Recruiting Trail with New Assistants

Scott Fitzgerald dives into what the new coaches of Red Raider basketball bring to the recruiting trail.

Texas Tech Basketball finds itself in an all too familiar spot this May as the program tries to rebound from another coaching change. Coach Tubby Smith knows that in order to change the results in the standings columns, the recruiting must change "inside-out."

"We're going to recruit inside-out," said new assistant Joe Esposito. "We're going to find guys in the state of Texas. Dallas, Houston, wherever in Texas we can find them. Then, if we need to look in other areas, we can do that as well."

Esposito is familiar with the landscape of Central and West Texas, coaching at Angelo State for eight seasons.  "I love it here. I'd take my kids to games here when we were in San Angelo. Basketball and football games were incredible. And the facilities (Texas Tech) has here, it would be the nicest arena in the Big 10."

Joining Esposito as an assistant to Tubby Smith is Alvin "Pooh" Williamson, who ran the point for Tubby Smith at the University of Tulsa, and guided the Golden Hurricanes to their first NCAA win under coach Smith. Williamson is credited for putting together the 2012-13 recruiting class at TCU, which features a scout.com three star and four star recruit.

Williamson agreed that the Red Raiders have to take an in-state first approach to recruiting, but also pointed out the junior colleges will be important, too.

"With all of the talent within a 150 mile radius of Lubbock, we have to take some junior college kids," Williamson said. "Especially in West of Region V, where the basketball is so strong."

Those junior colleges include South Plains in Levelland, who won the Juco National Championship in 2012 with Marshall Henderson, Howard College in Big Spring, who is coached by Mark Adams father of Red Raiders guard Luke Adams, and Midland College, a traditional power whose alumni include NBA stars Mookie Blaylock and Larry Johnson.

Williamson also did not want to rule out the possibility of recruiting some kids who signed with colleges and then later went through a coaching change, similar to how the Red Raiders signed former PG Josh Gray. (Generally, those players are released from their letter of intent.)  "We are looking at any and all possibilities. No stone will be left unturned."

With Red Raiders having similar results this year to TCU, the school Williamson came from, who won only one Big 12 conference game, a surprising win versus Kansas, he doesn't compare the two. "TCU was a new team in a new conference, everyone is getting used to the Big 12 there. Texas Tech has a history of good basketball and we have good facilities. It's not like we're starting over."

The Red Raiders have two weeks to salvage a recruiting class and put together a roster for 2013-14. The signing period ends for basketball on May 15.


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