When news started to circulate Thursday about the departure of Coach Chris Beard, lots of thoughts went through most of our heads. Among these thoughts were who would be the next leader of this team, who could lead this team out of the largest betrayal in Texas Tech history? Mark Adams is that man.
An in-depth look at Adams’ coaching and why he would be a good fit on the court can be found in this article detailing all of the coaching candidates thus far. My analysis here is going to be more of an emotional analysis more than anything else. Coach Adams embodies West Texas. That thought has been circulating more and more as this process has drug on. It’s true, Adams has only coached outside of the state of Texas one season in his career, the 2015-2016 season in which he was Beard’s assistant at Arkansas – Little Rock.
The outpour of support from most of the former players speaking out since Beard left for Austin has had one theme: Hire Mark Adams. These range from Matt Mooney, to Norense Odiase, to Tariq Owens. All of these former players want Adams to get another shot at being a head coach, something he almost got two seasons ago when he interviewed for the Southern Miss job. Rumors said Adams was offered the job but rejected it.
That takes us to today, where a great job is open and Adams is one of the top candidates. He has the support and I believe he can recruit the right players to come into this system and play. The past couple of seasons haven’t lived up to the National Championship Runner-Up team in 2019 and I think recruiting has a lot to do with that. A lot of the time, Beard and his staff went after the best players, not the best ones for his system.
That led to some awkward seasons for players, especially graduate transfers that looked out of place. If we look at the seasons that Chris Clarke and TJ Holyfield had in 2019-2020, they simply look out of place. They would both make great plays at times, but it appeared they were making these plays in spite of the system, not because of it. Even Mac McClung looked awkward at times this season. It looked as if he was out of place a lot this season. He hit huge shots for you but would make awful decisions too. It felt like Beard was looking for the next Matt Mooney or Tariq Owens in the transfer portal. It is hard to really put in words how lucky it was for both of these guys to be stars.
Adams could rectify this by allowing raw talent to develop. Every Final Four team this season had some sort of dominant interior presence. The Final Four team in 2019 had two dominating interior big men. Some of the big men that Beard let go of have gone on to do great things, especially Josh Mballa. He was defensively sound but his offense lacked a bit too much for Beard. Just two years later, he averaged a 15 point double-double for Buffalo. The Red Raiders could have used his interior presence this season as just one center-type big man was not enough in many situations.
Allowing recruits to get better and become more cohesive makes for a better program. If you look at the last few seasons, most of the teams going into the Final Four are mostly made up of third and fourth-year guys. That was the case for the Elite Eight team and the Final Four team. Coach Adams is the man to get this program to that point.
He could have gotten on that plane and bailed on Texas Tech like everyone else. Mark Adams didn’t. I have no doubt in my mind that keeping Mark Adams in some capacity is crucial to the success of the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball Program.