Texas Tech Smith Basketball

Tubby Smith nabs his first recruit at Texas Tech

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Tubby Smith hasn’t been the head coach at Texas Tech for long, but he knows as well as anyone that you have to hit the ground running when you start a new job.

He did just that, finding an experienced point guard to take the reins at Tech. Rob Turner of New Mexico Junior College has signed a letter of intent to become a Red Raider, according to the Dallas Morning News.

NMJC assistant coach Brian Lohrey reported that Smith made the 6’1″, 175-lb. Turner a top priority from the moment he arrived in Lubbock.

“Coach Smith really started recruiting him two weeks ago,” Lohrey told RedRaiderSports.com. “He called (head coach) James Miller first and said he heard Rob was probably one of the better point guards in junior college. He came down about five days later and watched him play, spoke with him on campus and got to know him a little bit.

“I think Rob really respects Coach Smith for what he’s done and who he is and what he’s trying to do for Texas Tech basketball.”

Texas Tech has three more scholarships open, and Smith may have to continue to be creative as he looks to fill them. The Red Raiders have struggled to compete since Bobby Knight walked away in the middle of the 2008 season, handing the team over to his son, Pat. The younger Knight managed just a 16-42 Big 12 record in three-plus years in Lubbock, and his successor Billy Gillispie didn’t fare much better before he got canned for mistreating players. Good guy Chris Walker only got one season to try his hand before the Tech AD leaped at the chance to hire another aging legend, choosing Smith as the man most likely to raise the school’s profile and stay out of trouble while doing so.

Whether Smith’s cachet will be enough to overcome the general ennui surrounding Red Raider hoops is the big question. How he fills those three remaining scholarships should give us a feel for what to expect going forward.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.