By Tom Ballato
Tariq Owens spent the last three years at St. John’s University. After transferring from Tennessee, Owens sat out a year as per NCAA rules and then went on to play two seasons for the Red Storm. “I chose St. John’s because of Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond was assistant coach, and my family is from New York. The opportunity to come home to be closer to my family was a big factor.”
At St. John’s, Owens became a defensive presence and improved his game each year. When asked what his biggest takeaway from St. John’s was, Owens replied, “Having a leadership role and communication was important because guys on the team were from different countries, so communication was key.”
Last spring, Owens graduated with a degree in sports management and had one more season of eligibility. After testing the transfer market, Tariq ended up transferring to Texas Tech for his final season. “I enjoyed my time at St. John’s and it was a hard choice to leave. It was a tough, but it was the best decision for me.” Throughout the transfer process, Owens claimed, “A return to St. John’s was never out of the question. It was always between St. John’s, Maryland, and Texas Tech.”
“Last year upsetting Duke and then beating Villanova on their home floor was fun and we grew as a team, but it was down year for us.” Owens made it clear that St. John’s is headed in the right direction and he enjoyed the brotherhood he had with his former teammates and coaches.
Now Tariq is ready for his last go around. “I hope to get better and improve as a player and to make a tournament run with my new team.” Getting acclimated with his new teammates hasn’t been hard according to Owens. They spend a lot of time together and really put in the necessary work. Owens has put on weight, worked on his body to get stronger, and improved his jump shot since we last saw him at St. John’s. “The culture down here is to work hard. The staff and players spend time together and they grind.”
Tariq is feeling things out as a stretch four for Texas Tech. He is going to be a defensive presence, but also be that high energy guy on the wing. With the improvements to his jump shot, Owens hopes to be utilized on the outside, where he can either shoot, drive, or find an open teammate.