Seven new faces now fill the roster of the Texas Tech men’s basketball team.
Although the roster from 2013-2014 changed during the offseason, Tech head coach Tubby Smith looks forward to seeing Tech compete at a high level against its opponents.
Smith said the new players joining the Tech squad can mix well with Tech’s returning players.
“I believe that we have a good nucleus in our returning players, and they are going to be expected to carry the load,” Smith said. “We have some solid people, good players that are doing the things we’re asking them to do.”
Tech’s 2014-2015 roster includes freshman forwards Zach Smith, Justin Gray and Norense Odiase, freshman guard Keenan Davis, junior transfer guard Devaugntah Williams and junior transfer forward Justin Jameson.
In the 2013-2014 season, Tech finished the season with a 14-18 overall record, but pulled upsets against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, two teams who reached the NCAA tournament.
After last year’s season, finishing close games turned into a key focus during the offseason for Tech.
“We got to find a way to finish games,” Smith said. “That was one of our issues last year, we were in every game but late game situations we didn’t finalize.”
Smith said Tech wants to improve on outside shooting, taking care of possession and turnovers as well.
Entering his second season under Smith’s tenure, red shirt junior guard Toddrick Gotcher said he has shared his experiences from last year’s season with Tech’s new players to accommodate them to their first season with Tech.
“Me and (Robert Turner), we’ve been through it last year and what it takes to win the tough games,” Gotcher said. “The young guys, they’re really filling in, and they listen to us.”
Gotcher said the new players on the roster bring speed on the court and enhance Tech’s ability to score close range shots.
“This year we are very fast for lobs and just get a lot of layups,” Gotcher said. “It’s going to be a dunk-fest this season.”
Senior guard Robert Turner said he noticed a sense of eagerness among the incoming players.
Turner said the quickness of Tech’s new players brings a defensive edge for the Red Raider squad.
“They’re very strong, they have great moves and they protect our paint,” Turner said. “They’re probably, freshman-wise, some of the best freshmen in the country. They pick up on things well, they’re eager to learn and very coachable.”
Tech hosts an exhibition game against Southeastern Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. November 7 in the United Supermarkets Arena.
Tech faces its first official opponent of the 2014-2015 season, Loyola Maryland, at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 in the United Supermarkets Arena.