The Texas Tech basketball team has announced that sophomore Joel Ntambwe has left the Red Raider basketball program. The athletic department announced the abrupt news via texastech.com this morning.

Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard has announced that sophomore Joel Ntambwe will no longer be a part of the Red Raider program.

Beard confirmed that Ntambwe told him the decision to leave the program was based on personal reasons and what is best for his family.

“We appreciate Joel’s contributions to our basketball program,” Beard said. “We wish Joel the best in his future. I’ll personally be pulling for him to succeed in his next step.”

 

The Ntambwe saga at Texas Tech has been a whirlwind affair that never really got on track. He transferred into Texas Tech prior to the 2018-19 season but was denied a waiver by the NCAA. This offseason, his 5-star brother briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a Red Raider but ultimately chose the G League. After the G League decision by Ntambwe's brother, there was a time when Ntambwe wasn't in Lubbock and the thought was that he wouldn't return and would pursue a professional career.

However, by the start of the season, Ntambwe had returned and was, by all accounts, all in on the season. Ntambwe did not start in the Red Raiders' first three games and only played a handful of minutes against Houston. My conjecture is that Ntambwe didn't think a full season in Lubbock would properly show his talents for his eventual NBA audition. If Ntambwe has gotten an offer to play professionally somewhere then his mentality is that it'd be easier to get minutes on a professional team than it would be on the Red Raiders.

As far as the Red Raiders go, it hurts to lose a depth piece and will be a much bigger deal if guys end up missing time, but I think Ntambwe was trending toward being the 3rd or 4th player off the bench for Chris Beard. Tyreek Smith has been more productive early in this season and Micah Peavy started in place of Kevin McCullar's spot. The 6th man so far this season has been Jamarius Burton.

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