Here are three players in the transfer portal that Texas Tech coach Chris Beard should target this offseason.
Though Texas Tech just completed its tournament run, the offseason is already in full swing for the majority of Division I programs. That also means the transfer portal is getting crowded, and if there’s one thing we know about Chris Beard, it’s that he likes to finish out the roster with transfers.
He’s had plenty of success in recent years with the likes of Tariq Owens, Matt Mooney, Mac McClung, and Marcus Santos-Silva. Beard also has just one incoming freshman commitment in four-star forward Jaylon Tyson out of Plano. While Tyson is an excellent addition, he will not be the only new player for Texas Tech next season.
The departures of Joel Ntambwe and Nimari Burnett open up a couple of spots, and McClung and Terrence Shannon will have to decide whether to return to Texas Tech next year or head off to the NBA. Santos-Silva will also have to decide whether to return, so those decisions will heavily impact what Beard does moving forward.
But for now, we do know one thing — the Red Raiders need size. No one in their regular rotation this season is taller than 6-foot-7, which is amplified by their matchup against Utah State and their imposing big man Neemias Queta. They do have seven-footer Vladislav Goldin on the roster, but whether Beard will trust him with big minutes next year remains to be seen.
We also know that fitting into the system is a big deal, as we’ve seen some highly talented players (Burnett, for example) who just weren’t going to make it here. Beard and his staff are in a better position to judge that, but they nonetheless should definitely target at least one player who brings an element of size this team currently lacks. With that in mind, here are three players whose names are currently in the transfer portal that could be fits at Texas Tech.
Tre Mitchell – UMass
The Utah State matchup had me thinking how nice it would be to have a guy like Tommy Hamilton on the roster — a big man who’s a threat from deep. It really spaces out the floor and creates matchup problems for most defenses. Enter the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Tre Mitchell, whose addition would have a huge impact similar to adding McClung.
Mitchell earned A-10 Rookie of the Year honors last season when he averaged 17.7 ppg, and he was even better this year. Though limited to 13 games, he averaged 18.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 56.7 percent inside the arc, 37.5 percent from deep and 76.8 percent from the charity stripe. He also cut down on his turnovers from his freshman season.
The main questions with him will be defense and continuing to reduce his turnovers, but if he’s willing to buy in and be coached, he’ll add a ton of punch to the Texas Tech offense. If he can improve his interior defense and shot blocking, he’s more than capable of being one of the best players in the Big 12.
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Dimon Carrigan – FIU
If Beard wants something resembling more of a traditional big man, FIU’s Dimon Carrigan would be a good choice. He has no outside game to speak of and wouldn’t be a dynamic offensive player by any means, but he’s the type of guy who can score efficiently in the paint when called upon while also providing solid defense down low.
He averaged just 19.4 minutes per game this year, his second at FIU, but still averaged 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Remarkably, he also shot 63.5 percent from inside the arc, albeit while averaging just 4.3 attempts per game. The drawback is he’s been a poor free throw shooter, hitting less than 50 percent in his two seasons.
If you’re willing to live with that, and of course work with him to improve on it, the 6-foot-9, 215-pound Boston native would be able to effectively counter other teams’ forwards and centers and protect the paint, which would mean the team’s perimeter defenders wouldn’t have to collapse as frequently. That’s part of why Texas Tech has so poorly defended the three this year, so Carrigan could help in multiple ways.
Tari Eason – Cincinnati
While not quite a “big man” at 6-foot-8, Tari Eason might just fit this Texas Tech team quite well. He’s only a freshman this year and his numbers aren’t eye-popping, but there are gobs of potential here. The scouting report coming out of high school noted his “explosive athleticism,” ability to guard multiple positions and be a tremendous defender.
In 19.6 minutes per game this year, he hit 51.7 percent of his shots from inside the arc but only 24.1 percent from deep and 57.4 percent from the stripe. But he also averaged nearly six rebounds a game in those limited minutes along with 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks. He’s the kind of defender Beard and his staff love and should have no problems with switching on defense.
His offensive game needs work, obviously, but he can be plenty effective in transition and in certain situations. He’s about the same size as former Red Raider Zach Smith and has a similar skillset, but with more offensive potential given the right coaching. He’ll have multiple seasons of eligibility left, so there’s time for him to grow into a key player if he’s willing to be coached.