Texas Tech Basketball is Back

The Red Raider Men's Basketball team opens their 2008-2009 season Friday night against St. Francis. Coach Pat Knight, ready to embark on his first full year as Head Coach, has added some exciting high school and junior college talent to the roster. RaiderPower.com basketball analyst Bill Hipple takes you inside all of the action as he profiles the team and previews the game.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders tip-off the 2008-2009 Men's Basketball season when they host the Red Flash of St. Francis on Friday, November 14th, at the United Spirit Arena at 8:00 pm central. The Red Raiders are entering their 84th men's basketball season.

Coach Pat Knight took over the coaching responsibilities near the end of the 2007-2008 season after his father, the legendary coach Bob Knight, retired as Head Coach of the Red Raiders on February 4th, 2008. Pat Knight finished off the remainder of the season with a 4-6 record, with notable wins against ranked teams in Kansas State and Texas.

The Red Raiders come into the season with a well-balanced roster.

Returning Players:

Trevor Cook Forward Jr

Rogdrick Craig Forward Jr

Michael Prince Forward Sr

Esmir Rizvic Center Sr

John Roberson Guard So

D'walyn Roberts Forward So

Mike Singletary Forward So

Damir Suljagic Forward Sr

Alan Voskuil Guard Sr

Alan Voskuil #20 (L.D. Bell High School / Hurst, Texas)

The 6'3", 181 lb guard was one of three Red Raiders to play in each game (31) during the 2007-2008 season. He had 25 starts during the season and was the second leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points per game. His 30 points against Kansas State was a career best and made him the 35th Red Raider in school history to score at least 30 points in a game. Alan ranked ninth among Red Raider career players in 3-point field goals made (112) and third in 3-point field goal shooting percentage (.446).

Expect Alan Voskuil to be a key contributor and leader on this Texas Tech Red Raider squad.

Damir Suljagic #41 (Salpointe Catholic High School / Tuscon, Arizona)

The 6'9", 250 lb forward played in 25 games and had 17 starts as a junior during the 2007-2008 season. He averaged over 18 minutes per game and scored 4.7 points per game. He was second on the team in rebounds (4.0 per game) and scored double figures in 4 games.

Damir's size and strength will enable him to be one of the leading rebounders on the team again this year.

Esmir Rizvic #34 (Technical School / Zenica, Bosnia)

The 7'0", 262 lb center was injured during the first conference game of the 2006-2007 season and was unable to return for the rest of the year, but was granted one-half season of eligibility by the NCAA as a result of the disturbing injury he suffered (broken eye socket). During his senior year, last season, he played in 28 games and had eight starts, averaging 13 minutes per game and 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

Esmir's experience and size will help out the Red Raiders down low in protecting the paint.

Michael Prince #30 (West High School / Plano, Texas)

The 6'7", 208 lb forward played in 21 games for the 2007-2008 season and averaged nine minutes per game, 1.6 points per game, and 1.8 rebounds per game.

Michael plays with heart and will give the Red Raiders 110% effort throughout the season.

Rogdrick Craig #2 (Westchester High School / Los Angeles, California)

The 6'6", 217 lb forward scored his first points as a Red Raider his junior year against Stephen F. Austin. He played 7 minutes and scored 4 points going 2 for 3 from the field in the game. He scored a total of 16 points during the 2007-2008 season. He did not play in the 2006-2007 season for medical reasons.

Trevor Cook #24 (Coppell High School / Coppell, Texas)

The 6'9", 241 lb forward played in 30 games during the 2007-2008 season with 11 starts an played an average of 16 minutes per game. He averaged 4.9 ppg and 2.4 rebounds per game. One of his more memorable games last season was the win at home against Texas, where he scored 14 points and was 7-7 from the free throw line in 26 minutes of playing time.

Cook should see more playing time this year and will be a major defensive boost for the Red Raiders.

Mike Singletary #32 (Kingwood High School / Kingwood, Texas)

The 6'6", 230 lb forward played 29 games last season with 13 starts. He averaged 7.3 ppg and 3.0 rebounds per game in an average of 16 minutes of playing time per game. He had a season high of 25 points at New Mexico, and scored in double figures in 9 games.

After showing a lot of promise his freshman season, Mike may be the most solid big man for the Red Raiders in 2008-2009.

D'walyn Roberts #5 (Duncanville High School / Duncanville, Texas)

The 6'9, 194 lb forward played in 22 games in the 2007-2008 season and had 4 starts, averaging 11.5 minutes per game. He scored a season high of 11 points in the 76-63 win over then-ranked Gonzaga in the Great Alaska Shootout.

Roberts made big strides over the summer and should have plenty of opportunities to contribute throughout the season.

John Roberson #21 (Plano High School / Plano, Texas)

The 5'11", 165 lb guard played in all 31 games last season and had 25 starts. He averaged 30.9 minutes per game at 12.3 ppg. He led all Red Raiders with 101 assists. His season best of 28 points came against Northwestern State. He was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week two consecutive weeks after his performance against Northwestern State and his 21-point performance against Lamar.

As a true freshman, Roberson showed his maturity as one of the team leaders last season. Expect John to be called upon to be a major scoring threat for the Red Raiders.

