Jumping into things, here are my picks for the preseason awards…
Team MVP – Zach Smith
Zach Smith was the best overall all-around player for Texas Tech last year on the court, and I don’t expect that to change this year. He will most likely average the most mpg again too just like last year because he adds so much versatility to the team at the power forward position. He can score, rebound, and block shots against any opponent on the court. Smith is the complete package and the MVP of this team.
Best Offensive Player – Jordan Jackson
Based on what I saw in the Canadian tour with the team in August it appears that Jackson is going to get his points by slashing to the rim and putting the ball in the bucket, or getting to the free throw line to put points on the scoreboard. He seems to have a knack for scoring and Tubby Smith is going to give him a lot of minutes. In the end, with some development over his freshman season he should turn into the guy that has the most ppg on the stat sheet.
Best Defensive Player – Toddrick Gotcher
Gotcher is about as tough as a guy that plays in the Big 12 that you will ever find. He is a nice sized guard that will muscle his usually smaller backcourt opponents. With his experience as the senior leader he will be our shutdown backourt player on the floor. He might not be as quick as your typical best defensive player, but his toughness and basketball IQ will make him the hardest guy to play against one-on-one out of anyone on our roster.
Best Shooter – DeVaugntah Williams
Streaky as Williams is, he is our best chance for getting hot and making his shots. Our returning overall scorer from last year has a nice stroke on his shot and can light it up from the outside. He is clearly the easy pick for best shooter on the roster at this point in the preseason.
Best Rebounder – Norense Odiase
Zach Smith might have barely beat Odiase out on the stat sheet last season for rpg, but Odiase is the guy that I choose to be the rebounding machine for Texas Tech this season. He is a big body that is being taught by our staff how to correctly position himself in the paint to grab the boards. As the strongest guy on our roster, combined with his aggressive knack to find the loose ball… Odiase should eat ’em up on the boards this year.
Best Newcomer – Jordan Jackson
If Jackson is picked to be the best offensive player as a freshman, then he should be picked as best newcomer on the squad. I think Jackson is going to be a special player for Texas Tech. Although some others could think CJ Williamson might be the best new face on the roster as he dropped in 14 points in the scrimmage yesterday, I am sticking with Jackson for now.
Most Improved Player – Norense Odiase
I had to really think about this one, with such a young squad and the overall development a lot of returning player are candidates for this award. My bet is that with Odiase having such an up and down season last year, he is going to come back and be a double-double monster. Consistency will be a part of his game, and that to me will show he is the most improved player on the roster. I almost picked Evans for this preseason award, but didn’t want to confuse more overall playing time as compared to the guy who will be more valuable to this team on the floor from last year to this year. Manderson also comes to mind.
A lot can change throughout the season, and things don’t always turn out how you expected. But, the above names are my best guesses currently for these preseason awards. Who are your picks?