Tubby Smith Still Looking for Frontcourt Help?

Photo via mtsrs @ Flickr.

In a recent interview with head coach Tubby Smith with Double T 104.3’s Chris Level and Brian Hanni that Texas Tech is still recruiting and the Red Raiders are looking for size and scoring.

We noted when Smith offered JUCO forward Chris Boucher, who was just named the NJCAA player of the year, but there have been a couple of notes, tweets and other things that have made me think that Texas Tech has other options if Boucher signs with another program.

Howard College Option?

Earlier this week, there was this tweet from Level via Will McKay about how Texas Tech was recruiting another player from Howard College:

Because I don’t have a subscription, I’m left to guess with wild speculation and or some reasoned analysis as to who player that might be. The easy thing to do is to look a the season stats of Howard College and it’s pretty clear who the leaders are. We know about Rob Gray, who has a Texas Tech offer, but from what I’ve heard, he is not a Texas Tech lean at this point. You also have Sam Finley, a scoring guard who is committed to Ole Miss.

As mentioned above, Smith is looking for frontcourt and scoring and the only other players that I envision being offered would be Travis Charles, an undersized power forward (6-6/225) who averages 10.8 points a game and 5.3 rebounds a game. I don’t think that Smith wants an undersized power forward, although Texas Tech could use a forward.

The other option is Lis Shoshi, a slender center (6-11/210) who was named the Western Junior College Athletic Conference defensive player of the year and honorable mention for the WJCAC confernce awards. Shoshi averaged 9.4 points a game, 9.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game. That’s not exactly scoring, but Shoshi does offer size. I’ve tried desperately to find film on Shoshi but haven’t been able to find anything. I did find this Texas Hoops scouting report on Howard College that mentions both Shoshi and Charles:

When it came to skilled players, Howard’s Lis Shoshi has to be placed near the top of the list. At nearly 6-foot-11, Howard’s head coach Scott Raines has the luxury of utilizing Shoshi away from the basket. The skilled Kosovo native has a soft jumper from mid-range and hits the three. He can see over defenders and skip the ball inside.

Travis Charles is back for his sophomore season for coach Raines, and is the team’s work horse. Charles looked bigger and stronger and more skilled. He was able to get position on the interior to back down smaller forwards, and will take them off the dribble. He is a physical player that uses his body well and is a tough blue collar player.

That’s an encouraging scouting report and without any real video of Shoshi or Charles these seem like serviceable players, role players, but maybe not all starts.  Again, no actual offer for either, at least to my knowledge.

Russo Again?

I think I’ve been following Cullen Russo for a couple of years now. Russo is originally from Minnesota and that’s the connection. Russo went to a prep school (I think) and is now at New Mexico JC, a JUCO that Texas Tech and Tubby Smith know pretty well. In any event, I ran across this 24/7 Sports bolt about how Texas Tech is involved with Russo. No offer just yet, just involved, whatever that means. Also of note is that Minnesota checked in on him. The check-in from Minnesota is confirmed by the StarTribune and states that Russo is starting to gain high-major interest. Again, no offer, just interest. Also note that Minnesota is after Boucher.

Russo was the second leading scorer for New Mexico JC, averaging 11.9 points a game in just 24.9 minutes, shooting 51.4% from the floor and 33.3% from the three-point line. Russo also averaged 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks a game.

The video displays the worst defense I’ve ever seen, but whatever, it gives you an idea as to Russo’s style of play.

Anyway, you can also read the above-linked Texas Hoops, where they give a bit of a scouting report:

James Miller, head coach of New Mexico Junior College has to be excited about his team’s chances of returning to the National Tournament, especially with Cullen Russo as one of the Thunderbirds’ main players. Russo, a Minnesota native is a long and rangy power forward that is a solid all around player. There isn’t much you can’t say about Russo, as he is eye catching when you see him on the floor. He has an athletic build and is very active on the court, rebounding and altering shots. He is a high skilled forward that can take his game inside and out.

Russo’s recruitment is coming from multiple levels. TCU, SMU, Pacific, Minnesota, Old Dominion, Oklahoma State and Houston have all been in contact.

Again, Russo hasn’t been offered from what I can tell by any program, but this seems like a situation where Texas Tech is maybe seeing what happens with Boucher and maybe a transfer that would be eligible immediately.


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