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.