Texas Longhorns Basketball Details
The first two years of the Shaka Smart era in Texas have been up and down. In 2015-16, Smart lead the team to a 20-win season and an NCAA Tournament berth; in 2016-17, the Longhorns won only 11 games and missed out on March Madness for only the second time since 1999. Knowing Texas and the history of success the program is used to -- the school’s 33 all-time NCAA appearances rank 11th across the NCAA -- an absence from postseason play won’t last long, and Smart’s job will be to take UT deep in the tournament as he did in his days with VCU. He has the roster pieces to do so, which will be built around sophomore Andrew Jones following the loss of star Tevin Mack to Alabama via transfer and Jarrett Allen to the NBA.
A strong recruiting class is on the way as well, lead by Mohamed Bamba, who at 6’11” and 220 pounds was ranked the number two overall prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and Scouts.com, and number three on ESPN.com. Bamba had his pick of teams, but committed to the Longhorns. While many speculate that he will be a top NBA Draft pick in 2018 -- bringing to mind past Texas star Kevin Durant, who played just one season for Texas -- he should do some damage for however long he is in Austin. Another top recruit joining the Longhorns this year is guard Matt Coleman, a 6’2” guard who was coached by Smart on the USA U18 National Team last summer. The four-star recruit should be able to make an immediate impact given his familiarity with Smart’s style, and will help fill the holes left by Mack and Allen.