My journey by way of the state of Texas continued on Friday as I made my manner south from Waco to Austin to look at the College of Texas observe.
Chris Beard is starting his second season on the helm of this system. His arrival and fast success within the switch portal sparked excessive preseason expectations final 12 months, together with a primary general rating from one nationwide outlet.
Whereas these expectations had been largely unfair, Texas nonetheless accomplished a profitable first season as they completed inside the prime 15 of KenPom, began and completed the 12 months inside the nationwide Prime 25, and received an NCAA match sport for the primary time since 2014.
The plan in Austin is to take one other step ahead this season. With a brand-new enviornment and observe facility set to open and a transfer to the SEC on the horizon, there may be undoubtedly lots to promote, and constructing the fan base is not any much less essential than different tenants of this system.
Listed below are 5 observations from watching the group observe.
1. Tradition is the Calling Card
Tradition is undoubtedly the calling card in lots of college basketball applications as of late. At Texas, they take that to a different degree as they’re weaving it into their branding, gear, and services.
From the skin wanting in, my impression of their tradition was this – they’re aggressive with a particular edge to them, however nonetheless nonetheless capable of have enjoyable with it. Beard units the instance with this. His depth is apparent and unrelenting, however he’s additionally greater than keen to crack a well timed joke, combine humor into the group’s video work, or have a good time a giant play.
2. Austin is a Promoting Level
The knock on Texas earlier than Beard’s arrival was that they didn’t have large fan assist. Nicely, nobody is healthier at growing that than Beard, and his time at Texas Tech is proof of that.
What isn’t talked about sufficient is how a lot of a promoting level town might be, particularly given the College’s location straight inside it. Austin is a younger, up-and-coming metropolis with an more and more nationwide fame. They’ve good climate and much to do. The truth that the brand new facility may also host quite a few concert events and reveals, solely provides to all that is occurring within the space. All of which, ought to be a promoting level to recruits.
3. Expertise Counts
Texas not solely returns their prime two main scorers from final season in Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr, but in addition three different rotation gamers in Christian Bishop, Dylan Disu, and Brock Cunningham. Then they added Tyrese Hunter and Sir’Jabari Rice from Iowa State and New Mexico State respectively. That’s a complete of seven gamers who all received not less than one NCAA match sport final 12 months, to not point out a core group to hold that tradition from 12 months one to 2.
It’s one factor to be skilled on paper, it’s one other to behave it, and Texas practices like a veteran group. They compete, have consideration to element, and talk.
The backcourt of Carr and Hunter was rock strong from begin to end. Allen was doing all of the little issues – shifting his ft, rotating defensively, and being a superb teammate – all whereas displaying his distinctive offensive versatility. Cunningham is about as dependable a veteran as you’ll discover.
4. Younger Expertise Raises the Bar
Whereas the upperclassmen know what it takes to win college basketball video games, Texas additionally introduced in among the finest recruiting courses within the nation with Dillon Mitchell, Arterio Morris, and Rowan Brumbaugh, who will collectively enhance the sheer expertise, not less than relative to long-term prospectus, in this system.
Mitchell particularly seemed excellent. His excessive vertical explosiveness is well-known from his highschool days, however he’s utilizing it in all the fitting areas, whereas concurrently increasing his sport with out making an attempt to do an excessive amount of (for essentially the most half). He was all around the offensive glass, reduce properly, confirmed progress together with his face-up capturing, and was fixed together with his power.
5. Depth to Face up to Adversity
With 5 returners, two impression transfers, and three nationally ranked highschool prospects, Texas can now go a legit ten deep. Meaning that there’s going to be an inside competitors for minutes, but in addition, that they’ve the depth to beat adversity, whether or not that comes within the type of accidents or foul hassle.
Whereas I’d anticipate the foursome of Allen, Mitchell, Hunter, and Carr to be the core of the line-up, it is a group that had six totally different gamers common between seven and twelve factors per sport final 12 months, and ought to be very balanced of their assault once more this 12 months.