NCB On The Trail: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Forty-six Division I schools came into the season with a new basketball coach. The vast majority of those changes were met with optimism and enthusiasm.

But with conference play now revving up, many first year coaches are dealing with the harsh reality that rebuilding isn’t going to happen overnight. And in those types of situations, sometimes your first year recruiting class can be more important than your win-loss record.

A coach’s first recruiting class is absolutely critical to his long-term success. It’s about more than just filling out next year’s roster. It’s about setting the tone for the way in which the staff and program will be viewed by prospects, high school coaches, and AAU coaches moving forward. And this time of year, when the product on the floor isn’t always something a coach can sell, making an initial splash on the recruiting trail is often times all it takes to develop the type of positive momentum to build on.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how seven first-year coaches are doing on the trail:

Texas Tech signs Inglewood guard

June, 13, 2013
New Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith announced the signing of 2013 point guard Randy Onwuasor (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood) on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-3 Onwuasor averaged 15.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a senior this season. He chose the Red Raiders over LSU, St. Louis, Miami (Ohio) and Cal State Fullerton.

"We believe that Randy adds some depth to our backcourt that we need," said Smith. "He has obviously had a good scholastic career. He is a very talented and very physical guard that can play both the point and shooting guard positions."

Onwausor joins PF Alex Foster (Chicago/Seton Academy), SG Cory Scott (Copperas Cove, Texas/Copperas Cove) and PG Robert Turner (Augusta, Ga./New Mexico J.C.) in Tech's incoming freshman class.

PF Alex Foster picks Texas Tech

May, 15, 2013
Former Minnesota recruit Alex Foster (Chicago/Seton Academy) committed to Texas Tech on Wednesday, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

Foster signed with the Gophers to play for head coach Tubby Smith but was granted a release when Smith was let go in March. He will now suit up for Smith at Tech.

Foster averaged 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks as a senior.
Derrick Neal (Dallas/Lincoln) has a name and a game that are slowly resonating through the college ranks. As good of a football player as he is, some think he’s an even better basketball player.

So when the 5-foot-10, 145-pound 2014 athlete verbally committed to Texas Tech on Wednesday, fans from both sports were wondering exactly what he committed for -- football or basketball? And will he play both for the Red Raiders?

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ESPN 100 Frazier delays announcement 

March, 28, 2013
ESPN 100 shooting guard Keith Frazier (Dallas/Kimball) will not announce his decision on Thursday as was originally expected. The senior confirmed the news to ESPN RecruitingNation coordinator Reggie Rankin.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Keith Frazier (Dallas/Kimball) grins and laughs when the tougher questions come up, like which school is No. 1 or which official visit was the best of the three he’s taken. He came to Austin to play basketball, not drop any recruiting news.

But now that the UIL state championships are over and Frazier’s senior season has ended, it’s time for the ESPN 100 guard to start closing in on a decision. Next up could be two final official visits.

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First football offer for 2-sport ATH Neal 

February, 20, 2013
Derrick Neal (Dallas/Lincoln) picked up his first football offer on Wednesday. The big question now is in play for the 5-foot-10, 155-pound athlete.

Football or basketball in college? Or both?

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Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie has added another quality piece to an already very impressive 2012 recruiting class in combination-forward Aaron Ross (Little Rock, Ark./ St. John's Northwestern Military Academy (Wis.)).

"I had a great visit, I liked the campus, Coach G and the staff it was just a great fit for me," said Ross, who picked the Red Raiders over Alabama, Dayton and Arkansas who Ross was previously committed to.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward has a great basketball IQ and feel for the game. Ross is a bull inside who has a nice touch on the perimeter and is a glue guy who is a huge matchup problem. Ross posts up and shoots over smaller defenders or beats less-mobile defenders off the bounce.

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Wannah Bail, Michael Carey to Texas Tech 

February, 13, 2012
Teammates Wannah Bail and Michael Carey (Houston/Lamar Consolidated) have committed to Texas Tech.

Wannah Bail
Courtesy Alan BranchWannah Bail is the No. 35-ranked PF in the 2012 class.
Bail selected the Red Raiders over Houston, Oregon, Marquette and Florida State, while Carey picked Texas Tech over Oregon and Houston.

Bail and Carey, both natives of the Bahamas, will join 6-foot-3 shooting guard Dusty Hannahs (Little Rock, Ark./Pulaski Academy) and 6-0 juco standout point guard Daylen Robinson (Kansas City, Mo./Moberly Area CC) to form the Red Raiders' 2012 class.

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Damyean Dotson commits to Oregon 

November, 7, 2011
Oregon coach Dana Altman got his point guard of the future last week and on Monday Altman added one of the best uncommitted seniors in the state of Texas in 6-6 versatile small forward Damyean Dotson (Houston/Jack Yates).

"I felt Oregon was the best situation for me, my position there was the most open. I really liked the environment, fans and facilities," said Dotson, who picked the Ducks over Colorado, Baylor, Texas Tech and Georgetown. I am glad the recruiting process is over, it was a very stressful and a very hard decision."

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Courtesy of Reggie RankinDamyean Dotson is the No. 17 overall player in the state of Texas.
Dotson is a stat-sheet stuffer who competes and plays extremely hard on both ends of the floor. He excels in transition, gets to the rim, hits midrange jumpers, knocks down rhythm 3s, handles, passes and rebounds in and out of his area. He can also play and defend both wing positions with ease or even can help at the point in a pinch.

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