The University of Texas has quietly put together a good season to date. With a (15-4, 4-2 in Big 12) conference play, Texas is the best surprise in the conference so far. The Longhorns are led by two sophomores (Javan Felix and Cameron Ridley) and one junior Johnathan Holmes.
Holmes is the lone holdover from the 2011 freshman class that featured six signees that contributed in their freshmen year. Four of the six transferred (Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall), Sheldon McCellan (Miami), Jaylen Bond (Temple) and Julien Lewis (Fresno State).
Holmes lifted the Longhorns with 3-pointer to upset the No. 22 ranked Kansas State Wildcats (14-5, 4-2 in the Big 12). The win over the Wildcats continue to send shockwaves across the conference with the play of the Longhorns. The Longhorns have found a way to win games that they are not supposed to win.
Myck Kabongo left after last season to pursue a career in professional basketball. Kabongo is currently playing for the NBA D-League for the Austin Toros. The Toros are owned by the San Antonio Spurs and have an active history of using players from their D-League franchise.
Felix has been playing under controlled this year as opposed to last season where he was a shoot first point guard. Felix is averaging 3.0 assists per game and is second on the team in total points scored. Cameron Ridley has been a force inside for the Longhorns and an intimidating force for opponents. Ridley is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game and has 38 blocked shots.
Freshman Isaiah Taylor from Heyward, CA leads the team in assists per game with 3.6, but has struggled with turning the basketball over. Taylor has also struggled at the free throw line only shooting 66 percent on the year.
The Longhorns are a very young team. There are no seniors on the team and Holmes is the only junior that plays significant minutes. If the Longhorns are able to continue to grow as a team they should put themselves in position to return the NCAA basketball tournament after missing it for the first time in 16 years.
Despite the youth the team has not been afraid to play top completion. Two of the team’s losses have been to top team ranked teams Oklahoma State 87-74 on the road and to Michigan State 92-78 at home. The team has a quality wins over North Carolina, Temple and Vanderbilt.
The team should finish the season with a winning record in the conference and if they are able to win one or two games in the post season conference tournament making it to the NCAA tournament should not be a problem.