The Texas Tech basketball team will play a charity exhibition game against University of Texas at El Paso at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.
Tickets to the charity game are $10 as all proceeds will go to the GECU Foundation in support of the El Paso shooting on Aug. 3, according to a Tech Athletics news release.
“This is a great thing, with the tragedy in El Paso, we’re going to raise some real dollars for this, the El Paso Strong Fund and we’re honored and excited to be a part of the game that will raise money for a great cause,” head coach Chris Beard said.
This will be the Red Raiders’ first game against a collegiate team this season as they recently participated in their 2019 Foreign Tour in the Bahamas over the summer, according to Tech Athletics. The tour was highlighted by freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey’s double-double to lead the Red Raiders to their only win of the tour as he recorded 44 points and 12 rebounds.
In the Bahamas, senior transfer Chris Clarke also recorded a double-double against the Bahamas National Team, according to Tech Athletics. In his first game as a Red Raider, Clarke recorded 16 points and 13 rebounds as he shot 66.7 percent from the field.
Ramsey and Clarke are just two of 10 new players to Tech’s roster this season as only three Red Raiders are returning for the 2018-19 team, according to Tech Athletics.
“Every team is completely different. It doesn’t even mean if returning players return, it’s a new journey,” Beard said. “The past means nothing about today. I tell our guys all the time, ‘live where your feet are.’ Yesterday, nobody can take it from you but it’s over and tomorrow’s not promised.”
Junior Davide Moretti, sophomore Kyler Edwards and redshirt sophomore Avery Benson were a part of Tech’s Big 12 regular-season champion and national runner up squad from last season.
“We have some athleticism and length that could relate to us being really good defensively and a good team," Beard said. "We’ve got a lot of talent. We obviously have a lot of new pieces. With the three returners, Moro (Moretti), Kyler (Edwards) and Avery (Benson), have to do a great job, not only with their own game but making sure other people understand how we’re trying to play around here.”
With several new players on Tech’s 13-man roster, Beard said he thinks every player on the team will be able to contribute this season.
“13 active players right now and every one of them is on my mind in terms of contributing now,” Beard said. “That’s kind of exciting, so I think our depth could help us. But, the guys are trying really hard. We’re just a work in progress, we really are. The key is to get better every day. Sounds simple but that’s where the secret is.”
As the charity game against UTEP will be the first game for Beard to watch his team play since the Bahamas, he said he is looking for carryover from practices to game. As Beard said he is
looking for players to compete as hard as they have practiced, he is also looking for consistency.
“Every guy on our team has shown the ability to play at this level, whether it be in the Bahamas or in these first eight or nine practices,” Beard said. “So I think consistency, our identity, these things are important.”
Last season, Tech played UTEP and defeated the Miners 85-61, according to Tech Athletics. In the game against the Miners, Moretti recorded eight points, three assists and three rebounds in the first game of the 2018-19 season.
Beard said he does not know who he will start against the Miners, but the main point of the game is to raise money for the victims of the El Paso shooting rather than playing basketball.
“It’s awful early, both of us would probably like to have another week or two to practice, but again, I think the cause, the El Paso Strong, trumped the basketball side of this,” Beard said. “So we’ll try to accomplish some basketball obviously, but just so proud to be in this game to raise money for a great cause in my home state and El Paso, where I have a lot of friends, and we hope we raise a lot of money for the cause.”