Parrish: I Have No Idea How Everyone Missed On Beard

If you're surprised Texas Tech is in the Final Four, you shouldn't be

The DA Show
April 01, 2019 - 1:13 pm
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Chris Beard has led Texas Tech to its first Final Four in school history, and if you’re surprised by this, you shouldn’t be. The college basketball world, for whatever reason, has missed on Beard throughout his career.

And Gary Parrish doesn’t understand why.

“I don’t have any idea because he was a Bob Knight assistant,” CBSSports.com college basketball insider Gary Parrish said on The DA Show. “Those guys usually get the benefit of the doubt no matter what. Dan Dakich got to be a Division I head coach – even though he had never won anything of significance – strictly because he was Bob Knight’s former player and Bob Knight’s former assistant, so surely he must know something.

“So it’s amazing to me that it took Chris Beard this long to break through,” Parrish continued. “But since he broke through, he has been incredible.”

Beard’s head-coaching stops include Fort Scott Community College, Seminole State Junior College, McMurry, Angelo State, and Little Rock.

“Everybody focuses on what he’s doing at Texas Tech – and you should,” Parrish said. “He just took a school to the Final Four for the first time in that school’s history. One of the toughest, historically speaking, Power Five jobs in America is in the Final Four. It’s amazing. But it really starts with the one year at Little Rock.”

Little Rock went 45-50 in its three years prior to Beard, 30-5 in its one year with Beard in 2015-16, and is 32-63 in the three years since his departure, including 17-46 in the last two.

“It’s incredible – and it paints a clear picture,” Parrish said. “They were sub-200 at KenPom in the three years before he got there. He gets there, they finish 56th in KenPom, make the NCAA Tournament, win a game in the NCAA Tournament, finish 30-5. The moment he leaves, they go back to being a sub-200 team – and they’ve been a sub-200 team every year since he left.”

Since arriving in Lubbock, Beard has won at a high clip. He led the Red Raiders to the first Elite Eight in program history last season and the first Final Four in program history this season.

“It would be one thing if he took over a great thing at Texas Tech and kept it intact for three years or even two years,” Parrish said. “But that’s not what happened. He lost five of his top seven scorers off last year’s team – and still got this team better and into the Final Four.”

It helped having Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver, sure, but Beard deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

“That’s not like recruiting Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett,” Parrish said. “Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver were both sub-100 high school prospects.”

Smith, in fact, was the first sub-100 prospect to go to college for one year and be a top-16 pick in the NBA Draft. Culver, meanwhile, could go top 10 this year.

“You can suggest, I guess, that Chris Beard just found some diamonds in the rough,” Parrish said. “But I don’t think that’s what happened. I think he found some interesting prospects that were unheralded and he developed them and turned them into top 20 picks in the NBA Draft. If you were asking me right now to name the guy in the sport – and I’m not living in the moment; I’ve been saying this all year – the guy who can get the most out of a roster, even if the roster doesn’t have talent that suggests the most is even reasonable to expect, it’s probably Chris Beard. He’s tremendous, and Texas Tech should pay him whatever they got to pay him to keep him as long as they can keep him.”