The Texas Tech Red Raiders surprised people in year one with Mark Adams. This year, they’re counting on the health of a big-time transfer to continue to transform the program.
CBB Review is once again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the 2022-23 season. Each day we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Coming in ranked number 18 are the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Many questions loomed about the state of Texas Tech basketball after head coach Chris Beard jumped ship to go to Texas. However, Mark Adams devoured those doubts and led the Red Raiders to the Sweet 16.
This season, there are plenty of questions again. Texas Tech lost 8 of their top 9 scorers from last season, meaning it’s a group largely made up of transfers and freshmen. There are some very highly sought-after players, but it will still require them to form chemistry quickly.
To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams in the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Head Coach: Mark Adams (7th season overall, 2nd season at Texas Tech)
2021-22 Record: 27-10 (12-6)
2022 Postseason Finish: Lost in Sweet 16
Notable Departures: Adonis Arms (Pro), Bryson Williams (NBA/Los Angeles Clippers), Clarence Nadolny (Pro), Davion Warren (Pro), Kevin McCullar (Transfer/Kansas), Marcus Santos-Silva (Graduated), Mylik Wilson (Transfer/Houston), Terrence Shannon Jr. (Transfer/Illinois)
PG: De’Vion Harmon (6-2, 205, Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 36.7 3P% (Oregon)
SG: Elijah Fisher (6-6, 190, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #45 overall ranked recruit
SF: Jaylon Tyson (6-6, 210, So.)
2021-22 stats: 1.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, 6.9 minutes (Texas)
PF: Kevin Obanor (6-8, 235, Gr.-Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 59.7 2P%, 33.6 3P%
C: Fardaws Aimaq (6-11, 245, Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 18.9 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks (Utah Valley)
*Will be out for the start of the season with a foot injury
6: D’Maurian Williams (6-3, 200, Jr.)
2021-22 stats: 14.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 39.3 3P% (Gardner-Webb)
7: Daniel Batcho (6-11, 235, Rs.-So.)
2021-22 stats: 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 9.9 minutes
*Will be projected starting center until Aimaq returns
8: Kerwin Walton (6-5, 200, Jr.)
2021-22 stats: 3.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, 35.4 3P% (UNC)
9: KJ Allen (6-6, 255, Jr.)
2021-22 stats: 1.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 7.7 minutes
10: Pop Isaacs (6-2, 170, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #79 overall ranked recruit
11: Lamar Washington (6-4, 205, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #95 overall ranked recruit
Team MVP: Kevin Obanor
With highly touted transfer Fardaws Aimaq out for the first chunk of the season with an injury and De’Vion Harmon on his third team in three years, Kevin Obanor will have to shoulder a lot of the weight.
Obanor made his way to join the Texas Tech Red Raiders after co-leading Oral Roberts to the Elite Eight in 2021. In year one with Texas Tech, Obanor proved himself as one of the go-to options on offense and a key rebounder. With all of the different pieces on this year’s team and the injury to Aimaq, it seems like a given that Obanor will take over more of a scoring and rebounding role, especially from the start.
It will be interesting to see where Obanor’s game takes him offensively. He’s capable of stretching outside to hit the three but does his best work inside the paint. However, with Aimaq likely clogging up the paint too, Obanor might turn to more threes. Either way, he’s a gifted player who figures to be right at the center of what the Red Raiders do on offense.
But to go a step further, his experience in March is second to none. Texas Tech lacks that this season, so Obanor’s leadership is the real key.
Make or Break Player: De’Vion Harmon
Guard play isn’t something the Texas Tech Red Raiders can boast too much about this season, so Harmon will need to step up and play well this season.
Harmon has proven himself to be a reliable scorer who can also defend. This year, his playmaking will need to take a leap. Harmon has yet to average over 2.1 APG in a season, but as the projected point guard, will have to develop into more of a pass-first player.
At full strength, the best part of this Red Raiders team is their inside play, so if Harmon can create open shots down low, it would help spread the floor and allow Texas Tech to do work where they are best suited to.
Analytic to Know: 1st in AdjD in 2021-22
Let’s not overthink things.
Mark Adams instills a lot of grit and toughness into his program and it’s one reason why the Texas Tech Red Raiders led the country in adjusted defense a year ago.
If you want to play for Adams, you have to make sure you’re ready to play a lot of defense. This season, it’ll be the big duo down low between Obanor and Aimaq, plus the length of players like Fisher, Tyson, and UNC transfer Kerwin Walton.
The Red Raiders won’t allow you to score many points, so in a day of age where offense is the trendy topic, Texas Tech does it with their defense.
While it’s a Texas Tech Red Raiders program with a lot of questions to be answered, they shut those down pretty quickly last season. Obviously, it’s an all-new core this time around, so it’s a whole different array of questions. The most obvious is whether or not Texas Tech will struggle early on due to a lack of team chemistry.
When you look past all of that and take it straight for what it’s worth, the Red Raiders have talent all up and down this lineup. The three-headed monster of Harmon/Obanor/Aimaq has the potential to be elite. Obviously, a lot relies on Harmon’s ability to play the point and Aimaq’s health and adjustments to the Big 12, but the skills are there.
The other two starters – Elijah Fisher and Jaylon Tyson – are both inexperienced, but have outstanding potential. One key asset is Gardner-Webb transfer D’Maurion Williams, who should be a very big scoring factor off the bench. If Fisher or Tyson doesn’t exactly pan out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams inserts Williams into the starting lineup.
Daniel Batcho will also need to play good basketball from the start. He’ll likely be the starting center until Aimaq is ready to go. In the long run, this could work out great, as it could help with Batcho’s confidence and development.
Overall, the Texas Tech Red Raiders won’t be many people’s first choice at coming out of the Big 12, but it’s a program that has quickly turned into winning ways. Sometimes, it comes down to coaching, discipline, and hard work. While Texas Tech clearly has talent, they also have a program headed in the right direction in a lot of ways.