#28 Texas Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Texas Longhorns

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #5 Big 12

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#28 Texas Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

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Getting Coach Shaka Smart to Texas has added a much needed influx of excitement around the program. The Longhorns should also be excited about returning nine of the 11 players that were in the regular rotation last year. And that team last season was pretty good. Texas certainly had some struggles in Big 12 play, but they reached the NCAA Tournament. Coach Smart may not run his “havoc” style this year at Texas, but Coach Smart will do what is best for this group. At the least, there is depth in Austin and that means Texas can rotate his players in order to keep the defensive intensity up.

2014-15 Record: 20-14, 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Shaka Smart
Coach Record: 0-0 at Texas, 163-56 overall

Who’s Out:
Myles Turner and Jonathan Holmes are both significant losses though. Turner left for the NBA after his freshman campaign. The 6-11 center averaged 10.1 points and led the Longhorns with 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. That was enough to get him selected 11th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft despite the fact that he started just seven games. Holmes was one of Turner’s mates in the frontcourt. The 6-8 bruiser averaged 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds and also stretched out the defense with his outside shooting ability.

Who’s In:
Coach Smart adds three freshmen and one transfer who are all capable of making a big impact. Eric Davis, Jr. and Kerwin Roach are the most highly regarded of the freshmen. Davis is not shy when it comes to attacking the basket and looking for his shot. This was a team that struggled on offense at times last season, so having a player like Davis who can come in off of the bench and look to score is not a bad thing. Roach can create his own shot and he can knock down some long balls too. Tevin Mack is an athletic wing and would be the top recruit in some Big 12 classes. He may get overshadowed for now by Davis and Roach, but he has more size and versatility. The transfer is Shaquille Cleare, who comes from Maryland. The 6-8 forward made 20 starts with the Terrapins two years ago, averaging 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. Cleare can do the dirty work.

Who to Watch:
Despite losing Holmes and Turner, the Texas frontcourt has experience and talent. Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh are the traditional post players who can grab rebounds and block shots. Ridley is a solid interior scorer and a big reason why Texas led the nation in blocked shots last year. Ibeh averaged just 10.6 minutes per game during his junior year, but he is a defensive menace. Connor Lammert can stretch the defense and he knocked down 26 three-pointers last season. Despite his shooting ability, Lammert is pretty tough on the glass too. Jordan Barnett figures to be in the frontcourt mix more this year too. He barely played last season, but Barnett is a very talented 6-6 sophomore forward. Point guard Isaiah Taylor will make sure the big guys get involved. Yet, Taylor can score himself too. He is not a shooter, but he led the team with 13.1 points on top of his 4.6 assists per game. Taylor could have gone to the NBA after his sophomore season, so getting him back in a huge deal for Texas. Taylor can play fast and he will get the chance to show that off under Coach Smart.

Final Projection:
The rest of the backcourt boasts versatile guards Javan Felix, Demarcus Holland and Kendal Yancy. Felix is the most prolific scorer of the bunch and Holland can handle the ball quite well. Holland is also a decent shooter and overall scorer if he gets a chance to look for his shot more often. Yancy started 18 games as a sophomore and does add a little more strength to the perimeter. His outside shooting has been streaky, but he is capable of scoring ten points per game. The problem for Yancy will be getting enough shots. But for Texas, that is a very good thing. Coach Smart wants to play as fast as he can and he has the depth to do it.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Isaiah Taylor, Junior, Guard, 13.1 points per game
Javan Felix, Senior, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Demarcus Holland, Senior, Guard, 7.1 points per game
Connor Lammert, Senior, Forward, 5.1 points per game
Cameron Ridley, Senior, Center, 8.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.4 (175th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.3 (34, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (180, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.8 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.2 (191, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (192, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.4 (67, 4)
Rebound Margin: 8.5 (4, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (144, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (203, 6)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#39 Isaiah Taylor

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#43 Kerwin Roach
#47 Eric Davis
#55 Tevin Mack


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