Jacob Young Transferring

In pretty shocking news Thursday morning, Sophomore Shooting Guard Jacob Young announced he is transferring from the University of Texas. He made the announcement via Instagram; “Thanks to the coaches, teammates, and staff. After my past two years of experiences at UT, I am transferring. I wish Coach Smart and his program all the best.”

Young came out of Yates High School in Houston as the number nine prospect in the state of Texas. When originally signing, Smart believed he had secured one of the purest scorers in the state and someone that could help the ever so stagnant Texas offense. Unfortunately, Young never truly reached his potential. He struggled with decision making and knocking down the three ball, two things he was expected to come in and do well. His three point percentage saw a rise from 23 to 32 after year two, but that still was not nearly getting the job done.

That being said, Young had really started to step into his own late in year two at UT. He put up more points than his season average in the last six games of the season, including a 29 point outbreak against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament. With the absence of Eric Davis Jr and Andrew Jones down the stretch, Young became a key contributor off the bench for Shaka Smart.

This is definitely a clear blow for Shaka and the Horns, especially with the uncertainty regarding Davis, Jones, and Kerwin Roach. Many people were looking at Young to make huge strides in year three, specifically because of the way he finished the season.

This offseason will be huge for the Texas Men’s Basketball program. With the departure of Young and the uncertainty surrounding three other guards, the backcourt of Texas is looking thin. In the current four-man 2018 recruiting class, Smart does not have anyone who projects to play the one or the two in college. Freshman phenom Matt Coleman will return for season two at the helm for the Horns as well as underwhelming three-point specialist Jase Febres. Mount Saint Mary’s transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long will be added to the mix and should be able to come in and be a shotmaker, but the status of the Horns backcourt will be decided through the grad-transfer market and the outcome of three important questions: Will Andrew Jones continue his amazing recovery and return to basketball? Will Eric Davis Jr be eligible to play? Will Kerwin Roach decide his senior season is worth more than a second round pick?

Personally, though, good luck to Jacob Young in the future. He was so frustrating and fun to watch at all times. Played the game with raw emotion and was the first one on a loose-ball. We need more Jacob Young’s in the program.

 

Advertisements

No More Mo

This has been expected even before Bamba pledged his allegiance to Shaka Smart and the Horns 10 month ago; Mo Bamba is declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft.

Seen as a top five prospect by nearly every NBA scout, going pro and being able to focus 100% of his time on the development of his game was the right move for Bamba. It should take Bamba about five years in the league to fine-tune his game and gain some muscle before he would ever be considered an elite center. Whatever team takes him is going to get somewhat of a project, but Bamba has all the tools to be an All-Star caliber player.

Bamba made his decision on Tuesday afternoon, saying his time at Texas was “incredibly rewarding” but that he was taking his talents to the NBA.

Bamba’s time at the Forty Acres was up and down, but he came into his own late in the season, throwing together an eight game stretch in the middle of Big 12 play averaging 17.6 PPG, 12.1 RPG, and 3.1 BPG. The Horns had many unexpected issues this season that led to the seventh place finish in the Big 12, so the first round NCAA Tournament exit was not a huge failure, but yet again Texas lets another one and done go without any postseason accolades to show for it.

In three of the past four seasons, Texas and Shaka Smart have had a future lottery-pick and game-changing big man on their roster. The Horns are 0-2 in two NCAA Tournament appearances over the past four years. Not good enough, at all.

All the best for Mo in the NBA, he gave us some pretty fun memories in his short time in Austin. #Longhorn4Life

HpJu0k

Texas vs Kansas Men’s Basketball Recap

Arguable the toughest game on the schedule, Texas travelled to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks and fell up short, 80-70. The Horns were without three significant contributors (Bamba, Davis, Jones), and having any one of them in the lineup could have swung the tide.

Texas got down 27-13 in the first half due to a 16-0 run. They could not get much of anything going, and were giving up way to many wide open layups. The powerful Kansas offense only hit four three pointers in the first half, yet still scored 45 points. Both teams had a 14 point first half scorer, Kerwin Roach for Texas and Svi Mykhailiuk for the Jayhawks. The difference in the first half, and essentially the game, was the 16-0 run Kansas went on when down 13-11 in the first half.

In the second half the Horns played tough and with pride. They didn’t fold over like we’ve see in other games, they stood tall and played their hearts out. This was led by Jacob Young and Jericho Sims in the second hall, both were all over the court making plays and keeping Texas alive. The closest the Longhorns got in the second half was six, down 51-45 with 15:14 left. The rest of the half saw the Kansas lead steadily stay at 10-12 points, the teams trading buckets.

