#29 Texas Men's Basketball Preview

Texas Longhorns

Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #5 Big 12
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2010-11: 28-8, 13-3
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rick Barnes (322-123 at Texas, 524-257 overall)

The names on the back of the jersey may be different, but this is still Texas basketball. The Longhorns have a ton of rebuilding to do with just three players returning who have played any significant minutes at the collegiate level. However, Coach Rick Barnes has another nice group of freshmen in Austin who are all capable of making a major impact. The chemistry may take a while to develop, but this is still a very talented team that will be very dangerous by the time conference play rolls around.

Who’s Out:
This is a depressing list for Texas fans that includes seven of the eight players who averaged over a dozen minutes per game last year. Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph opted to head to the NBA early, leaving the Longhorns with loads of inexperience. Losing Jordan Hamitlon, Gary Joseph, Dogus Balbay, Jai Lucas and Matt Hill does not make anything easier. Those seven players accounted for every single start last season. Texas has turned into a factory for producing NBA talent with six players drafted over the last two years. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, four of those six could still be playing in Austin.

Who’s In:
But out with the old and in with the new. One thing Texas does not really need is a point guard, but they got one of the best in the nation in Myck Kabongo. Kabongo will step right into the starting lineup and he has the speed and athleticism to be an extremely productive player. He may even be the latest one and done to come through Texas. Kabongo can get up and down the floor and has great vision. He is even a fine shooter who can keep the opposing defense off balance. Sterling Gibbs, who originally signed with Maryland, will add plenty of quality depth to the point guard spot and can play off the ball as well. He is not a huge offensive threat, but his ability on the other end of the floor will earn him plenty of minutes. Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan will battle for playing time on the wing. Lewis is not much of a shooter, but he can score in bunches around the basket and hit the glass effectively. McClellan is another great slasher and a very well-rounded 6-5 wing who is already penciled into a starting spot. The frontcourt will likely need to find a starter out of Jonathan Holmes and Jaylen Bond. Holmes is a very good athlete for a 6-8, 230 pounder. Without much scoring punch returning to the frontcourt, Holmes will be asked to be an interior scoring threat.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt does return a couple experienced bruisers under the basket. Alexis Wangmene, a 6-7 senior, is not a great scorer, but he is a tough rebounder who can play some defense in the paint. Clint Chapman redshirted last season due to the talent in front of him. For his senior season, he will be a key contributor. Like Wangmene, Chapman is not much of an interior scoring threat, but he is a big 6-10, 245 pound center who can eat up space in the paint and rebound effectively. Wangmene and Chapman will be able to hold down the five spot, but finding a power forward who can score will be extremely important if this team wants to capitalize on its talent.

Final Projection:
For now, J’Covan Brown is the star of the Longhorns. The 6-1 junior spent last season coming in off of the bench and he did a very good job in that role, averaging 10.4 points per game. Brown could easily run the point if needed, but with Kabongo, that will not be necessary. That should be a very good thing for Texas as now Brown can spend all of his time off the ball where he can knock down three-pointers and attack the basket. Brown is not afraid to take the big shot and he can create opportunities for himself off of the dribble. He should be in for a huge junior campaign as he takes over the leadership role of this team and leads them to another trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Myck Kabongo, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
J’Covan Brown, Junior, Guard, 10.4 points per game
Sheldon McClellan, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Jonathan Holmes, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Alexis Wangmene, Senior, Center, 2.3 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#15 Myck Kabongo

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#11 Myck Kabongo
#51 Sheldon McClellan
#66 Jonathan Holmes
#79 Julien Lewis
#129 Sterling Gibbs

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