Basketball is Here

Basketball season is finally here. Coach Knight and company will have a lot of new faces on the team this year after hitting the recruiting trail hard and picking up 8 new players. With these new additions coupled with returning stars Jarrius Jackson and Martin Zeno, this year could end up being a special one.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders tip-off the 2006-2007 men's basketball season when they face the Bearkats of Sam Houston State on Saturday, November 11th at the United Spirit Arena.

Finally, Basketball season has arrived!  This should be a very exciting year with much higher expectations after last season's disappointing record of 15-17 (6-10).  Coach Bob Knight, with 869 career victories, is only 11 wins away from becoming the all-time wins leader in NCAA Division 1 Basketball History.  Those ahead of the General are Dean Smith with 879 wins and Adolph Rupp with 876.  Recently, Coach Knight signed a three year extension which secures him as head coach of the Red Raiders until the 2011-2012 season.  It seems that there is a great possibility Coach Knight will shatter this all-time wins record in years to come.

The Red Raiders come into this season with an impressive roster. The returning players are: 


Darryl Dora Forward SR
Jarrius Jackson Guard SR
Tanner Ogden Forward SR
Jon Plefka Forward SR
LucQuente White Guard SR
Martin Zeno Guard JR
Michael Prince Forward SO
Damir Suljagic Forward SO
Alan Voskuil Forward SO
Justin Wilkerson Forward FR

Having five seniors this year will give Tech the much needed experience and leadership that was lacking last year.  Last season, Jarrius Jackson led the Big 12 in scoring averaging 20.5 points per game.  In a surprising turn of events last week, Coach Knight dismissed Jackson from the team explaining that it was for "failure to fulfill academic requirements that we have for our men's basketball team."  Raider Nation exhaled a huge sigh of relief earlier this week after learning that Jay Jackson is now back on the team.  Apparently, Jay got the message and took care of business in the classroom to earn his spot back.  The question now is if he will maintain his academic requirements while also being the leader of this team.  Damir Suljagic and Justin Wilkerson red shirted last season but are expected to be ready to contribute this year.

The incoming players include:

Charlie Burgess Guard JR
Tyler Hoffmeister Forward JR
Esmir Rizvic Center JR
Trevor Cook Forward SO
Rogdrick Craig Forward SO
Jay Mitchell Forward SO
Benny Valentine Guard SO
Decensae White Forward FR

This mix of junior college transfers as well as high school talent is ready to make a direct impact on this program.  Another player addition is the winner of the ESPN hit reality show "Knight School", Tyler Hoffmeister.

The Season Opener

Sam Houston State finished 2nd in the Southland Conference last season, posting a record of 22-9.  The Bearkats won the 2003 Southland Post-Season Tournament which got them into the NCAA tournament.  They were defeated in the first round by Florida, 85-55.

The Bearkat's projected starters are:

Jejuan Plair
, Senior, Guard, 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds per game
Shamir McDaniel, Junior, Guard, 5.7 points, 2.5 rebounds per game
Ryan Bright, Junior, Forward, 11.5 points, 7.9 rebounds per game
Aaron Wade, Senior, Forward, 6.1 points, 3.0 rebounds per game
John Gardiner, Senior, Forward, 7.8 points, 5.2 rebounds per game

The Red Raiders should roll in this game, but it doesn't take much to muster up memories of a shocking 69-65 home loss to the Bearkats in 2001.  That loss was Coach Knight's first at Texas Tech.

The Red Raider's projected starting line-up is:

Charlie Burgess
, 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds per game  (Howard)
Jarrius Jackson, 20.5 points, 4.1 rebounds per game
Martin Zeno, 13.7 points, 5.3 rebounds per game
Darryl Dora, 7.6 points, 4.6 rebounds per game
Esmir Rizvic, 17.5 points, 11.4 rebounds per game (Gulf Coast before injury)

Saturday's contest will mark the 7th meeting between the two teams, with Texas Tech leading the series 5-1.  At home, Tech leads the series 3-1. The Red Raiders won the only game the teams have played in Huntsville.  This season and home-opener will air on the Texas Tech Television Network at 1:00pm.   

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