Kevin McCullar announces he won’t return to Tech

You have to keep your head on a swivel this time of year if you are a Texas Tech basketball fan. And Sunday evening, a huge domino in the program’s offseason fell with a resounding thud.

Taking to social media, guard Kevin McCullar Jr. announced that he will not be returning to Texas Tech next season. More specifically, he revealed that if he is to return to the college ranks, he will either play for Kansas or Gonzaga. (Vomit.)

The San Antonio native still has his eye on an NBA career this offseason but that might be a bit of a stretch given his limitations as a player. Thus, Red Raider fans had been hoping that the multi-year starter would return to Lubbock to finish his college career. However, those hopes are now dashed.

Make no mistake, McCullar will be missed. This past season, he averaged 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game in helping the Red Raiders reach the Sweet 16.

What’s more, he was arguably Tech’s best perimeter defender. In fact, his defensive rating (an estimate of the number of points he surrendered per 100 possessions) was a sparkling 90.1 despite the fact that he was often tasked with guarding the opposition’s top scorers.

But on the other hand, McCullar showed throughout his career in Lubbock that he is far from a perfect player. And many of his shortcomings could keep his dream of an NBA career from becoming a reality.

First of all, he’s a below-average 3-point shooter. The best he ever shot from beyond the arc in a season was the 31.1% he shot in 2021-22. Numbers like that don’t typically portend a long NBA career for a guard as the importance of hitting from the outside has never been greater in the Association than it is now.

Additionally, McCullar never proved capable of being a player who can generate his own offense or get shots for other players off the dribble. This season, he got a shot at being Tech’s primary ball-handler and the results were only tepid at best. In fact, for much of the season, Adonis Arms had to serve as Tech’s top offensive creator from the guard / small forward position.

Rather, McCullar is a high-impact glue guy. Possessing a tremendous knowledge of the game, he almost always seems to be in the right position and he became one of the most reliable Red Raiders on the roster for that reason.

As a result, much of his offensive production came from doing the dirty work that the game requires, a fact that made him one of the most popular players on the team for the last three seasons. Also endearing him to Texas Tech basketball fans was the fact that he seemed to be a team leader and the emotional catalyst for his teammates.

But the days of McCullar being a fan favorite in Lubbock are going to come to an abrupt halt if he plays for another university, especially Kansas. And while we don’t quite know exactly how McCullar’s career will be remembered by Tech fans given that we don’t know what his next step will be, we do know that he’s no longer interested in being a Red Raider, and for many fans , that is some of the offseason’s most disappointing news given all that he’s meant to the program.

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