Texas Tech took a huge blow to its interior depth this week as head coach Tubby Smith confirmed on his radio show that starting big man Norense Odiase is expected to miss the next six weeks with a broken bone in his foot.
The 6-foot-9 Odiase broke his fourth metatarsal in a win over TCU this week and he is expected to spend the next three weeks in a cast before being reevaluated. Starting in all 17 games for the Red Raiders this season, Odiase averaged 9 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest in 19.5 minutes per game. Although he doesn’t put up huge numbers, Odiase has been a steady interior presence for a Texas Tech team that doesn’t have much depth up front.
Without Odiase in the lineup, head coach Tubby Smith will likely rely on reserves like junior forward Matt Temple or other options that have seen more regular rotation minutes like sophomore forward Zach Smith and junior forward Aaron Ross.
Texas Tech sits at 12-5 and is hoping for some upsets in Big 12 play to spring an NCAA tournament bid, this is not a good sign of the Red Raiders making that postseason run happen.
Four-star 2016 center Schnider Herard announces final five schools
One of the top interior prospects in the Class of 2016 announced Thursday night that he’s narrowed his recruiting focus down to five schools. Schnider Herard, who attends Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, announced via Twitter that Kansas, California, Mississippi State, Purdue and Texas Tech are the five schools he’s still considering at this time.
Herard cut his list to ten schools in early August, and at the same time it was reported that he’d set up an official visit to Mississippi State for the second weekend of September. According to Scout.com Herard has lined up officials to Texas Tech (beginning September 25) and Kansas (October 11) as well. While California and Purdue don’t have scheduled official visits with Herard just yet, both programs have some personnel issues to account for in the front court in the 2016 recruiting class.
The Boilermakers will lose senior center A.J. Hammons at the end of the season, and while Cal doesn’t have a scholarship senior in its front court rotation they do have to consider the possibility of highly regarded freshman Ivan Rabb spending just one year in school.
As for Kansas, the Jayhawks will lose multiple seniors from its front court rotation and freshman Cheick Diallo has yet to be cleared for the upcoming campaign. While that may not impact 2016, the fact that no decision has been made on him is something the staff has to consider in its recruiting.
Mississippi State has one scholarship senior in its front court rotation (Gavin Ware), but they’re in a position where they need another interior body moving forward. Texas Tech doesn’t have a senior in its front court rotation, but 2015 signee Shawntrez Davis not qualifying academically puts them in a spot where they’ll need another body to call upon in the post.
POSTERIZED: Texas Tech’s Jordan Jackson makes up for missed free throw
Unlike the Division I teams who took their summer trips overseas, Texas Tech remained on the North American continent for its excursion. Tubby Smith’s team went to Canada, and Wednesday night the Red Raiders moved to 3-0 on their four-game trip with a 67-60 win over Carleton University.
The highlight of the game: freshman guard Jordan Jackson’s emphatic two-handed dunk on an opponent after missing a free throw late in the third quarter. That’s how you make up for leaving a point at the foul line. Texas Tech plays its final game of the trip Thursday night against Ottawa University.
Chris Holtmann’s Bulldogs, who fell to Notre Dame in the Round of 32 this past spring, will open with Missouri Valley Conference representative Missouri State. While Butler will have to account for the loss of contributors Kameron Woods and Alex Barlow, Kellen Dunham, Andrew Chrabascz and Roosevelt Jones are back and the team adds point guard Tyler Lewis to the mix. Lewis sat out last season after transferring in from NC State. Missouri State finished the 2014-15 season with an 11-20 record.
Also on that side of the bracket are Minnesota and Temple, with the Owls coming off of a Postseason NIT appearance and the Golden Gophers missing out on postseason play after winning the NIT in 2014. The Owls will have some key departures to account for, most notably all-conference guard Will Cummings, if they’re to contend in the American Athletic Conference. Minnesota also lost some key players from 2014-15, but sophomore guard Nate Mason will be back to lead the way.
On the other side of the bracket Utah was the most successful team in 2014-15, as they reached the Sweet 16 before falling to eventual national champion Duke. Delon Wright has moved on to the NBA, but Larry Krystkowiak welcomes back most of his rotation including center Jakob Poeltl, Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge. The Runnin’ Utes open with Texas Tech, which is looking to find its footing under Tubby Smith.
The other quarterfinal matchup may be the best one of the event, as it matches two teams looking to take a major step forward in 2015-16. Miami, which reached the title game of the Postseason NIT, returns the majority of its rotation and could potentially be an NCAA tournament team. They’ll take on Mississippi State, which has made major waves this offseason. Not only did the Bulldogs hire Ben Howland to take over as head coach, but they also landed one of the top prospects in the Class of 2015 in Malik Newman.
All eight teams will get to play three games in Puerto Rico, with the tournament beginning with a quarterfinal quadruple-header November 19. There will also be four games November 20, with the tournament concluding Sunday, November 22.
Report: Texas Tech commit fails to qualify academically
Upon his commitment to Texas Tech, 6-foot-8 forward Shawtrez Davis was expected to compete for significant playing time immediately. Unfortunately for he and the Red Raiders, that’s unlikely to be the case according to a report.
According to 247Sports.com, Davis has reportedly failed to get the ACT score he needed to qualify to play this season. And while it remains to be seen what Davis will do, with the report mentioning junior college as a possibility, this leaves Tubby Smith without a player who was expected to be a contributor.
While Davis has been committed to Texas Tech since late May he was never announced by the school as an official signee, and there were questions as to whether or not he’d qualify academically. The loss of Davis leaves the Red Raiders with three incoming recruits, guards Devon Thomas (junior college transfer), C.J. Williamson Jr. and Jordan Jackson.
Texas Tech’s interior rotation has just one upperclassman in redshirt junior Aaron Ross, with sophomores Isaiah Manderson, Zach Smith and Norense Odiase in line to see playing time as well. Of the four returnees Smith was the most productive player in 2014-15, as he averaged 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.