The question Tennessee Tech head coach Steve Payne has to be tired of answering by now (or will be tired of answering as basketball season nears) is how is the team going to replace Kevin Murphy?
But that’s not the only talent they have to replace; they also lost their talented point guard, Zac Swansey, to graduation.
This addition might be a good replacement for the latter of those losses.
TTU has added 5’10” guard Jeremiah Samarrippas, a transfer from Southern Methodist University. (Known to most as SMU) Even better: Samarrippas is eligble to play this season.
This isn’t a case of a player moving because he didn’t get enough playing time: Samarrippas started 30 out of 35 his freshman year, every game his sophomore, and averaged over 30 minutes a game in both his seasons with the Mustangs, and was even named a team captain last season.
So why is he leaving?
According to TheLedger.com, he was cut by new head coach Larry Brown, less than a week after he took over the program. From the article:
“He basically told me that I wasn’t good enough to play for him,” Samarrippas said to Mercedes Owens of The Daily Campus
“We’re very excited to have him,” Payne says. “It’s a great thing for him to be eligible for us this season. He’s had success for two years down at SMU and we are excited to see what he can do for us. His style of play fits well with us and he will bring great intensity and toughness to the team. He also has great passing ability and we are looking forward to his impact for this season”
Samarrippas says that the coaching staff at TTU was a key reason in his decision to come to Cookeville.
“I really like the coaching staff here. Coach Payne and coach (Brian) Kloman really made me feel like I could make an immediate impact,” he said. “I just felt more was wanted here than anywhere else.”“I’m also interested in the style of play at Tech,” Samarrippas continued. “I’m excited to get back into the up-tempo offense, where you push the ball and have quick transition.”
Samarrippas led the Mustangs in assists in both of his seasons,(including 4.2 per game in 2011-12, 5th in the CUSA) but took a step back as a scorer from his freshman to sophomore year, shooting 36% from the field, 32% from behind the arc, and averaging fewer than 7 points a game.
All that’s left is for me to learn how to spell his last name…