Where Texas Tech Still Needs Help

The Red Raiders have already signed six players in the 2014 class, but have two scholarships remaining. The following is a look at where Tech could use the help and some potential prospects who would be a nice fit.

As it presently stands following the latest batch of recruits to sign with Tubby Smith's Red Raiders, Tech will go to battle next season with these players getting most of the meaningful minutes: Alex Foster, Justin Jamison, Norense Odiase, Zach Smith, Devaugntah Williams, Toddrick Gotcher, Randy Onwuasor, Robert Turner, Keenan Evans and Justin Gray.

Jamison and Odiase will get the minutes at center; that duo, in addition to Foster and Smith will see action at power forward; Smith, Gotcher and Gray will all play at small forward some; Williams, Onwuasor, Evans and Gray are capable of holding down the off guard position, and Williams, Turner, Evans and Gray should all be able to do stints at the point.

On paper, that's pretty good coverage. There should be enough versatility to allow a 10-player roster to handle all of the tasks on the court, provided there are no injuries and that severe foul trouble doesn't strike. But as we saw in Big 12 play last season, severe foul trouble is a distinct possibility, and as Aaron Ross' latest injury indicates, the possibility of an unfortunate mishap can hardly be discounted. For those reasons, Tubby Smith and his staff would like to sign one or maybe even two more players before the current signing period ends on May 21.

But at this late date are there any prospects worth signing? And where do the Red Raiders most need help?

Let's take the second question first.

As of this moment the squad has two concerns that, fortunately, could be solved by one recruit. Specifically, the Red Raiders look a bit shaky at small forward, and they could use another shooter to complement incoming recruit Devaugntah Williams. Thus, a small forward who can stroke it from outside would be just the ticket.

The players you'd currently expect to see at the three are Toddrick Gotcher, Zach Smith and Justin Gray. For different reasons, none of the three is the ideal fit.

Gotcher, who is only 6-foot-4, is fully capable of playing this position because of his muscular frame and the fact that he rebounds reasonably well for a player his size. But Gotcher is not a scorer or a real threat from outside, and Tech needs a player at this spot who can pour in some points.

At 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, Smith has excellent size for a small forward, but it is by no means certain that his offensive game is mature enough at this point to really provide a solution. As of the present, Smith looks like a rebounder and an off-the-bench energizer.

Gray is probably the most talented player of this group, and is certainly the best prepared to step onto the court and make a big splash right now. From the author's perspective, however, Gray may be too valuable at the point guard position to see big minutes at the three. Then again, if Robert Turner and freshman newcomer Keenan Evans prove more than adequate to run the point, Gray probably does become the prime option at small forward. But even then, Gray is not yet a good enough shooter to relieve pressure on Williams around the perimeter.

Are there any available prospects Tech is known to be pursing that fill this bill? Possibly. But it is perhaps even more likely that Tech is in on a few prospects that nobody knows anything about.

Possible small forwards of interest include State Fair Community College's Kevin Punter, Byron Smith of Fort Worth Wyatt, Ja'Mill Powell of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, D'Angelo Allen of Dallas Kimball, and Shane Henry of Georgia Perimeter College.

Punter, who recently de-committed from Mizzou after Frank Haith took over coaching duties at Tulsa, is 6-foot-4 and certainly more of a shooting guard than a small forward. Punter did, however, score 20 points per game last year in the JUCO ranks, so he would provide Tech with another scorer who could at least see spot duty at the three. To land Punter, however, Tech will have to best the mysteriously successful recruiters at SMU where Punter is scheduled to visit this weekend, and West Virginia, which is seeking replacements for Eron Harris.

Byron Smith is a slender 6-foot-7 skywalker whose game somewhat resembles Zach Smith's. Currently, his only known offer if from UT-Pan American, and it is possible that Tech's interest has tailed off entirely.

D'Angelo Allen is certainly the most heavily recruited small forward type in which Tech has interest. He has already visited Houston, Oklahoma and Auburn, and holds offers from Arkansas, Georgetown, Marquette, Oregon, Providence and Texas A&M as well as Tech. He is an extremely skilled 6-foot-6 flier who can score from anywhere on the court. His on-court demeanor, however, appears to be a bit volatile. Nevertheless, were he to wind up in the scarlet and black, Tech's problems would be solved.

Powell is another possibility. He is listed at 6-foot-6 or 6-foot-7 and anywhere from 175 to 195 pounds. His offensive game is unreal. Powell has unlimited range on his jumper, gets it off in a heartbeat, can create his own shot, can penetrate and handle. He averaged 15 points, seven boards and four assists per game at Northeastern Oklahoma, and it's a bit of a mystery why he has no offers from high majors at this point. He could be Tech's for the taking, and the Red Raiders could do far worse.

The final prospect is Georgia Perimeter College's Shane Henry. Scheduled to visit Tech the weekend of May 20, Henry is a 6-foot-8 180-pound shot-blocker supreme. He was the GCAA conference's Defensive Player of the Year after swatting five enemy attempts per game. He also scored 13 points and pulled down 13 boards each time out.

Henry is not a mega-scorer, and would not provide the Red Raiders with another deadly deep shooter, but Henry is efficient on offense, shooting a very high percentage from the field. Henry would also contribute a shot blocking dimension Tech loses with the departure of Kader Tapsoba and Dejan Kravic, and he might be a better rebounder than either of those players.

*MotorCityTitansFan contributed to this report.*

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