Texas Longhorns Hope Talent Trumps Youth (Big 12 Preview)

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The Texas Longhorns graduate six key rotation players from a year ago and must rely on a skilled, but very young roster.

TEXAS LONGHORNS
Last Season: 4th, 11-7 in Big 12, 20-12 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 5th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Shaquille Cleare (Sr)/James Banks (Fr)
PF: Jarrett Allen (Fr)/Mariek Isom (Sr)
G/F: Andrew Jones (Fr)/Tevin Mack (So)
SG: Eric Davis (So)/Kendal Yancy (Sr)/Jacob Young (Fr)
PG: Kerwin Roach (So)

Gone: PG-Isaiah Taylor, PG-Javan Felix, C-Cameron Ridley, PF-Connor Lammert, C-Prince Ibeh, SG-Demarcus Holland, SF-Jordan Barnett (transfer-Missouri)

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Strengths:
Even though Texas loses a pair of veteran guards in Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix, they have a nice collection of talented, young players waiting in the wings. Kerwin Roach, Eric Davis, and Tevin Mack were all key reserves last season as freshmen and should be ready to step into the spotlight this season. The Longhorns also bring in top 100 recruit, Andrew Jones who might be the most talented of the group.

Question Marks:
Losing Cameron Ridley, Connor Lammert, and Prince Ibeh to graduation leaves a huge void inside. Texas does bring in skilled 6-10 big man, Jarrett Allen who should be one the top post players in the conference but outside of him, there are question marks inside. Shaquille Cleare is a wide load inside at 6-8, 275 pounds but not exceptionally skilled. Another 6-10 freshman, James Banks will certainly factor into the equation down low while Shaka Smart adds Arkansas-Little Rock grad transfer, Mariek Isom, but he averaged less than six points and three rebounds last season for the Trojans.

Player to Watch:
A McDonald’s All-American and a top twenty recruit nationally, Allen is athletic, a skilled scorer in the post, and presence on the glass as well. He has one-and-done potential and will be a huge factor in the ‘Horns success this season.

X-Factor:
With Felix, Taylor, and Roach, the Longhorns had three players on their roster who were capable of running the point. Smart doesn’t have that luxury this year as Roach is the only true floor leader on the team. As a freshman, Roach had more turnovers than assists so his decision-making at the point has to improve this year.

shaka smart

Looking Ahead to 2016-17:
In need of frontcourt help to compliment their young, talented backcourt, Smart landed Tulane transfer power forward, Dylan Osetkowski who averaged more than 11 points and eight boards per game last year as a sophomore. The Texas Longhorns also have commitments from a pair of top 100 post players in Jericho Sims and Royce Hamm.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. Northwestern (Legends Classic)
11/22 vs. Notre Dame/Colorado (Legends Classic)
12/2 vs. Alabama
12/6 at Michigan
12/10 vs. Long Beach State
12/17 vs. Arkansas (in Houston)
12/21 vs. UAB
1/28 at Georgia (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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