Overall it was not a bad performance for the Texas Longhorns, but morally victories mean nothing, especially this late in the season. Clearly not at full strength, a 10 point loss at the Phog is nothing to hang your hat on. A big difference in the game was Udoke Azubuike, Kansas’s 7 foot 260 pound center. Without Bamba in there, Azubuike had a field day, scoring 20 points on 10 of 11 shooting, snatching 8 boards, and blocking 5 shots. On the offensive end for Texas, they shot 42.6% from the field and 32% from three. Roach led the way with 18 points, followed by 14 from Young, and 13, 12, and 11 respectively from Osetkowski, Sims, and Coleman.  You can say that the overall point totals look better, but this is to be expected with injuries: other guys take their shots. Texas shot below 43%, so the offensive side of the ball definitely still needs work. I did like the tenacity on the offensive end, the guards, specifically Roach and Young, were very aggressive.

The Longhorns have one more regular season game, Saturday versus West Virginia. Joe Lunardi has Texas as one of the first four out after this loss. He said a win on Saturday plus a Big 12 tournament win will have them comfortable on Selection Sunday. The game on Saturday is a huge, and ultimately a must win unless Texas makes a run in the Big 12 tournament. Only two teams have made the NCAA Tournament with a 7-11 conference record.

Next Matchup: Saturday March 3, vs West Virginia. 11am CT.

BREAKING: Mo Bamba OUT vs Kansas

News just broke that freshman big man Mo Bamba will not play when the Horns travel to play the Jayhawks tonight. Bamba injured his big toe on February 17th’s win at Oklahoma. In the two games since, he has seemed hobbled, clearly not covering as much ground as usual. In Saturday’s game versus Oklahoma State, Bamba sat the second half out because of his toe.

A sprained toe is an injury that lingers, and takes at least a few days off your feet to heal. Tuesday thru Friday of this week will be critically for Bamba to try and get healthy for their last game of the season, Saturday versus West Virginia.

As for tonight’s game against Kansas, look for Jericho Sims to get an uptick in minutes at the forward position. Also look for James Banks III to get some action, something he has not seen much of, only appearing in three Big 12 games. If Udoka Azubuike starts to become a problem down low, Shaka Smart may throw in Banks to bring some energy and length.

Tonight’s rotation is going to be slim, as the Horns are missing three crucial players (Bamba, Davis, Jones). The starting five will most likely be Coleman, Young, Roach, Osetkowski, and Sims. With Jase Febres getting big minutes off the bench, as well as maybe Royce Hamm and James Banks III. The Longhorns are looking thin tonight, and are going to have a tough time going into Lawrence and beating the Jayhawks.

FEB 26: Texas at Kansas MBB Preview

The Longhorns are coming off a season saving win at home, with a one point victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Kansas comes in with their 14th straight (at least) share of the Big 12 title after a two point road win in Lubbock. The Jayhawks have won four in a row, and have their eye on a top two seed come March.

Game Info: Texas Longhorns (17-12, 7-9) at Kansas Jayhawks (23-6, 12-4)

Monday, February 26th. 8pm CT. ESPN.

KU -11.0 O/U 140.5

The Phog will be buzzing on Big Monday, as the Kansas Jayhawks come home holding at least a share of their 14th STRAIGHT Big 12 Title. The first time these two clubs met was all the way back on December 29th, Kansas coming out on top 92-86. In that high scoring affair, Kansas had three players with at least twenty points are more. Mo Bamba had probably the best game of his season, putting up 22 points, 15 boards, and 8 blocks. Freak numbers. But, Bamba’s status for Mondays game still remains up in the air due to a big toe injury he has been dealing with the past week. In Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State, Bamba did not suit up in the second half because of his toe. If Bamba does not go or is not effective, it could be a long night for Texas. Kansas 7 footer Udoka Azubuike could be in for a big night off offensive rebounds and slams if Bamba isn’t on the floor.

On the offensive end for Texas, look for Jacob Young to have a bigger role tonight. Due to the tricky Eric Davis situation, Young played 26 minutes against Oklahoma State and played well, scoring 11 points and bringing down four boards. Young has shown aggressiveness that the other Texas Guards have not shown. He always makes the most of his minutes, and is not afraid to make a mistake. A big three point shooting night for Young would not shock me.

On the defensive ends, Texas must contest Kansas’s three point attempts. The Jayhawks shoot the three at a 39% clip, second in the Big 12 and 23rd in the nation. They live and die by the three. Because Kanas typically runs four guys in the perimeter, Jericho Sims or Dylan Osetkowski will be out guarding one of the best three-point shooters in the conference, Svi Mykhailiuk. This could be a big problem for the Horns.

A healthy Bamba changes this game completely, but unfortunately we are not going to get that. Though a win tonight would all but clinch Texas’s NCAA Tournament hopes, I do not think it is gonna happen in Allen Fieldhouse. Not with how decimated this team is.

