Texas Tech, the 5th and least likely head coaching job for Tubby Smith will be the most difficult test yet for the 61-year-old veteran coach. One can look at Smith’s past coaching jobs and truly say, “Oh how the mighty have fallen.” Of course, how can you not say this? After coaching 10 years of Kentucky basketball and improving the basketball program at Minnesota, Smith will now need to work harder than he has ever needed to work before to revitalize a Texas Tech program that has been near the bottom of the Big 12 for the last decade.
The Red Raiders went just 11-20 with only three conference wins in the 2012-13 basketball season. Scoring just 65.4 points per game and playing miserable defense (holding opponents to a .421 field goal percentage), it’s extremely difficult to find a bright spot in this Texas Tech basketball team. The only silver lining for coach Smith is that the rest of the Big 12, even Kansas, is very young this year.
Recruits will not come easy given that Tubby’s time in Lubbock has been very limited. The best chance Smith has this year is to focus on the raw talent of some of the stand out players on the Red Raiders roster. Smith should start with senior Jaye Crockett. Crockett averaged 11.9 points per game and brought in 6.5 rebounds per game in the 2012-13 season. Despite being a senior, Crockett’s talent is still very raw due to the recent lack of efficient coaching in Lubbock. However, with a veteran coach like Tubby Smith, one year may be enough to develop Crockett into a game changer.
It certainly won’t be easy. The Texas Tech faithful should not expect a drastic improvement during the 2013-14 season. It may even take three or four years, but one thing is for certain, coach Smith has revamped programs in the past. Smith took a hockey school like Minnesota and turned them into a competitive basketball team. If he can do that, why can’t he turn a school that is more focused on football into a competitive basketball school in the Big 12? It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, but it will happen.