Texas Tech Basketball: Impact of TJ Holyfield’s transfer to Red Raiders

TJ Holyfield is an exciting forward who was one of the top players available for next season. He will be playing for Texas Tech Basketball for the 2019-20 season.

TJ Holyfield committing to play for Texas Tech Basketball is a bigtime addition for the Red Raiders. After they lost their two-man frontcourt players from a year ago to graduation in Tariq Owens and Norense Odiase. Holyfield has had a lot of success in his time with Stephen F. Austin and he helped them advance to the NCAA Tournament where they actually faced off with Texas Tech in 2018.

This is a team that prioritized guard play on the offensive end of the floor this past season and that’s likely how it’ll be this upcoming season as well. With guys such as Davide Morretti and Kyler Edwards set to return it will be the strong suit of their team. Getting some scorers inside is crucial for them as they try to repeat as Big 12 Champs.

Holyfield missed this past season due to injury which is why he’s given the opportunity to be a graduate transfer, but the three years prior when he was on the floor he made a big impact. He was a three-year starter and he impacted the game on both ends of the floor. During the 2017-18 season, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game on 55% shooting including 41% from three-point range.

He has continued to improve his game in college and he will have a chance to take it to the next level under head coach Chris Beard. The other two schools in his final three were Kansas and Illinois. With all the other recruits the Jayhawks are after and the Silvio De Sousa appeal pending that wouldn’t have been a good fit for him, but him passing up the opportunity to play for Brad Underwood who is the coach that recruited him to SF Austin in the first place is a surprise.

The recent success of graduate transfers for Texas Tech is very appealing. After watching two grad transfers in Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens helped lead the Red Raiders to a national championship game appearance this past season. The chance to be a key piece on a Final Four run is intriguing and being able to trust that the coaching staff will help him improve as a player during his time in Lubbock is likely another big reason he decided to join Texas Tech.

While they don’t bring back a lot from last year they do have a few key players returning, but they do also have a good recruiting class featuring guys who can make a big impact right away. They currently have the 16th ranked class according to 247sports headlined by a couple of four-star recruits in Jahmius Ramsey and Terrence Shannon.

Another key part of this pickup is that Holyfield won’t be attending Kansas next season. Even if they do bring back Silvio De Sousa or not he still would’ve played a large role on their team. Texas Tech being able to bring in a starting frontcourt player while limiting the Jayhawks depth is big, especially since Udoka Azubuike has struggled to stay healthy.

While some people will question how good they can be this season you need to think about what they lost prior to this past season as they lost many key players such as Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith. At that time they didn’t know Jarrett Culver would become a star and here he is, in a spot to potentially be a top-five pick in the NBA Draft. With Kyler Edwards and Davide Morreti set for possible breakout roles, the future is still very bright in Lubbock and they will be very competitive next season.