2012-2013 Overall Rank: #25
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
Texas Team Page
By Texas standards the last few years have not gone very well. The Longhorns have not made it to the Sweet Sixteen or beyond since 2008. Four straight years of early exits is not what Texas fans have come to expect. With an amazingly young roster, which has two upperclassmen who are both walk-ons, Texas may not be any more successful this time around. And things could get worse if sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo is not eligible. Kabongo averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists as a freshman and is poised for a huge season. However, there are allegations around regarding his relationship with an agent. If Kabongo is out for any significant amount of time, Texas is in trouble.
2011-12 Record: 20-14, 9-9
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rick Barnes
Coach Record: 330-130 at Texas, 533-262 overall
Without J’Covan Brown and his 20.1 points per game, the Longhorns need Kabongo to not only find the new scorers, but pick up his scoring as well. Brown took nearly twice as many shots as anybody else on the team last year. Considering he was pretty efficient for a guard, it was not a bad thing that Brown took so many shots. Fellow guard Sterling Gibbs has opted to transfer to Seton Hall after seeing limited action as a freshman. Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene were never the most dynamic big men, but both had relatively productive senior seasons. Chapman averaged 7.4 points per game and led the team in rebounds and blocked shots. On a team that had major trouble on the glass, losing Chapman and Wangmene could turn into a bigger problem than one would expect.
Coach Barnes has a big group of newcomers, but none will be as important as 6-9 center Cameron Ridley. At 270 pounds, he has the size to battle in the paint in the Big 12 as a freshman and that should lead to a starting role. Ridley will almost certainly make a major contribution on defense and the glass. If he is ready to turn into a real offensive force, the Longhorns entire offense will be vastly improved. Prince Ibeh is an athletic 6-10 center, but he needs to add some strength before making a huge impact. There should be room for Ibeh and Connor Lammert to find some minutes off of the bench for now. Lammert’s versatile scoring ability will make him tough to guard, but he needs to work on his defense. Walk-on Danny Newsome, at 6-9 and 180 pounds, needs to beef up. Ioannis Papapetrou is a very interesting prospect. The 6-8 wing from Athens, Greece is a pretty polished scorer and adds another dynamic to the wing because of his size and athleticism. When Papapetrou is on the floor, Texas will be a big team and turn around their disappointing rebounding of a year ago. Shooting guard Demarcus Holland is a solid defender and point guard Javan Felix could find himself playing an unexpected large role if Kabongo misses any time.
Who to Watch:
The Longhorns have talent on the wings from the freshmen class, but sophomores Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis will be starting. McClellan only started nine games as a freshman, yet was second on the team in scoring with 11.3 points per game. He is a decent shooter, but McClellan will use his 6-4 frame to finish around the basket too. When one starts looking for a replacement for Brown, look no further than McClellan. However, this should be a more balanced offensive attack, so do not expect McClellan to drop 20 points on a regular basis. Lewis is more of a shooter, but he did not shoot particularly well as a freshman. He still started 25 games and will always play solid defense. Like McClellan, Lewis has a big opportunity to boost his production with Brown out of the picture. Whether or not he can take advantage of that opportunity remains to be seen.
Jonathan Holmes is the experienced post player on the roster. The 6-7 sophomore can stretch out the defense with his ability to knock down the mid-range jumper, but the Longhorns also need him to stay inside and help out a bit more on the glass this year. Suddenly one of the more experienced players on the team, Holmes has the talent to become a major force in the paint if he plays with the right mentality. Jaylen Bond started a few games as a freshman and should again provide quality depth in the frontcourt. He is a bit undersized, but is a very tough rebounder. This was already looking like a boom or bust season for Texas. The talent is there, but a roster full of underclassmen could be extremely aggravating for Coach Barnes and Longhorn fans. With Kabongo’s future in question, the prospect for a bust season is even greater. In the end, as long as Kabongo is around, this is a squad that will be very dangerous by March. As long as they do not lose too much before then, Texas will be back in the NCAA Tournament and looking to grow up quickly and make a serious March run.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Myck Kabongo, Sophomore, Guard, 9.6 points per game
Sheldon McClellan, Sophomore, Guard, 11.3 points per game
Julien Lewis, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Jonathan Holmes, Sophomore, Forward, 7.1 points per game
Cameron Ridley, Freshman, Center, DNP last season
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#18 Myck Kabongo
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#13 Cameron Ridley
#57 Prince Ibeh
#77 Javan Felix
#124 Connor Lammert