Recruiting is the Lifeblood

During his introductory press conference Tubby Smith touched on recruiting.

Drawing up plays, running quality practices and studying film are all considered keys to be part of building a contending program.

But getting top-notch players to put into the system to execute it is arguably the most important and to get those players recruiting is key.

"Obviously recruiting is the lifeblood of every program," Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. "That's going to be critical that we get started right away, and this time of year ‑‑ that's why I wanted to get here now, because there are a lot of talented players in this state and around the country that are still looking for an opportunity, and certainly we want to show them why the Texas Tech Red Raider basketball program is available to them and ready to get started."

Getting into the game now at the beginning of April is a little late, considering National Signing Day is on April 17 and the final day to sign is May 15, giving Smith just more than a month to piece together his 2013 recruiting class.

On the current roster for Tech, which has 12 players that are set to return next season, four come from Texas, two from Arkansas and one from Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Missouri, Canada and Africa.

With a third of the players from right here in Texas and others from across the country and the world, Smith knows that is the way the game of basketball is going, especially in recruiting.

"Well, you have to recruit nationally now, and I look at the roster, you have players from all over the country, and that's the way it is in college sports," Smith said. "These young people get a chance to play all over the country in AAU programs and high school.  So they're very mobile.  We have a mobile society."

One of the keys to getting recruits to come in is having coaches to go get them, and right now that is one thing Smith is lacking – a coaching staff.

Chris Walker is not expected to stay here at Tech, but rather move on to other opportunities leaving Smith by himself.

There might be a chance that some of his former staff members at Minnesota might make their way down to Lubbock and rejoin his new staff but Smith is going to be searching for some coaches for his staff in the next week or so including talking to some coaches at the Final Four.

"We'll be at the Final Four interviewing coaches and talking with coaches," Smith said. "I really haven't decided on a ‑‑ I've got some people in mind that I think will be very helpful in getting us involved with the type of athletes that can help us win as well as get an education.  First and foremost we expect them to come here and get a quality education, which I know this institution will provide.  We've got everything in place, academic service, right on."

Not only getting the right staff at the collegiate level is key, Smith said, but also connecting with coaches at the high school level.

Smith said he wants to reach out to high school coaches and start building relationships with them to make recruiting a little smoother and he is also going to use his connections across the country as well.

"I've got over 20 some young men that I've coached over the years that are coaching in the Tulsa area, New York, you name it, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas," Smith said. "So I'm very comfortable and very confident that we'll put together a great staff and that we'll be able to recruit outstanding players."

Not only is the coaching staff a major part of the recruiting process but also the place the players will call home for the next four years of their life.

The United Spirit Arena is going to be the crown jewel that Smith is going to get to show off to recruits when they come to Lubbock, which is different than his last stop.

"Obviously the Spirit Arena is something that's impressive, with the box seating," Smith said. "I'm coming from a place where the building was the third oldest building in college basketball still being used is in Minnesota.  So it's refreshing, so I'm excited about that, as well."

There are already some recruits that have visited Tech and others that Smith will have to get here to Lubbock.

Five-star recruit Keith Frazier, who was in the mix for the Red Raiders for a good amount of time announced via Twitter the other day that he was SMU bound.

Other than Frazier, according to there is one other recruit that has at least shown interest in coming to Tech as a part of the 2013 class.

Four-star power forward Derrick Griffin out of Rosenberg, Texas has Texas Tech on a list of eight schools that includes Arizona, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas and USC.

According to there are no other recruits that have either committed or shown interest in Tech.

But for the 2014 class, there are three recruits, two in the Top 100 according to that have shown interest in Tech.

Four-star shooting forward Kelly Oubre from Richmond, Texas and four-star shooting guard Joe Burton from Houston, Texas and Devin Wyatt from Desoto, Texas has all shown interest in joining the Red Raiders.

Oubre has Tech on a list of 16 schools, including national powerhouses Kansas, Ohio State, Connecticut and UCLA. Tech at this time has extended an offer to him.

Burton's list is a little shorter with Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, West Virginia and Tech rounding out his list but has not received an offer from any of the schools.

Finally Wyatt has garnered some attention as well getting nine schools to show interest including Denver, George Mason, Houston, Iona, Sam Houston State, Seattle, Texas A&M, Tulsa and Tech.

Even with these interested players only from the state of Texas and Smith just getting his feet wet in recruiting here at Tech, the first-year Red Raider head coach said there are no limits on where they will recruit and want to bring in talent that will transfer to the next level.

"We expect to recruit all over, from California," he said. "We've had some great players, again, when I think of some of the guys that are playing professional ball like Rajon Rondo, Keith Bogut, kids that played for us, Tayshaun Prince, and there are a couple that are leaving the Minnesota program that will be playing at the next level.  So everywhere we've been, whether it was at Tulsa, Georgia, Minnesota, and we're expected to bring in those caliber players that can play not just college ball but beyond."

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