Incoming Players:

Darko Cohadarevic Forward JR

Wally Dunn Guard SO

Tyree Graham Guard FR

Robert Levandowski Forward FR

Nick Okorie Guard JR

Corbin Ray Forward FR

Nick Okorie #23 (Kempner High School / Houston, Texas)

The 6'1", 191 lb guard graduated from South Plains College where he averaged 12.2 points as a freshman and 17.2 points as a sophomore. South Plains claimed the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship in 2007-2008 in which Nick scored 29 points in the win over Salt Lake CC. In high school, he averaged 19.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Nick was named All-District and played in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game.

Nick should see immediate playing time with the Red Raiders and will be valuable as a shooter.

Darko Cohadarevic #31 (Grammar School of Math / Belgrade, Serbia)

The 6'9", 242 lb forward graduated from Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. As a freshman, he played in 27 games and made 15 starts. He averaged 9.5 ppg and 5 rebounds per game, and improved to 15.4 ppg and 8 rebounds per game in his sophomore season. Darko's team lost to Nick Okorie's South Plains College team at the NJCAA tournament and completed their season winning third-place.

Wally Dunn #10 (Midland Classical Academy / Midland, Texas)

The 6'4", 194 lb guard graduated from Midland College. He red-shirted his freshman season and then went on to play 32 games as a sophomore and averaged 4.3 points per game. In high school, Wally led Midland Classical Academy to four district championships. He was a three-time All District and District MVP, and earned First Team All-State honors in 2005 and 2006.

Corbin Ray #4 (James E. Taylor High School / Katy, Texas)

The 6'7", 245 lb forward was First Team All-District in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. He averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds as a sophomore, 18 points and 8 rebounds as a junior, and 20 points and 9 rebounds per game as a senior. Corbin was selected to the Texas High School Coaches All-star squad (South).

Robert Levandowski #15 (Blue Valley West High School / Overland Park, Kansas)

The 6'10", 240 lb forward averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds as a junior in high school. Blue Valley West won the Kansas 6 A state championship in the 2006-2007 season. Robert was named All-District in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.

Tyree Graham #3 (Village Christian Academy High School / Fayetteville, North Carolina)

The 6'0", 190 lb guard averaged 23.7 points per game and 7 rebounds as a senior in high school. The Village Christian Academy Knights were conference champions in his senior year, where he was named the Player of the Year in the conference. Tyree was also named NCISAA 2A All-State player, All-Region First Team, and a McDonald's All-American nominee.

Tyree was the star of the 2008 recruiting class for Texas Tech, and the Red Raider coaches are hoping that he can make the transition into Big 12 play quickly.

Season Opener: Texas Tech vs. St. Francis

2007-2008 Record – Overall (6-23), Conference (4-14)

2007-2008 Postseason – None

Head Coach – Don Friday (1st Season)

This marks the first meeting between the two teams.

Top Returnees

Devin Sweeney F 6-6 180 So 10.6 PPG 5.0 RPG

Cale Nelson G 5-10 180 Jr 10.0 PPG 1.7 RPG

Marquis Ford F 5-10 175 Jr 5.3 PPG 2.3 RPG

Grant Suprenant G 6-5 180 Jr 5.1 PPG 0.8 RPG

Steve Profeta G 6-5 180 Jr 4.4 PPG 1.3 RPG

After a disappointing last place finish in the Northeast Conference last season, the Red Flash of St. Francis are trying to regroup under first year head coach Don Friday.

The Red Raiders, who finished in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Big 12 in 2008, are also breaking in a new head coach in Pat Knight, who finished off the season after former head coach Bob Knight retired mid-season.

Coaching the final ten games of the season helped Pat and the Red Raiders make the transition and begin preparation for the 2008-2009 season, and the Red Raider Nation is anxious to see the team he fields on Friday night.

Despite the similarities between the two teams, the Red Raiders have the upper hand in talent, and if they play up to their abilities should easily defeat St. Francis. It will be important for Texas Tech to establish themselves early in the game and for the veterans to step up into leadership roles.

Keys to the Game:

1) Good Team Chemistry- Getting the newcomers and veterans on the same page will be paramount and will most likely fall on the able shoulders of starting guards Alan Voskuil and John Roberson.

2) Solid Rebounding- The Red Raiders finished the season 11th in rebounding in the Big 12 last season, averaging 31.2 RPG, a statistic they must improve if they want to remain competitive this season.

3) Limit turnovers- In practice, Pat Knight has had the Red Raiders pushing the ball relentlessly in an effort to create more of a run-and-gun type of offense. Despite the tempo of the game, the Red Raiders must take care of the ball and avoid thoughtless mistakes.

Assuming the Red Raiders take care of business against St. Francis, they will have their first big challenge of the season as they get ready for the Sam Houston State Bearkats, who come to Lubbock on Monday night, November 17th.

Sam Houston State defeated Texas Tech last season in Huntsville -- so the Red Raiders will be ready to play come Monday night to avenge last year's disappointing season opener.

Let's see how this team gels together for the season opener at the USA.

Go Red Raiders!

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