The Double T Varsity Club, which is the club in charge of former athletes at Texas Tech, announced its 2020 Texas Tech Hall of Fame class on Thursday. The 2020 class includes football’s Michael Crabtree, Graham Harrell, women’s track and field champion D’Andra Carter, women’s golfer Brooke Lowrance, volleyball player Chris Martin, baseball player Jason Tot-man, and former Hobbs basketball player Ronald Ross.
Ross who played all four years, 2001-2005, at Texas Tech as a walk on after graduating from Hobbs High racked up manya awards during his time with the Red Raiders. He was named to the All Big 12 first team, First Team All-American, United States Basketball Writers Association All-District MVP, Big 12 All-Defense team, Big 12 All-Tournament team, Chip Hilton Player of the Year by Naismith Hall of Fame, National Association of Basketball Coaches First team, All-District, District 9, and a finalists for the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau Collegiate Basketball Award of Excellence in 2005.
“When I got the call from Rodney Allison, the director of Double T Varsity club that takes care of all things like this that deals with former players, Hall of Fame inductees, and stuff like that, he let me know that I got voted in and was congratulating me,” Ross said on hearing he was a Tech Hall of Famer. “I really didn’t know what to think. I just immediately thought about the depths of everything, the depth of the journey, and the process in terms of the dark hours in the gym, all the hard times when I fell as opposed to ‘yeah, Hall of Fame”, “sweet 16”, “All-American” all of these things didn’t come to my mind. I immediately thought of all the hard times, the dark hours, the hard work, and I thought about my mother. Pushing me, telling me to go for it if I think I can do it. It was just like ‘wow this is really happening’ and I’m just really thankful and humbled by it.”
Ross enters the Hall of Fame as the Red Raiders all time (204) and individual season (86) leader in steals and is tied for most steals in a single game (7) with Josh Gray and Nick Valdez. He is considered on of the top point guards in Red Raider history with 1,174 points and 320 assists, but Ross considers the hard work he put in on his own as the real journey and process to reaching the Hall of Fame and having a successful career.
“That’s the real journey, the process is the journey,” he said. “The games you go to practice and you go through stuff much harder than what the game will be like and then it’s never exactly how you want it to be and you go through it again. When I first came to Tech, Bob Knight was like, I was the leading scorer out in New Mexico, he said you are going to play defense. So I am literally playing mainly defense and not looking to be an offensive threat for like two years. It wasn’t frustrating, but that is what he wanted me to do, and in my mind I was like that is what I have to do to play then I’m going to do it and do it really well. So that really turned my mind on to being a really great defensive player and watching a lot of film, learning to anticipate the actions of the other players on the team. I kind of took that into practice as well where I studied my teammates and I anticipated their moves and used it against them. When you are on a team you are like either I will be clapping for this dude or we are going to be playing together. If you want to play so you have to figure out how to get on the court, so you really start locking down and studying people’s tendencies and doing what you have to do to give yourself the best chance.”
Being able to change one’s game for the coach and team, is one of the hardest challenges high school players going to college and college players going pro, face according to Ross.
“Coming out of high school going to college the first thing you realize is everybody is good, everybody is an all star, everybody was the best in their state the previous year,” he said. “Its like I have to make some adjustment and I think the big curve for players that do it, and even going to the pro league the process is the same everybody was a top college player. You have to accept those adjustments, be patient with them, have to keep trying to bust through that wall, and a lot of times you don’t get through when you want but when you do you finally realize the hard work paid off. But its not the time to stop you have to keep going cause that next wave of players are coming and once you get into the pros you are part of a business. Now if you are not playing you will get fired if you are not performing. The process is real and if you really love the game and trying to do great things, you cant afford to take the process for granted or just considered it just for fun. Even though its fun and you enjoy it, you embrace the hardship of it.”
Ross’ belief in the process allowed him to give his all to become successful. He and many other players have the dream of being a great player and playing in the NBA, but it was the hard work he did on his own and working to become better that allowed him to become an All-American and a Hall of Famer, things he did not believe would happen. But Ross gives credit for his success to the support he received from his family especially his mother, and their importance in trying times.
“I was like if I’m going to make it, I’m going to sell and give it my absolute best. I was able to do that with the backing of my family of course. My mother was so instrumental in my whole, hey you can do it, do it, and holding me accountable when a lot of people are telling me that I’m doing great,” he said. “She would let me know the truth, ‘hey you need to pick this up’ don’t accept being average. She was the constant reminder of that and she really was a big time mentor for me through out the whole process.
“They (family) where extremely important because there are moments when you always have the highest drive to pursue your dream. You have days were you doubt yourself and they are the ones who pick you up and get you going again. Once you are going you have the other side where people are like, ‘Ron he isn’t going to make it at Tech. He is just going to red shirt, not even play, maybe in his senior year he will play a little bit.’ You hear all the nonsense and doubts, and it’s just how you choose to respond to it by talking back to it? No that’s not the solution you just put your head down and you keep working and studying. Ultimately that is a distraction and you have to stay locked in with tunnel vision going full force for whatever you want to do.”
In being elected to the Tech Hall of Fame, Ross wanted to thank those who helped in achieving not only the Hall of Fame but in his successful career.
“I really thank my mother who is on top of the list of people who pushed me,” he said. “I watched her work so hard relentlessly and she gave us everything we ever needed. Obviously my youngest sister Ebony, she was an international teacher all around the world. Adrianne, she went to TCU, Texas Christian University, Hall of Famer, played all around the world and I was very fortunate to play at Tech. To be able to see things I never expected, but she is the one that really set the present to go do it. She was the example of don’t give up, go do this, don’t be average, and keep going. She taught us to avoid all the nonsense and put our heads down and just be great. If you fell that’s OK you did your best, and she really set that example because she was an extremely hard worker and extremely brilliant great with people. It was not just I’m a worker but the whole package of who you need to be, why you need to be kind, why you need to be respectful, why you need to be consistent, and the consequences if you don’t do what you need to do. My relationship with God, I had a great relationship, my faith is really strong, and I have values that I believe in.”
Ross does have some advice for the younger generation who are trying to accomplish their dreams.
“I would tell them to believe in themselves and go forth you can do anything,” he said. “That would be very cliché of me to say and I could tell them that but I would back it up with don’t lie to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself, what are you really doing, what are you doing today, its an everyday process. How bad do you want it and how much are you working for it. One day you can look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions, and fail or succeed, you will be satisfied with it and you will grow to be what you are suppose to be if its basketball, doctor, lawyer, or policeman. But don’t lie to yourself, be honest with yourself, keep good people around you, and give everything you have if you truly believe in it.”
Following his induction to the Hall of Fame, Ross plans to use this moment as motivation to continue working hard on his next project in life.
“When it actually happened I was like ‘wow that’s amazing’ and its still not real to me its still surreal. It’s a blessing and very humbling and it motivates me for what’s next,” he said. “It’s a great milestone to accomplish or get to but I’m not 72 or 75 going into the Hall of Fame, so I’m like what’s next? What is the next thing I have to accomplish or do, and it might not be on a grand scale or have an award or achievement. I using this as motivation to spring board me into greater success in the future.”