Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard spoke during the Big 12 Media Days at the Spring Center in Kansas City where he touched on a handful of topics, starting with the various newcomers on the team:
Yeah, so we had three graduate transfers on this year’s team. Thomas Brandsma came with us from Little Rock. Anthony Livingston is a transfer from Arkansas State. And Giovanni McLean is a transfer from Quinnipiac. So all three of those guys we look to contribute early and be a big part of our team. Not only on stats and production on a stat sheet and minutes played, but also in leadership. Here’s three guys that are very experienced. Not necessarily at the Big 12 level, but they’ve all played minutes in the Division I level. So we think they could be helpful to us early.
The fact that Beard brought along Livingston to the Big 12 Media days maybe speaks to me more than anything else. The frontcourt is loaded and Texas Tech may have not had a player like Livingston in a long time, a guy that’s a bit nifty in and around the basket.
— TexasTech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) October 26, 2016
Another newcomer was Niem Stevenson, who could start as a shooting guard for this team and maybe play a bit of small forward as well.
Yeah, we’ve got some very good junior college players on our roster. I’m a former junior college coach. I take a lot of pride in that. But Niem’s a special player. He’s a two-time All-American; that those of us that are associated with junior college basketball like myself understand that’s very difficult to do, to be a First Team All-American as a freshman and back it up as a sophomore. But Niem’s a Texas kid, he’s from Dallas. Played for great coaches, Seward County in Coach Zollinger and Coach Nee (phonetic). And he’s a guy we think can contribute early. He’s got great size for a guard. He’s a good leader. He loves basketball. He has a passion for basketball. He’s in the gym a lot. I think Niem could be one of the best newcomers in the Big 12 this year.
I’ve heard that Stevenson isn’t necessarily a great shooter, he’s working on being part of the green light club, but he just has an uncanny knack for scoring.
And with those transfers mentioned initially, the question arose about how some in the profession may have an issue with the graduate transfers. Personally, I never knew why Texas Tech wasn’t a bigger part of that, especially if it was a position of need. On the other hand, I could see how it could cause an issue with developing a young team and maybe that has more to do with how a coach integrates his team more than anything else.
What we do is try to gain an advantage in every situation. So I think just with everything, there’s positives and negatives. But certainly with a grad transfer rule it allows guys to, number one, continue their education. And Thomas and Gio and Anthony are all serious about getting their master’s degrees, so that’s the first part. But, secondly, it gives us a chance to put competitive, talented people on the floor immediately.
We have a unique team. I’ve been told this week we might be the oldest team in college basketball. And like I tell the guys all the time, there is no relationship between age and winning. If there was, I would just recruit a bunch of old guys.
But what I do think could be an identity of our team is experience and maturity. If we can take this age and turn it into experience and maturity, I think it could really help us with our first team, and that’s what we intend to do.
I’m excited for the start of the season, which is set to tip-off against Houston Baptist on November 11th at 6:30 at the United Supermarkets Arena.