficult shot, often in a thicket of defenders — and then crashed the glass, typically allowing Buffalo just one chance.

Just as important was what happened on the other end. They worked patiently deep into the shot clock, passing and cutting, passing and cutting, passing and then, sometime just before the shot clock expired, shooting. Led by sophomore guard Jarrett Culver (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Odiase (14 points, 15 rebounds), all five starters scored at least 10 points. They shot 55 percent from inside the 3-point line.

“Tempo was everything,” Beard said. “We had no agenda to run with Buffalo. … We had to grind it out. We wanted Buffalo to play defense tonight and not just fast-break it.”

Bleacher/Report’s David Kenyon writes about how Jarrett Culver is a top rising NBA prospect:

“He’s a tough matchup,” Northern Kentucky coach John Brannen told reporters after losing to Texas Tech in the first round. “He can put the ball on the floor and score. We wanted to make him a passer. Wanted to have him have a high assist night. He had seven assists. We didn’t think that’s what he did well.”

While the statement felt like a slight underestimation, the point was well-taken. Culver can struggle with turnovers, as he showed against Buffalo with five of them. Still, his on-ball ability suggests a secondary playmaker role in the NBA.

Zhaire’s First NBA Bucket. Congrats to Zhaire Smith who made his first NBA bucket last night.

Back to Work. Head coach Chris Beard and the team is back to work before facing Michigan on Thursday. The #12 in the end of the video is I think the signee Andrei Savrasov that was signed at the beginning of the spring semester.

Texas Tech Football

Saddle Up | Episode #2. Episode #2 dropped last night, with this focus on the tight end position as well as the family aspect of the coaches, bringing the families to practices and just being around the facility. There were a few things on my end that stood out: I really liked listening to Joel Filani, I liked what he said . . . Dave Yost and the offensive folks continue to emphasize how fast they expect to practice, which is faster than last year . . . I continue to really like Alan Bowman as a human being and I hope that he’s the next version of Graham Harrell (i.e. a guy that’s here for four years, breaks records, and wins games). He’s asked to describe each of the tight ends, which he does. I also do not like Alan’s shirt (this is an obvious hot taek) . . . After a practice, head coach Matt Wells said that the practices are closed, but he said that if anyone ever has any family that is in town or just lives in the area, they are always welcome at practice and said to just tell Tommy McVay or Antonio Huffman . . . At one point, Wells talked about what seeing the family in and around practice could maybe emphasize to these players, that they should maybe be a bigger part of your life if that’s possible and to maybe give an example of what it could be like, especially for those who didn’t always have family present if that’s what they choose . . . Wells then said he’s not sure if being this living example is maybe not part of his job, but it is part of his responsibility . . . I thought that was a pretty good distinction to make, it is obviously not part of his job, but he may feel like it is part of his responsibility as the head coach and attempting to mold these players a bit . . .

Texas Tech Pro Day. It looks like the program tried to go all out for the out-going players, and included separate tweets through the day to each of the players thanking for what they did for the program. I won’t link to all of them, but they’re all there.

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