Former players react to Mark Adams’ hiring
Across Raiderland, people have been weighing in on the hiring of Mark Adams as Texas Tech basketball head coach. And for the most part, the reaction has been one of collective exuberance.
Perhaps that’s because Adams is a West Texas lifer and a Texas Tech alum. Or perhaps it could be that it is believed that he will keep the program’s defense-first identity. Then again, some may be loving the fact that he is rumored to have turned down a hard-ball offer from Chris Beard, who wanted Adams to join him in Austin, only to fight for the job he wanted all along. Still, others may be fond of him because they believe that this truly is his dream job.
But for whatever reason, the news of Adams’ hiring has been met with overwhelming optimism. And many of the more notable former players on Twitter have taken to the platform to celebrate Adams.
For instance, Davide Moretti Tweeted his congratulations and said “I feel way better today”. That’s a serious stamp of approval from one of the best players in the modern era of the program.
Of course, Moretti spent three years playing for Adams at Texas Tech before heading to the Italian professional ranks last offseason. And if a player more known for his shooting than his defense can have such an affinity for the defensive mastermind, Adams, it should tell us how well the new head coach can connect with his players.
What’s more, three days ago, in the middle of the coaching search, Moretti Tweeted that Adams is “the most charismatic and genuine person” he had ever met. Thus, it’s no surprise that Moretti is happy about this hiring.
One of Moretti’s teammates on the 2019 Final Four team, Tariq Owens, had a similar reaction to Adams’ hiring. Tweeting in all capitals, he said expressed his joy in the news of the day.
Owens was the perfect big man to play in Adams’ defensive system. At 6-foot-10, he could protect the rim while also possessing the athleticism and lateral quickness to guard just about every player on the court one-on-one.
That’s why the Red Raiders were historically good defensively that season. Owens was able to allow Tech to switch all ball screens and not lose a step as he could easily corral an opposing guard. But he was also able to come from out of nowhere to block shots at the rim thus letting his teammates play even tighter man-to-man defense knowing that if they were beaten by the ballhandler, Owens would have their back.
Unfortunately, Tech has not been able to find another big man with that type of ability in the years since. If Adams can do that on the recruiting trail, he might be able to come close to replicating 2019’s magical success.
Meanwhile, Justin Gray, who played two seasons under Adams, also had some sincere words of praise for the hire. Always well-spoken, the forward who is now playing overseas said that the move was a “great hire”.
One of the players who came to Tech in the same signing class as Gray, Norense Odiase, was also thrilled by the announcement. What’s more, by Tweeting “Horns Down”, he let us know his feelings about the employer of his former head coach in Lubbock.
Odiase was a glue guy and a culture-setter the likes of which Mark Adams needs to find to help continue to keep the grit and toughness of Texas Tech basketball at the forefront of this program. That’s why it is so important that veterans Kevin McCullar and Kyler Edwards have each decided to return to Tech after Edwards entered the transfer portal and McCullar considered following in his footsteps during the handful of days that the coaching search took.
Matt Mooney, another key player on the Final Four team, had some glowing words of praise for Adams. He referred to Adams as “one of the fiercest competitors” he’s ever been around.
That’s a side of Adams that the general public has yet to have the opportunity to see. Always in the background as an assistant, some mistakenly may have believed that Adams is a bit less fiery than his former boss. However, that isn’t the case according to Mooney, who Adams developed into one of the best defensive guards to play for Texas Tech in recent memory.
There were many other former players of Adams’, such as Keenan Evans, Andrew Sorrells, Brandone Francis, and Zach Smith who also shared their excitement on Monday night. And if the guys who have played under the man are upbeat, there’s no reason for the rest of us to be anything but enthusiastic as well.