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Tariq Owens transfers to Texas Tech

Tariq Owens, who decided to look for other opportunities as a grad transfer, has committed to Texas Tech.

Owens, a graduate transfer, will be eligible next season to play for Chris Beard’s team in Lubbock, TX.

Tariq Owens and his family was interested in a bigger role on offense for the lithe and quick 6’11” forward.

Owens considered Maryland, where he visited, and also considered coming back to St. John’s. But the opportunity with the Big 12’s Red Raiders proved too good to pass up. The Red Raiders roster lost 6’11” Tommy Hamilton (a transfer from DePaul); they have 6’8” forward Norense Odiase returning as well, a low-usage, rebounding forward.

If Owens can find a fit in Texas, he will have a chance to showcase his offensive skills - quickness, dunking, a jump shot out to the three-point line. His shot blocking will be an asset to one of the nation’s best defenses last season, and playing next to Odiase could allow Owens to roam on defense.

A comment, tweeted by the NY Post’ Zach Braziller:

St. John's v Villanova Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Tariq Owens scored a career-high 19 points against Seton Hall in January, while Shamorie Ponds sat out with an injury. He also had 14 rebounds in that game, also a career-high.

Owens scored in double figures in seven of 20 Big East contests, and scored 17 on Duke as the Johnnies exposed the Blue Devils with Owens on the pick-and-roll.

Owens was an alley-oop threat in transition and in the half court, able to rise above defenders.

On the season, he hit 54% of his two-point shots, 32% of his threes, and 69% of his free throws. He shot 75% at the rim and 34% on longer two-pointers, about half of his offense inside the arc.

Right now, the expected St. John’s roster looks like this:

G: Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon, Mikey Dixon, Bryan Trimble Jr., Greg Williams Jr.

W/F: Marvin Clark II, Boubacar Diakite

F: Sedee Keita, Josh Roberts, Marcellus Earlington

With three open scholarships (and awaiting a decision from Shamorie Ponds, who declared for the NBA Draft without an agent), expect the Johnnies to pursue a transfer forward eligible next season and at least one transfer who will not be eligible next season.

Chris Mullin’s Johnnies continue to look for continuity on the court. Losing Tariq Owens — whose energy set the tone and whose shot blocking helped anchor a top-30 defense — will mean some changes in how the Johnnies play defense.

Without the length of Owens (and without the shot blocking of little-used Kassoum Yakwe), the Red Storm return no shot blockers.

For next season, Owens’ impact will be felt most acutely on defense.

Sedee Keita will be tasked with providing a strong defensive presence for the Red Storm next season. He blocked 5% of the two-point shots taken while on the floor in limited time, and provides the size at 6’9”, 240 pounds to also be a paint presence, fight for rebounds against true bigs.

But will he get capable help from freshman Josh Roberts, from redshirted freshman Boubacar Diakite, or from a grad transfer?