Bad Audition

After ending their season in Kansas City in the first round of the Big 12 Championships, Joe Yeager breaks down what he took away from the last showing on the court by the Red Raiders for the 2011-2012 season.

Bad Final Audition for the Guards: If we assume that most of Texas Tech's Big 12 slate has been a series of auditions to retain scholarships next season, Ty Nurse and Javarez Willis concluded those auditions by flubbing their lines.


Playing against a mediocre and depleted Oklahoma State squad on a neutral site, Nurse and Willis were entirely unimpressive. Nurse picked up four fouls in the first half and fouled out midway through the second. Prior to his departure Nurse kicked in four turnovers against one assist, and scored eight points on three of eight shooting.


Willis had his second straight miserable game. His primary task—a tough one, no doubt—was to slow down Keiton Page. Willis did not succeed. Page finished with 20 points on seven of 13 shooting, dished five assists and committed only one turnover. The contrast between Page and Tech's guards is illustrative.


On the offensive end, Willis couldn't buy a bucket; he was one of seven from the field. The lone bright spot for Willis was his three assists to one turnover. But that's pretty small beer in the context of Texas Tech's ongoing basketball disaster.


Ultimately Billy Clyde Gillispie will look at the total body of work—with special emphasis on play against Big 12 opponents—when deciding who he wants back next season. But final impressions can be lasting impressions. Nurse and Willis, two players probably on the bubble to begin with, certainly did not help their cause against the Cowboys.


Bonewitz Lite: The only Tech guard I recall whose lack of quickness equaled Nurse's was Stanley Bonewitz. The nineties gunner from San Antonio moved glacially, but still managed to contribute with his laser-like passes and incredible shooting range.


Nurse, unfortunately, is Bonewitz without the range and the uncanny passing skills. He's merely an okay shooter and passer who's playing out of position when running the point.


Because of his modest shooting ability, and his point guard duties, Nurse tries to create and penetrate. But here again his lack of quickness bites him. In order to create any separation he must dish with the chicken wing and refs are flagging him for offensive fouls. Nurse is in frequent foul trouble and I'd wager at least 25 percent of his fouls come on the offensive end.


For Nurse to be effective at this level three things need to happen. First, Gillispie must relieve him of point guard duties. Second, Nurse must recognize and accept his limitations. And third, he needs to come off the bench as a designated shooter.


If all three of those conditions are met, I could see a role for him next season.


Bad Offense Leads to Bad Defense: The Red Raiders were average to good on defense this season. But how much better would they have been if they hadn't turned the ball over with ludicrous regularity!


Turnovers usually lead to easy scoring opportunities for the opponent, and rarely was this phenomenon more in evidence than against Oklahoma State. That's why Tech gave up 76 points to a fairly punchless Oklahoma State team. And you won't win too many games giving up 76 points.

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