The emergence of Daniel Batcho through non-conference play in Texas Tech Basketball's season was one of the most intriguing storylines heading into the new year. Sure, Batcho was well thought of coming in as a transfer from Arizona, but he hadn't played competitive basketball in over a year and was coming off of a knee injury.

Even so, Batcho was going to be buried on the depth chart by Bryson Williams, Kevin Obanor, and Marcus Santos-Silva.

Fast forward to the middle of January. Besides missing some action because of health and safety protocols, Batcho has been an enormous presence on the floor for Mark Adams' defense.

The stats might not jump off the page, but Batcho being able to provide things that the other big guys on the roster don't has already been important. When Obanor and Williams struggled against Tennessee, Batcho came in and played well in his best game of the season. That win over Tennessee in overtime was easily Texas Tech's biggest win of the season before this weekend's victory over Kansas.

Now, Batcho might not be the difference between a Big 12 championship and a really good team this year, but the freshman big man could finally bring Texas Tech a player in the post who could stay at Texas Tech and develop instead of being a flash in the pan like so many seven-footers before him.

Also, Daniel Batcho is a tough son-of-a-gun.

I'm not saying that everyone couldn't put out a birthday candle with their fingers, but to do it without flinching and for it to be his first thought to do is something else. He didn't even need to lick his fingers first!

Sure, the COVID-19 world we live in today is a world where we can't have people just straight-up blowing on communal cakes, so Batcho's candle snuffing might become the new normal.

You might want to practice up for your next office birthday.

Also, Happy Birthday to Daniel Batcho!

Texas Tech Basketball beats Kansas Jayhawks in Lubbock in front of Electric Crowd