Texas Tech Hoops Poised for Monster First Season Under Chris Beard

Roster, schedule and detailed analysis previewing what many are expecting to be a huge season on the hardwood for Texas Tech behind a talented core of returning players an impressive infusion of fresh talent and new coach Chris Beard.

2016-17 Texas Tech Men's Basketball Roster
# NAME POS HT WT CLASS HOMETOWN
1 Brandone Francis G 6-5 210 R-So.-TR La Romana, Dominican Republic
2 Devon Thomas G 6-0 175 Sr. Silver Springs, Md.
3 Tommy Hamilton IV F 6-11 260 R-Sr.-TR Chicago, Il.
4 Shadell Millinghaus G 6-2 195 Jr.-TR Brooklyn, N.Y.
5 Justin Gray F 6-6 210 Jr.-TR Tampa, Fla.
10 Niem Stevenson G 6-5 205 Jr.-TR Dallas, TX
11 Zach Smith F 6-8 220 Jr. Plano, TX
12 Keenan Evans G 6-3 185 Jr. Richardson, TX
15 Aaron Ross F 6-8 215 R-Sr. Little Rock, Ark.
21 Anthony Livingston F 6-8 220 Sr.-TR Washington, D.C.
22 Thomas Brandsma F 6-5 220 Sr.-TR Colleyville, TX
23 Giovanni McLean G 6-0 190 Sr.-TR The Bronx, N.Y.
30 Andrew Sorrells G 6-3 170 So. North Richland Hills, TX
32 Norense Odiase C 6-9 255 Jr. Fort Worth, TX
34 Matthew Temple F 6-10 240 Sr. Wichita Falls, TX
44 John Brown F 6-10 240 Fr. Magnolia, TX

After a surprising 2015-16 season that saw Texas Tech make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, the Red Raiders, under new head coach Chris Beard tip off the current season against Houston Baptist on Friday.

Preseason expectations for the Red Raiders vary dramatically based upon proximity to Texas Tech’s program. National pundits, and even the Big 12’s coaches, have slotted the Red Raiders anywhere from fifth to ninth, with seventh or eighth place being the apparent median. Local media, on the other hand, expect great things from this team, and see it building upon the foundation Tubby Smith laid during his Texas Tech tenure.

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The Red Raiders’ nonconference schedule presents few obvious obstacles of great note. Highlights include an appearance in the Cancun Challenge, which, for Texas Tech, gets underway against Eastern Kentucky in Lubbock on November 19. Following that contest, the Red Raiders will travel to Cancun to take on the Auburn Tigers on November 22. The winner of that game will then meet the winner of a tilt between Utah State and Purdue. 

On December 17 Tech will travel to Richmond, Virginia to take on the Richmond Spiders in a rematch of a game won by the Red Raiders in Lubbock last season.

Additionally, Tech will battle LSU on January 28 in their installment of the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

The Red Raiders begin conference play in Ames, Iowa on December 30 against the always-tough Iowa State Cyclones.

Tech’s current roster features two distinct contingents that will need to meld if the Red Raiders are to make major noise this season.

The first cohort is comprised of returnees who were recruited by Tubby Smith. They are Devon Thomas, Justin Gray, Zach Smith, Keenan Evans, Aaron Ross, Matthew Temple, and Norense Odiase.

The second consists of Chris Beard’s first recruiting class. This group is made up of Shadell Millinghaus, Niem Stevenson, Anthony Livingston, Thomas Brandsma and Giovanni McLean.

Five players on this roster are guards. They are Thomas, Evans, Millinghaus, Stevenson and McLean. Justin Gray is also capable of functioning as an off guard. 

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Thomas was a JUCO transfer a year ago whose playing time was relatively minimal. However, based upon a showing in Tech’s exhibition game against Missouri Western, it appears he has improved considerably. Thomas’ quickness has never been a question, but he now seems to play more under control and to be more comfortable on the floor.

Evans is a long, smooth point guard who does a little bit of everything. With an improved and more consistent shooting touch there is every reason to believe he will move into the upper echelon of Big 12 point guards this season.

Newcomer Millinghaus will add tremendous energy and effort to this group, as well as a player who can penetrate and finish. 

Stevenson is a comparatively big body, and the hope is that he will contribute some outside firepower. 

McLean is a combo guard who’s matriculated through the school of hard knocks, and he has the reputation as a good shooter.

While guard play figures to be more than adequate, this team’s strength may well be in the front court. 

Small forward Gray is an extremely dogged and energetic player who will almost certainly develop into a terrific rebounding three guy. He can be relentless on the glass, and is a good defender. 

