Basketball

Texas Tech Basketball 2018: Positional Breakdown

We breakdown the positions for the Red Raiders and who could make an impact for the team.

With the season about eight days away, it’s time to look at the breakdown of each position. If you missed our earlier previews and stories, here they are below:

 

Basketball Previews
Analyzing Texas Tech Basketball Schedule Texas Tech Hoops – New Faces & Reloading Texas Tech Hoops – Will Chris Beard stay in Lubbock as the Head Coach Texas Tech Basketball: At Big 12 Media Day

Much like my post back in May, we’re not going to break it down by the five spots. Instead, we’re going to list them by point guards, wings and big men. These are my projected starters, although things could change quickly, as we saw last season.

Point Guards

Point Guards
Starters Matt Mooney, Davide Moretti
Bench Brandone Francis, Kyler Edwards

Explanation: The STP staff is aware that I didn’t have as high expectations for Mooney as they did, but he’s starting to come along a little bit for me. He’s not super athletic, but he creates space, which is really all you need when you play basketball.

Mooney could be the go-to guy down the stretch for the Red Raiders, with his ability to create his own shot. He’s not going to average 18.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 3.1 apg like he did at South Dakota, but he’ll put up respectable stats.

For the second starter, and the player I think will improve the most, I have Davide Moretti. He started off a little slow in Big 12 play, but I feel like he really started to come along in the NCAA tournament. He had a big three to get Tech going against SFA and made some huge plays in their game against Purdue.

Moretti averaged 3.5 ppg, 1.1 apg and 0..8 rpg last season, but with another offseason under his belt and another year in the US, he can make the jump this year.

I thought about putting Brandone Francis in the starting line-up, who averaged 5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 0.8 apg last year. He may start the season because he’s a senior, but I think Moretti eventually earns the start. Francis will have those games where he goes off, and Tech will need those sort of games from him. However, I don’t think the consistency will be there enough for him to start.

The other bench player is Kyler Edwards. Outside of Moore obviously because he’s so highly rated, Edwards is the newcomer I am the most excited about. He’s a bigger guard, which I like because of the defensive ability, but also shows that he has the ability to shot and put in ball in then net at the high school level.

Wings

Wings
Starters Jarrett Culver, Khavon Moore
Bench DeShawn Corprew, Kevin McCullar (if not RS)

Explanation: Jarrett Culver returns as the best player on the team. The last few years you could have argued prior to the season opener who the best player was entering the season, but this year is a no-brainer.

The Lubbock native averaged 11.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 1.8 apg last year, and they’ll need Culver to up those stats and become the man this season. A lot of NBA scouts like him too, and he has been projected to be a first round pick in June. We’ll see how he does this season and if he leaves or stays to play for his hometown team.

For the other position, I’m going with Texas Tech basketball’s highest rated recruit in recently memory and possibly ever; Khavon Moore. He likely won’t start the season due to his leg injury and the lack of underclassmen that start for Beard from the get-go, but I bet like Culver and Zhaire, he’ll eventually earn the job.

And with experienced players, he won’t be expected to carry the load early on, which gives him room to learn. As far as back-ups, Corprew is athletic and could be the energizer for the Red Raiders off the bench this season. I personally don’t see a lot from him this season, but he could provide a spark off the bench.

As far as the Tech legacy Kevin McCullar, I’m not sure he’ll be available during the second half of the season. He plans to graduate early and join the team in December, but it may be a redshirt year, as the season will be halfway over before he has to go through college workouts and get in NCAA basketball shape.

Big Men

Wings
Starters Norense Odiase, Tariq Owens (depends on match-up)
Bench Malik Ondigo, Joshua Mballa

ExplanationWhile the point guard position has the biggest mystery as far as who’s starting and what impact they’ll make this season, the big men have the question of what will the position look like in the future.

For starters, Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens should see plenty of time on the floor. Odiase is a fifth year player for the Red Raiders, but I think Owens will get more playing time because of his athleticism and the fact he can stretch the floor. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Moore comes off the bench and both big men start a lot of games, especially early on.

Odiase averaged 3.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 0.7 apg last season while playing a big role in the Sweet Sixteen and the big win over Kansas. He’ll likely play more against big bodied centers. Owens averaged 8.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 0.5 apg last season at St John’s and will take on the Zach Smith role likely. He is an athletic freak and a big shot blocker that should be well against smaller, more athletic teams.

Unfortunately, Odiase and Owens leave after the season, so the most important thing to look out for as far as the future goes is the development of the centers. Ondigo, Mballa and new commit Russel Tchewa are all from the Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, and have the potential to make an impact on the program.

We saw a little bit of Ondigo last year, as he brings length and has the ability to stretch the floor like Zach Smith did. Mballa is a big rebounding body who could become the new highlight reel for the Red Raiders. He has a very underrated shot from what little we’ve seen from him.

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