With the announcement that shooting guard Dusty Hannahs has been granted leave to transfer to the non-Big 12 school of his choice, not to mention Jordan Tolbert's departure, Texas Tech's returning basketball roster has been pared to a mere five scholarship players.
They are Toddrick Gotcher, Robert Turner, Randy Onwuasor, Alex Foster and Aaron Ross. Obviously, it is extremely important that Tubby Smith and his staff have accurately evaluated the talents of the incoming recruits who will round out the class by signing in April.
But what damage, if any, will Hannahs' departure do to next year's squad?
The snap answer would be that the Red Raiders, already a subpar deep shooting team, will be even worse in that department next season. Hannahs was, after all, the team's leading three-point shooter, connecting on 37 percent of his attempts beyond the arc. (Ross actually shot 38 percent from that distance, but only attempted 21 treys to Hannahs' 111.)
Hannahs showed what he was capable of when he scored 25 points and hit all seven of his three-point attempts in a road loss to West Virginia. Clearly, when Hannahs gets decent looks, he can severely harm the opposition.
Unfortunately, Hannahs turned into a dwindling offensive asset after his outburst in Morgantown. Over the final 13 games of the season Hannahs' accuracy from three-point country fell to 25.7 percent and his scoring average shrank to 5.5 points per game.
His struggles became even more acute over the course of the last five games when he hit one of nine three-point attempts (11 percent) and his scoring average plummeted to 2.6 points per contest. As the season wore on and the intensity increased in preparation for the NCAA tournament, Hannahs become a virtual non-entity from a scoring standpoint.
But, of course, Hannahs was not defined solely by his shooting ability. He was a factor of sorts in other ways.
Thus, although he was a shooting guard, there were actually times when he appeared to be the team's most reliable ball-handler. Hannahs was not flashy with the rock, but neither did he make boneheaded mistakes. On the season, Hannahs dished out 40 assists and committed 26 turnovers. That is a 20/13 ratio. By way of comparison, starting point guard Robert Turner handed out 84 assists while turning the ball over 56 times. Turner's ratio was 3/2, not a whole lot better than Hannahs'.
On defense, Hannahs was no Michael Cooper, but neither was he a Reggie Miller. And he should be given full credit for improving on that end to the point that he was no longer a defensive liability.
Hannahs' greatest strength may actually have been his free throw shooting. He shot a school record 92 percent from the stripe, and was clearly an asset when the Red Raiders were trying to protect a lead down the stretch—something they didn't do all that often, it must be said.
Hannahs also was a good intangible man. Despite the pretty boy looks, Hannahs played a deceptively tough game and seemed to be a good locker-room presence. And to all appearances, he was the consummate teammate.
Having said all of this, Hannahs' problem was that all too often, he was a non-factor. Sure, he made few mistakes, but neither did he make many plays. The reality was that he frequently soaked up minutes and gave little in return. With a presumed influx of talent at the two guard position next season, Tubby will have real options at shooting guard, which in all likelihood would mean that Hannahs would no longer be soaking up those minutes. The loss, therefore, is minimal.
Dusty Departs: What Does It Mean?
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