Prediction: Texas 68 Kansas 81

Oklahoma State vs Texas Men’s Basketball Recap

65-64. The final score of both meetings between the Longhorns and Cowboys this year. On January 13th in Stillwater, Oklahoma State was the team with 65 points. On Saturday, it was Texas.

In a game full of runs, Texas overcame an ten point second half deficit to beat Oklahoma State for their seventh win in Big 12 play. The Cowboys started the game scoring the first seven points, but Texas slowly chipped at the lead. Nothing was falling from deep for the Horns, but Freshman Jericho Sims had a solid first half, shooting 3/4 from the field while tallying seven points. Sims had a few key buckets in the first half when it seemed like no one on Texas could hit anything. Going into the break, the Longhorns led 33-28. Mo Bamba was pretty non-existent in the first half, clearly due to bhis injured big toe. To the chagrin of all Texas fans, Bamba was ruled out for the game after the halftime break.

Though the Longhorns held a five point lead heading into the second half, it did not feel safe without Eric Davis or Bamba on the court. The typical 8-man rotation turned into a 6-man rotation, with James Banks contributing four minutes. The Cowboys started the second half on a 17-2 run behind the electric scoring of Jeffrey Carroll and Lindy Waters. Carroll led the team with 19 points, and Waters added 14, including 11 in the second half.

The two key players down the stretch for the Horns were Kerwin Roach and Jacob Young. Roach had a not-so-hot start to the game. 1/10 with four points. In the last nine minutes, Roach knocked down three of four shoots, including the game winner.

Though not very efficient, Roach stuffed the stat sheet, putting up 15/4/5. Jacob Young hit a few clutch shots when Texas was trying to make their run back in the game. Young finished with 12 points in 28 minutes for the Horns. If Eric Davis Jr is forced to sit in the upcoming games, look for Young to take a lot of his minutes.

This game was a roller coaster of emotions, as Texas went from looking terrific to terrible in mere minutes. The loss of Mo Bamba was definitely key, and you could see how much easier it was for OkSt to get shots up in the lane. Jericho Sims played 26 hard minutes, scoring 11 points and snagging 7 boards. Sims stepped up in the absence of Bamba, but Texas will be in trouble if their star big man can’t go down the stretch.

Again Texas did not have a good day shooting the ball; 41.1% from the field, 30% from three, and 65% at the line. They attempted 20 threes, a number that suits the offense the best. Texas looked good when pushing the tempo, and they should look to do more of it. Horns guard Andrew Jones checked in during the game from twitter.

He does have a point though, as Jacob Young, Kerwin Roach, and Matt Coleman constantly push the ball via the bounce. But hey, as long as they’re pushin’ it I really can’t complain.

Looking forward, Texas finishes their regular season with a Big Monday matchup in Lawrence and an AM tip Saturday versus West Virginia. Right now, Texas is given a 77.8% chance to make the tournament field. If Texas can win one of their final two games, I would say they are almost a lock. If they slip up and lose both, look for them to be squarely on the bubble. This would put the Horns in a position to have to pick up a few wins in the Big 12 Tournament.

Next Matchup: Monday, February 26th. 8pm CT. ESPN

Eric Davis Named in Yahoo’s NCAAM Basketball Scandal; Will Sit Out Indefinitely

In a Yahoo Sports Report released earlier today, a number of NCAA Mens Basketball players were detailed and tagged with receiving payments from former NBA Agent Andy Miller and his agency, ASM Sports. Many big name players were listed, including Dennis Smith Jr, Markelle Fultz, Miles Bridges, Wendell Carter, and Collin Sexton, among others.

The name that came up that caused concern for the Horns was their own Eric Davis Jr. According to the released documents, Davis received $1,500 from Christian Dawkins, one of Andy Miller’s assistants.

The investigation into paying college basketball players has been furious the past few years, and todays released documents ratchets it up 10 speed. The severity of the crime and punishment are all unknown right now, but Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte has come out and said Eric Davis will sit out, for now. “We have initiated an internal review of the recent report that included allegations involving current and former University of Texas men’s basketball players. We are in the process of gathering facts, but I did meet with Eric Davis Jr. this afternoon and let him know we are withholding him from competition for precautionary reasons until further notice, pending the review of this situation.” The former player(s) detailed in the documents were Prince Ibeh and Isaiah Taylor.

From what was said by Del Conte, it seems as if the University/Coaching Staff had no idea of these benefits. Del Conte is taking this situation cautiously, as he said. It makes sense to pull Davis until all the facts come out, but by then the season may be over.

While Davis is out, expect to see an uptick in minutes for Jase Febres and Jacob Young. Young especially, who has played sparingly the past few weeks, will now be the fourth guard in rotation. Also, the lineup of Coleman-Roach-Sims-Osetkowski-Bamba will be used a lot, especially tomorrow where Texas will look to use their size as an advantage over Oklahoma State.