The Texas Tech Red Raiders won 18 games and won a game in the NCAA Tournament. We take a look back in this Texas Tech Red Raiders 2020-21 basketball season in review.
Record: 18-11 (9-8 in Big 12)
Postseason: NCAA Tournament: def. Utah State, 65-53 (first round); lost to Arkansas, 68-66 (second round).
Seniors/lettermen losing: F Marcus Santos-Silva (8.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.1 bpg).
Note: NCAA rules allow all players to trigger an extra year of eligibility for the 2021-22 season due to COVID-19. These seniors have the choice to return based on that rule.
Any NBA Bound?: Santos-Silva doesn’t feel like an NBA player right now. But there could be a place for him in the G League or overseas.
Any One-and-dones or early entries?: Terrence Shannon Jr. could flirt with the possibility. He’s the only Red Raiders player currently found in NBA mock drafts.
Any transfers: Freshman Nimari Burnett submitted his name to the transfer portal in January. Forward Joel Ntambwe left the program in November.
Top players expected to return: G Mac McClung (15.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Terrence Shannon Jr. (12.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg); G Kevin McCullar (10.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.7 spg);G Kyler Edwards (10.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.1 spg); F Micah Peavy (5.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 apg); G Jamarius Burton (4.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.2 apg).
Who’s back and who’s coming?
The player(s) you don’t know about: You saw a little bit of Chibuzo Agbo in the NCAA Tournament loss to Arkansas. He’s the guy that came out of nowhere and hit that bank 3-pointer from the top of the key in the second half, and then hit a baseline 3-pointer a bit later. It was his best game of the year. This season, the freshman played about six minutes per game, scored about two points per game and shot about 41 percent from the floor. But with all the guard depth he didn’t get many opportunities. But the potential is there for the 6-foot-7 forward, especially if Shannon leaves for the NBA. Agbo was a Top 130 recruit in that 2020 Class cultivated by head coach Chris Beard. Agbo averaged 22 points per game in his senior season at Saint Augustine HS in San Diego, California. So had obvious game. He just needs a chance. He might get it next year.
2021 recruiting class: F Jaylon Tyson, John Paul II, Plano, Texas. Tyson is a Top 100 recruit, rated No. 35 in the nation by 247Sports.com. Tyson, 6-foot-6 is a good swing forward pick up for the Red Raiders. He could contribute right away.
Commitments yet to sign: None.
Summarizing the season
Texas Tech started this season as one big chemistry experiment. Chris Beard had four transfers to try and blend together with several holdovers, and by February it was starting to work. The keys were turning the car over to McClung to run the offense, sliding Shannon back to the bench and make him one of the best sixth men in the Big 12, and getting McCullar back from injury. Once Beard had those pieces in place, the Red Raiders were able to be highly competitive in the Big 12. They were certainly one of the most streakiest teams in the conference, losing two games and then winning three games, and then losing two games and then winning three games. But, even with all the different COVID pauses that impacted their season — not their pauses but the pauses of other teams — the Red Raiders were able to remain in the race for one of the Big 12 Tournament’s higher seeds until the last weekend. Once they got to the NCAA Tournament, they played a solid game against Utah State, and darn near erased a double-digit deficit against Arkansas. For the first time in three Tournaments, the Red Raiders did not advance to the Sweet 16, but they remain one of the top programs in the Big 12.
Looking ahead to 2021-22
There is a chance that the Red Raiders could have their entire roster back next season. It hinges on Santos-Silva choosing to use his extra year of eligibility, and Shannon turning his back on the NBA. I think there’s a better chance of Santos-Silva returning than Shannon turning his back on the chance to be a first-round pick. Even if both players leave, the Red Raiders are set up to be highly competitive next season. I could see a starting lineup featuring McClung, McCullar, Edwards, Peavy, and Burton. He’ll have an experienced bench with Tyreek Smith, Agbo, Clarence Nadolny, and that would give him time to slip Tyson into the rotation as a true freshman. The departures of Santos-Silva and Shannon might open up a scholarship for Beard to dip into the transfer portal, which should be busting with talent this year. And with the Red Raiders’ reputation for catering to transfers, I could see Beard bringing in one more talented piece to work with what he already has. Looking ahead to next season this looks like a top-five team in the Big 12, and a team that will likely be ranked in the top 25 to start next season.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard
**Want to win a $20 gift card? Go sign up here and join our conversation! The best poster each week wins a gift card to your favorite establishment!**