#58 Texas Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Texas Longhorns

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #58
Conference Rank: #6 Big 12

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With a slew of early departures, Coach Rick Barnes has yet another extremely young team at Texas. Coming off of the first losing season in the Coach Barnes era, the Longhorns have some work to do. Despite the 16-18 overall record, Texas did take a short trip to the CBI. They lost in their opener to Houston. The roster this year is littered with underclassmen who have talent, but lack experience. If everything comes together, this is a team that can beat anybody on any given day. However, do not expect much consistency.

2012-13 Record: 16-18, 7-11
2012-13 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Rick Barnes
Coach Record: 322-123 at Texas, 524-257 overall

Who’s Out:
Myck Kabongo only played in eight games last year, but he was a difference maker and would have been the go-to-guy for the Longhorns. Instead he opted to try his luck at the professional ranks. At least the team is used to playing without him. Sheldon McClellan, Julien Lewis and Jaylen Bond all opted to transfer. McClellan, a 6-4 guard, averaged 13.5 points per game and Lewis, a 6-3 guard, added 11.2 points per contest. Ioannis Papapetrou had a great freshman campaign, but perhaps it was a little too good for the Longhorns. He averaged 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds and opted to leave Texas and play professionally overseas.

Who’s In:
This is not a great group of freshmen by Texas standards, but it is still pretty good. The backcourt adds four quality players in Isaiah Taylor, Kendal Yancy, Demarcus Croaker and Martez Walker. Taylor will come in and be the backup point guard from day one. Yancy is capable of handling the ball as well, but he should push for playing time off the ball for now. But it is Croaker who could make the biggest splash this year. The 6-2 Orlando, Florida native is a big time scorer and, more importantly, is a shooter. The Longhorns were horrible from beyond the arc in 2012-2013 and that can change with Croaker. Walker has nice size and toughness for a guard and he will likely spend most of his time at the small forward position since Coach Barnes lacks the frontcourt depth to play much bigger than that. Walk-on Danny Newsome could provide some emergency depth in the paint and the team may actually need it.

Who to Watch:
Javan Felix, Demarcus Holland, Connor Lammert, Cameron Ridley, and Prince Ibeh are all talented sophomores who saw some major minutes as freshmen. It is this young talent that will keep Texas around the NIT conversation. Felix took over the point guard duties when Kabongo was out and did an admirable job for a freshman. He did dish out 4.1 assists per contest amid a bevy of freshman mistakes. His experience as a starter last season will be huge moving forward. Holland started a dozen games as a freshman but, like the rest of the team, he never found his shooting touch. Holland connected on just eight of his 46 attempts from long range. He is capable of being much, much better than that. If fails to knock down shots again, there are options with the freshmen. Lammert, a 6-9 forward, could play at either the three or four spots. Where he ends up will depend on the depth and development of the rest of the team as much as the competition Texas is matching up against.  His versatility and ability to stretch the defense with his shooting could really open up things up for the Longhorns no matter where he plays. Ridley is a very interesting prospect. He was a huge recruit in the class of 2012 and started 19 contests as a freshman. However, his 4.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game was a bit disappointing. Asked to do more this time around, Ridley could be in for a huge year. Ibeh did not show too much promise until the CBI. Against Houston he had a great outing and proved capable of being a quality rebounder and a very good shot blocker.

Final Projection:
Jonathan Holmes is the lone upperclassmen on the roster. The 6-8 junior is another big man who can step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency. He will need to be a leader on the team even if his numbers get surpassed by some of the underclassmen. Holmes is a very tough rebounder though and team should be much more effective on the glass than when they finished eighth in the conference. For the most part this is a rebuilding year for Texas, but the pressure is still going to be on Coach Barnes to turn things around. If this group can reach the NIT and pull off an upset or two along the way, the expectations for 2013-2014 will be back up where they belong.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Javan Felix, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 points per game
Demarcus Croaker, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Connor Lammert, Sophomore, Forward, 4.5 points per game
Jonathan Holmes, Junior, Forward, 6.4 points per game
Cameron Ridley, Sophomore, Center, 4.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.6 (220th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.6 (145, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.3 (267, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.4 (10, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (288, 7)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 29.7 (287, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.9 (276, 9)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (149, 8)
Assists Per Game: 11.5 (263, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (279, 9)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#86 Kendal Yancy-Harris
#117 Demarcus Croaker


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