Tolbert Latest to Leave Texas Tech

Jordan Tolbert became the second Red Raider to be granted his release from the program Wednesday, following Dusty Hannah's announcement two days earlier.

First Hannahs and now Tolbert.

If Hannahs' announcement elicited some raised eyebrows from Tech fans, Tolbert's made a few mouths drop.

It was no secret that Tubby Smith and Tolbert were not exactly simpatico this past season as the 6-foot-7, 225-pound power forward drew the coach's ire with ill-timed 3-point attempts and a penchant for going MIA for long stretches. Yet, make no mistake this is a big blow for Tech.

Tolbert made 91 starts in three seasons in a Red Raider uniform. He scored over 1,000 points and averaged over almost six rebounds per game throughout his career.

This past season he was second on the team to third-team All-Big 12 performer Jaye Crockett in both scoring (10.7) and rebounding (5.8).

Tolbert's departure means Tech must replace its entire starting frontcourt as Crockett and starting forward/center Dejan Kravic (7-0, 235) have both exhausted their eligibility. That is a combined 32 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks a game.

Reserve forward Kader Tapsoba is also gone along with reserve guard Jamal Williams, Jr.

Throw in Hannahs, who averaged 7.7 points per contest as the sixth man and you get the picture.

There are going to be a lot of new faces next season and Tech has lined up a large class with athletic wing/forward Zach Smith (6-7), wing Justin Gray (6-5), true point guard Keenan Evans (6-3), a pair of junior college transfers in shooting guard Devaugntah Williams (6-3) and power forward Justin Jamison (6-9) and finally another coveted big man in Norense Odiase (6-9).

The Red Raiders are also expected to host 6-foot-10 forward Abdoulaye Gueye this weekend and judging by the amount of activity by the coaching staff this past week, don't be surprised if they use both scholarships opened up by Hannahs' and Tolbert's departures.

Many were expecting Tolbert to be a steadying force with all the new guys coming in and that mantle has passed to starting guards Robert Turner, who will be the Red Raiders' leading returning scorer at 9.3 points per game, and Toddrick Gotcher, who averaged 7.7 points in 32 games (22 starts).

Every new coaching staff wants to bring in their own guys and Smith is doing that. He is a universally respected coach with a Hall of Fame career to back up his methods.

Only time will tell if this massive roster turnover was the right way to go.

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