The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2019.07.03

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Leading Off

Power Five Rankings. So Pat Forde ranked 65 Power Five schools and it’s really sort of complete crap so I’m not linking to it. I think it is based off of some formula he’s come up with (emphasis on “I think”) and it has Texas Tech in the 40’s . . . or something. Plus the ranking is a slideshow and there’s no better way to get a person like me to not read something than to have a slideshow.

Texas Tech Track and Field

Texas Tech Baseball

Remembering Dan Law.

Texas Tech Basketball

Jarrett Culver Thanks Lubbock.

Young People Look Much Better Than You. From left to right, that’s Jahmi’us Ramsey, Terrence Shannon, Jr., Tyreek Smith, Clarence Nadolny, Andrei Savrasov, Kevin McCullar, and Russel Tchewa.

Zhaire Knows Who He Is. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Sielski writes about how the 76ers and Zhaire Smith know exactly what they are:

“Zhaire’s exciting to me,” said Connor Johnson, who coached Smith last season with the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers’ affiliate in the G League. “He’s a guy who’s getting better every day. He’s getting so much stronger and being comfortable in his body and how he can use his athletic ability, especially on the defensive end. In my opinion, he’s got an unbelievable ability to stay in front of the ball, fight through screens, and be an on-ball, point-of-attack defender. That’s something he was really growing with toward the end of last year.”

“Zhaire’s a guy who transcends anybody else,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said in a recent interview. “It’s a huge compliment coming from Coach, and I understand it. I think he’s addressing his versatility and his overall game and his high ceiling and potential. But in my opinion, I don’t compare Zhaire to anybody. I think he’s special. I think he’s his own guy. He’s an elite defender at multiple positions. Offensively, he’s just getting started. You’re talking about a guy who didn’t really shoot threes in high school. Then he’s banging threes in the Elite Eight 11 months later.”

Pre-Preview of Big 12. NBC Sports’ Travis Hines has a pre-preseason look at the Big 12, complete with all-too early predictions for the Big 12:

2. TEXAS TECH: This time last year, we were wondering how Chris Beard would try to replace Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith well enough to get back to the NCAA tournament. The task is similar this year, but the expectations are raised. What we know is that Beard is going to get this team to defend, and if they can squeeze some offense out, the Red Raiders can follow the same blueprint they’ve ridden to so much success the last two seasons.

Hines has Kansas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State and then West Virginia.

Pre-Preview of Big 12, Part II. SI’s Michael Shapiro does a similar thing and he’s got Kansas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and TCU. Shapiro’s biggest question is if Texas Tech can maintain their success:

Will grad transfers keep Texas Tech afloat?

Beard faces a slew of departures from his program after falling just short of a miraculous run to the championship. Yet, while he’s unlikely to reach the title game in 2019-20, Texas Tech can still win the Big 12. Its deep pool of transfers could swing the conference.

Chris Clarke headlines the additions for Texas Tech. A 6’6” swingman from Virginia Tech, Clarke is a physical forward and an impactful defensive presence, adept at crashing the glass and earning extra possessions. T.J. Holyfield will come to Lubbock on the grad transfer market from Stephen F. Austin, adding another interior presence to replace Tariq Owens and Norense Odiase. Texas Tech may struggle to score in 2019-20, but its defense should remain among the best in the nation.

Texas Tech Football

Let’s Eat.

More than Just Offense. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd writes about Matt Wells and how he wants to be more than just a great offense (feel like you could substitute this as “more than just a pretty face”) and quite a bit of this is Wells’ story that we’ve really already known, from Kirby Hocutt’s interaction with the USC linebacker coach and Utah State curb-stomping North Texas and being impressed, Wells says that he wants to be physical and stop the run:

For all the scoreboard-breaking Air Raid exploits accomplished since the beginning of this century (when Mike Leach arrived), there has been a physical imbalance.

Before he calls a play a Tech, Wells has his orders after coming from Utah State: smack someone in the mouth.

“We’re going to be physical,” Wells said. “We’re going to be thick, square, fundamentally sound, and we’re going to stop the run.”

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