Courtesy photo: Texas Tech athletics Clovis native Jaye Crockett throws down a dunk in a win over Louisiana-Monroe last season. Crockett hopes to see a jump in minutes and production in his sophomore year with the Red Raiders.
It’s safe to say new Texas Tech basketball coach Billy Gillispie is still feeling things out with the Red Raiders, and the process won’t necessarily end once October rolls around.
“I have no idea how they’re going to respond to practice,” Gillispie said, “to the daily chores of being a college student on top of being a college basketball player.”
So, too, is Clovis native Jaye Crockett.
“I really don’t know (our strengths),” said Crockett, who averaged 4.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in his freshman season. “We have so many new people coming in.”
Crockett, No. 2 on Clovis’ career scoring list, expects to be one of the new contributors, with more minutes and bigger numbers. But he knows he won’t just be given those things. Accountability, Crockett said, is the biggest key to the offseason, and he’s no exception.
“Everybody needs to take things upon themselves, go in the gym by themselves,” said Crockett. “If they mess up outside of basketball, they need to straighten that up.”
While non-committal on the upcoming role for any Red Raider player, Gillispie figures the ceiling is high for Crockett.
“I worked with him a little bit in the spring,” Gillispie said. “He’s very athletic. He’s eager to learn. He’s a guy who’s gaining confidence as he goes. He’s got a lot of work to do, just like we all have a lot of work to do, but I think he’s willing to do all that work. He’s a tremendous athlete and a tremendous person.”
Gillispie said he didn’t see any comparisons between Crockett and players he’d coached at Texas-El Paso, Texas A&M or Kentucky, but countered that he’s never been big on comparisons because “each player is a total individual as far as abilities and strengths.”
When Crockett played for Clovis, his size made him the no-brainer option down low, but his 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame is more suited for a swingman role at the Division I level. So working on his “handles” for a perimeter-based game is the first priority, followed closely by a protein-heavy diet to build muscle.
His youth — Crockett doesn’t turn 20 until October — and transition to a new position were reasons he redshirted his first year at Tech.
“It helped a lot; it helped me get my body right,” Crockett said. “Mentally, now I know how everything works. It’s way faster. People are stronger. People just move quicker, and it’s more skilled.”
Both Crockett and Gillispie are hoping their learning curves won’t be too high.
Gillispie, 140-85 over seven seasons at Texas-El Paso, Texas A&M and Kentucky, grew up in Graford, Texas, about an hour west of Fort Worth, and considers himself a “Big 12 guy.” Gillispie went 70-26 in three seasons at Texas A&M and was an assistant at Baylor from 1994 to 1997.