Texas Tech Basketball: At the Big 12 Media Day

Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard met with the media at yesterday’s Big 12 Media Day. Let’s get to it. Beard was asked about the message to his players after a season like last year and to continue that level of excellence:

For us, it’s year three building the program. The first year we really wanted to lay the foundation and try to become part of the fight. I will always be appreciative of that first team led by five special seniors. We created a culture that first year and we were competitive. Last year the second year we thought we were good enough to compete and ultimately win and we wanted to finish. We won a lot of close games last year, resulted in us making it to the Elite Eight which is a special run. Five guys graduating, four guys under professional contracts now. This third year what we’re trying to do is become consistent. We want to make sure that last year’s success doesn’t define us as a program. We want to be part of the fight again. It’s easy to talk about and difficult to do especially in the big bevel but that’s the challenge in front of us and, again, I have been pleased with our players. I think we embraced last season, no one can take that from us, but we don’t spend too much time talking about it. Each team is different, each season is different. It’s a different journey, led by four special seniors this year. I think this team will make its own mark on college basketball.

Beard was also asked about what has made him successful in the short period of time that’s he’s been at different institutions:

Above all really good players. This coaching thing is a little overrated. I’m the same coach last year that I was years ago, but we had three NBA players and we make a nice run in college basketball and if it wasn’t for a couple of injuries I think we would have competed for the championship in this league, that’s just my opinion, not disrespecting the other schools. I have been fortunate and we’ve had good players everywhere we’ve been, this is a players game and also a great coaching staff. This year is no different. Every guy of on our staff is a future head coach. It has never been about me. It has been about great staff and great players. We do have a process we believe in. We believe in playing defense. We believe in sharing the ball and having balance on offense. We believe in respecting the game and playing it the right way. This year’s team we’re off to a great start. We’re a work in progress. We have a long ways to go. We’ve practiced 20 times. We have 10 left before our opener November 6th at 6:30, but I like this team that we’re about to have.

And when asked about potentially Texas Tech’s best player, Jarrett Culver, Beard said that Culver has the chance to be one of the best players in the country:

I’m on the record proudly confidently. Jarrett Culver has a chance to be one of the best players in college basketball. Others have seen that too. He’s starting to get attention, which I like for our players. I think Jarrett would be the first to tell you that these things wouldn’t have happened if we wouldn’t have had the great NCAA Tournament, Elite Eight run last year. The great thing about Culver are the things that most people don’t know. Everybody sees the length and the athleticism, the talent. But what I see is the love of the game. Culver is old school in a lot of ways. He loves basketball. He’s in there every day. He’s also a student of the game. As a young player he watches more film than any guy I’ve ever coached. He goes above and beyond. Believe it or not I have a daughter in an Ivy League school, but I can’t speak. Culver goes above and beyond what’s asked of him in the film room, popular guy in the locker room, Culver is special.

And what does transfer guard Matt Mooney bring to the table:

Matt is special, simply stated he is a Big 12 player. He did about all he could do at the mid-major level, played in a lot of high-quality games against high-major schools, had some good games against Big 12 schools. He is about as dedicated of a player I’ve ever been around. He’s special. He takes his craft serious on a day-to-day basis. He could have gone anywhere in the country his graduate year in college basketball. Personally I take a lot of responsibility and I appreciate Matt trusting his senior year to our program and we put him in every situation we can to be successful and he’s returning the favor. He’s doing everything he can to help us be successful that we started the last two years. There is nobody I would rather coach than Matt. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s a great teammate. He has all the intangibles. I think he’s a pro.

I’ll try to put together some of the better posts from Twitter here.

And a few links here:

A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. recaps the Big 12 Media Day from Texas Tech’s perspective.

DMN’s Chuck Carlton on how last year’s team helped create the identity for this year’s team.

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf has his Big 12 power rankings and has Texas Tech 5th overall behind Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia, and TCU:

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders: After only a handful of seasons as a Division I coach, Chris Beard has showcased an impressive level of consistency. And this season’s team, which added South Dakota grad transfer Matt Mooney (18.7 PPG) and St. John’s grad transfer Tariq Owens (8.4 PPG, 2.8 BPG), should maintain that pattern in 2018-19 with another powerful crew. Five seniors and first-round pick Zhaire Smith are gone, but wing Jarrett Culver (11.2 PPG, 38 percent from beyond the arc) returns.

This is a link to the Kansas City Star where you can get your fill of Kansas coverage, and quite a bit happened:

  • Kansas suspended center Silvio De Sousa, who was named in the recent federal trial, and will wait on a NCAA review to determine his eligibility.
  • A jury found all three defendants guilty of fraud, β€œThe defendants not only deceived universities into issuing scholarships under false pretenses, they deprived the universities of their economic rights and tarnished an ideal which makes college sports a beloved tradition.”
  • Someone recently asked me what I thought of this trial and I cannot figure out where the harm is because I honestly did not know it was against the law to pay a player to go to an institution. Is it against NCAA regulations? Okay, sure, I get that, but against the law? I really didn’t know that and this verdict seems quite different in that respect. I think I’ve been having trouble wrapping my brain around this thought.
  • Kansas head coach Bill Self said that he and his staff did not make any improper inducements to obtain players.
  • One of the other interesting things is that during the trial, it was revealed that Zion Williamson, the man-child who is at Duke was apparently offered quite a bit of money to go to Kansas and many Jayhawk fans think that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski should be investigated because it seems improbable that Williamson went to Duke without some sort of payment.
  • Seems like a lot of good times.
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