Matt Mooney’s commitment is a big deal for Texas Tech

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With five of the top six scorers from last season’s team that won 27 games and reached the Elite Eight having moved on, Texas Tech was in need of additions who can have an immediate impact on the offensive end of the floor. Monday afternoon Chris Beard’s program received a much-needed boost, as former South Dakota guard Matt Mooney announced that he will join the Red Raiders as a graduate transfer.

Mooney, who played his freshman season at Air Force before transferring to South Dakota after the 2014-15 season, was one of the top guards in the Summit League last season. A first team all-conference selection, Mooney averaged 18.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in leading the Coyotes to 26 wins and second-place finish in the Summit League.

Mooney shot 44.5 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from three and 82.9 percent from the foul line, finishing the season with an effective field goal percentage of 51.8 percent.

South Dakota participated in a postseason tournament in each of Mooney’s two seasons on the court, playing in the Postseason NIT in 2017 and the CBI this past season.

As noted above Mooney will join a Texas Tech lineup that lost a lot from last season, beginning with one of the nation’s best guards in Keenan Evans. Evans and Niem Stevenson both exhausted their eligibility, and the Red Raiders took another hit when projected first-round pick Zhaire Smith announced that he would forego his final three seasons of eligibility and remain in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Add in the losses of Zach Smith, Justin Gray and Tommy Hamilton IV, and Texas Tech will need additions such as Mooney to hit the ground running next season.

Mooney is the second grad transfer to have committed to Texas Tech this spring, the first being former St. John’s power forward Tariq Owens. In total the Red Raiders will have six new additions to the rotation, with junior college transfer Deshawn Corprew, freshmen Khavon Moore and Kyler Edwards and Missouri transfer C.J. Roberts being the others. Roberts, who joined the program in January, will be eligible at the end of the fall semester.

Texas Tech’s quest to build on a highly-successful 2017-18 won’t be easy, but returnees such as Jarrett Culver and Brandone Francis will help as will the newcomers.

The focus will likely be on who Texas Tech lost when forecasting 2018-19, which is fair given the contributions of players such as Evans. But as last year’s group showed, it’s a risky proposition to underestimate Chris Beard’s team.