The Air Raiders TBT get the home crowd behind them as they look to come out of Lubbock on top.
The Air Raiders TBT are made up of mostly Texas Tech alumni. This team is making a massive pivot from last year after going 1-and-1 in its TBT debut. The returners include Parker Hicks, Zach Smith, Tariq Owens, and, most importantly, Davion Warren. The Air Raiders TBT team will be without the other sharpshooter from last year’s team Shawndre’ Jones, but the newcomers include plenty of natural talent and shooters. Any player can be a surprise, much like Jones was last year. With several other Big 12 alumni teams in the tournament (KU, K-State, West Virginia, Cincy, Texas), Tech looks to make the longest run of them all.
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- Davide Moretti (Texas Tech)
- Davion Warren (Hampton/Texas Tech)
- Dejan Kravic (Texas Tech)
- John Roberson (Texas Tech)
- Kyler Edwards (Texas Tech/Houston)
- Matt Mooney (Air Force/South Dakota/Texas Tech)
- Parker Hicks (Texas Tech/Lubbock Christian)
- Tariq Owens (Tennessee/St. Johns/Texas Tech)
- Toddrick Gotcher (Texas Tech)
- Zach Smith (Texas Tech)
- Andrew Sorrells (General Manager)
- Clark Lammert (General Manager)
- Jason Staudt (Head Coach)
- Gino Saucedo (Assistant Coach)
- Robert Brashear (Assistant Coach)
- Ronald Ross (Assistant Coach)
- Ross Rushing (Assistant Coach/Booster)
- Lubbock, Texas
Team MVP: Davion Warren
While he only played two games in the TBT last year, Davion Warren was a clear standout for the Air Raiders. Warren played two games and scored 32 and 23 points, averaging 27.5 points in TBT play. Warren sank his free throws after being fouled by B1 Ballers Isiah Small to win the first matchup 90-89 in the first round. In the next game, the hometown AfterShocks were too much for the Air Raiders, but Warren played well.
Davion Warren (23 points) Highlights vs. Aftershocks, 07/23/2022 pic.twitter.com/RipHEQXUo3
— TBT (@thetournament) July 24, 2022
While Davion Warren is an offensive weapon, he hopes he won’t have to be a hero this time. With the experience of last year and more offensive weapons, the Air Raiders and Warren want to cause some havoc in Lubbock, and they can do just that if Warren plays at this level once again.
Make-or-break Player: Kyler Edwards
Being the youngest player on this squad, Kyler Edwards learned to play very different styles. He started at Texas Tech but finished under Kelvin Sampson in Houston. Edwards had to earn playing time under Sampson. He had to learn to play defense and became extremely good at it. He has a nose for the ball, and after trying his hand in the NBA G-league, he has moved into the Canadian basketball league. Edwards can shoot and defend. If he can play both sides of the floor and adjust to TBT rules, the Air Raiders could cause many problems for many teams. While there isn’t much height, having a guard like Edwards is useful.
𝐇𝐎𝐒𝐓 𝐓𝐄𝐀𝐌 𝐏𝐎𝐖𝐄𝐑 𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐒🏡🏀
We asked a panel of experts to power rank all of the “Host Teams” for TBT 2023!
Here are the full results, tell us your thoughts: pic.twitter.com/NXnKck4OEF
— TBT (@thetournament) June 30, 2023
Coming in as the sixth-best host team according to TBT experts, Air Raiders feel the pressure but have the support. This team has kept most of its size in Tariq Owens, Zach Smith, and Parker Hicks, all over 6-foot-6, and added an impressive player from the 2017 TBT team Fredette Dejan Kravic who is in the 7-foot club. The guards are primarily new and outside Roberson (5-11). The other guards are all 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4. Like the Wichita Regional, Lubbock has three teams based out of Texas: Bleed Green, Austins Own, and Air Raiders. These new guards are serious snipers from deep but can also create shots in the paint.
A name that I am excited to see is a guy who has been bouncing around the G-League and started with the Memphis Hustle, Canton Charge, Raptors 905, and the New York Knicks. He also has played professionally in Mexico and Turkey. The sneaky player to watch is John Roberson, who has more experience playing and has been playing exceptionally well in Turkey. With this revamped roster, The Air Raiders TBT have a chance with a hometown crowd to be a fun watch in Lubbock at the United Supermarket Arena.