With the team tennis season starting just a couple of days from now, I suppose it's time for this thread. Normally I'll post an unnecessarily long write-up previewing the new tennis season, but that won't be the case this year (I'll cut the length in half at least) . We lost so much talent to graduation last season, and unfortunately the two best players on our roster from the fall quit the team. With the Big 12 being as strong as it is, and Texas going through a "rebuilding" year, it's very difficult to be optimistic. But perfectchaos007, we are nationally ranked #12 in the pre-season poll, isn't that good? Of course it's good, until you realize that every pre-season poll is basically a copy/paste from the year end poll the previous season. Last year I told everyone TCU's preseason ranking of #40 was BS and they were easily top 10, and then of course they moved on to the Final 4. Preseason tennis polls don't mean squat.
Okay so who did we lose from last year?
Okay not really everyone, but pretty darn close to everyone. Here's who we lost to graduation:
All of those guys, save for Jacoby, played major roles on the team. You could almost always count on those guys to pull out big wins. So with them gone, we had big shoes to fill. Our Senior leader this year was supposed to be Nick Naumann, and our stud freshman recruit Liam Caruana was going to be our underclassman leader. That plan went out the window a couple months ago when both quit the team.
Players we lost from pro/transfer/quit
Nick suddenly quit the team, and I don't have information as to why he quit, but he's supposedly now giving tennis lessons for money. Liam played the individual season for us in the Fall, but decided last month to go pro.
So who is left, and what's the projected singles lineup?
Fortunately we still have 4 guys on the roster that have meaningful playing experience from last year so I don't want to give the impression that this team is in worse shape than the womens team. Not by a longshot. The guys we have left just weren't that consistent.
1. George Goldhoff (Jr)
2. Michael Riechmann (Sr)
3. John Mee (So)
4. Harrison Scott (Fr)
5. Adrian Ortiz (So)
We have some guys that can play line 6, but it may be an interchangeable position. If I were to guess who starts out at line 6, I would say freshman Rodrigo Banzer since he has ATP points and played Davis Cup for Bolivia.
Why is this team so baron all of the sudden? Has Coach Center lost control of the program?
Not at all. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but it's hard to rebuild when you don't have a home outdoor tennis facility. If you're a top international recruit looking to improve your game and train, Texas is currently a very tough sell. Our new indoor facility is a 30-40 minute drive from campus, and we have no outdoor facility. Our home Big 12 matches will be played at Polo athletic club which is also a 30-40 minute drive from campus. Steve Patterson and co. didn't put replacing Pennick Alison at a high priority. They should have at least began construction of the new facility as soon as they started to tear down Pennick, but that didn't happen. Fortunately a new outdoor tennis facility should be completed by Spring 2017 near the baseball field. This will help our recruiting again once it's finished.
Big 12 predictions:
Once again the Big 12 is stacked. Big 12 had 3 teams that made the Final 4 last year, and I think its just as strong this year.
1. TCU (5-0)
2. Oklahoma (4-1)
3. Baylor (3-2)
4. Texas Tech (2-3)
5. Texas (1-4)
6. OKST ( 0-5)
TCU is my pick to win the Big 12 because they had a ton of underclassmen lead their team to the final 4 last year and they follow that up by recruiting the #1 recruit in the nation, Alex Rybakov. TCU is my pick to win the National Championship.
Texas starts the season this Tuesday in a double header against Lamar and Abilene Christian.