Smith, a jumping jack who fits at three and four, could be the team’s premiere talent. He runs the court, defends in the half court and in transition, rebounds very well, and scores from mid-range in. A consistent touch from outside is all he lacks. 

Aaron Ross, a forward with an unfortunate history of knee injuries, quietly emerged as the team’s leading scorer last season. He is a poised player with a deft shooting touch from anywhere on the court. Ross, who stands 6-foot-8, may well be the team’s best shooter.

Former walk-on, and intramural find Temple is the biggest body on the team. Like Ross, Temple too has a nice shooting touch to go along with a nice array of moves in the paint.

2016-17 Texas Tech Red Raiders Men's Basketball Schedule
DATE OPPONENT RESULT
Nov 4 vs Missouri Western State (Exhibition) Won, 92-40
Nov 11 vs Houston Baptist (FCS,6:30 p.m.)  
Nov 15 vs North Texas (FSSW+, 6:30 p.m.)  
Nov 19 vs Eastern Kentucky (Cancun Challenge-FSSW, 1 p.m.)  
Nov 22 at Auburn (Cancun Challenge-CBS SN, 5 p.m.)  
Nov 23 at Purdue/Utah St. (Cancun Challenge-CBS SN, 5/7:30 p.m.)  
Nov 25 vs Idaho State (Cancun Challenge-FSSW, 2 p.m.)  
Nov 30 vs Incarnate Word (FCS, 6:30 p.m.)  
Dec 3 vs Rice (FSSW, 1 p.m.)  
Dec 7 vs UTSA (FSSW+, 8 p.m.)  
Dec 14 vs Nicholls State (FSSW+, 8 p.m.)  
Dec 17 at Richmond (ESPNU, 11:30 a.m.)  
Dec 21 vs Longwood (FSSW, 4 p.m.)  
Dec 30 at Iowa State (BIG 12-ESPNEWS, 5 p.m.)  
Jan 3 vs West Virginia (BIG 12-ESPNEWS, 8:15 p.m.)  
Jan 7 at Kansas (BIG 12-ESPN2, 6:15 p.m.)  
Jan 10 vs Kansas State (BIG 12-ESPNEWS, 8:15 p.m.)  
Jan 14 at Oklahoma (BIG 12-ESPNU, 7:30 p.m.)  
Jan 18 vs TCU (BIG 12-FSSW, 6:30 p.m.)  
Jan 21 vs Oklahoma State (BIG 12-ESPNU, 1 p.m.)  
Jan 25 at Baylor (BIG 12-ESPNEWS, 7 p.m.)  
Jan 28 vs LSU (SEC/BIG 12 Challenge-ESPNU, 1 p.m.)  
Feb 1 at Texas (BIG 12-ESPNU, 8 p.m.)  
Feb 4 vs Oklahoma (BIG 12-ESPNU, 6 p.m.)  
Feb 7 at TCU (BIG 12-ESPNEWS, 8 p.m.)  
Feb 11 vs Kansas (BIG 12-ESPN/ESPN2, 1 p.m.)  
Feb 13 vs Baylor (BIG 12-ESPNU, 6 p.m.)  
Feb 18 at West Virginia (BIG 12-ESPN/ESPN2, 1 p.m.)  
Feb 20 vs Iowa State (BIG 12-ESPNU, 8 p.m.)  
Feb 25 at Oklahoma State (BIG 12-ESPNU, 1 p.m.)  
Mar 1 vs Texas (BIG 12-ESPN2, 8 p.m.)  
Mar 4 at Kansas State (BIG 12-ESPNEWS. 12 p.m.)  
Mar 8 at Big 12 Tournament Begins (Kansas City, Mo.)  
Mar 14 at NCAA Tournament First Four  

Norense Odiase (pictured above) is a front-court bruiser who scores equally well with his back to the basket or facing up. His only issue has been a quick fuse that sometimes leads to foul trouble. 

Anthony Livingston, a graduate transfer from Arkansas State, has the look of a scoring machine, and also the history of being an excellent rebounder. In the exhibition he flashed a marksman’s eye all the way out to 3-point range. If there’s a player on the roster who could push this team to the next level, it may be Livingston.

Small forward Thomas Brandsma is a disciple of Chris Beard, having tracked with the head coach at McMurry, Angelo State, Arkansas-Little Rock, and now Texas Tech. He’s an astute basketball player and a very good stand-still shooter. 

As one may gather from the above sketch, this is a team that will possess manifold scoring options and tremendous depth. Combine this fact with Chris Beard’s emphasis—and highly successful emphasis—on playing defense, and it is clear that this team presents a very nice total package. Let the journey begin.  


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