AUSTIN, Texas —
“We know the guys that are here are full on 100 percent with the team,” sophomore forward Conner Lammert said. “The guys who transferred had different plans in mind.”
Here’s five things to know about the Longhorns, who start the season at home Nov. 8 against Mercer:
WHO WILL SCORE?: A good question, considering the Longhorns lost four players from last season who combined for nearly 50 points per game (Texas only averaged 66 ppg). Felix has shown he can be a hot shooter —he scored 26 against Baylor last season — and may prove more dependable if he doesn’t have to carry the load at point guard. Myck Kabongo’s 23-game suspension last season forced Felix take over point guard duties and it wore him down. “Javan proved a year ago he’s capable of putting up numbers,” Barnes said.
AT THE POINT: Kabongo’s suspension forced Felix to handle way more than Texas wanted last season. Look for the early point guard duties to go to freshman Isaiah Taylor, who led the private Village School in Houston to a 23-5 record last season. But Felix is still available if needed to run the offense.
DEFENSE: Barnes built the Texas program on a foundation of tough-as-nails defense. He’ll need it again given the lack of firepower on offense. The Longhorns lost eight games last season by seven points or less. New rules that will limit aggressive defense on the perimeter are a concern. “We’ve had to think long and hard about how we’re going to play without fouling,” Barnes said. “I’m a little bit more concerned about that side of it probably than the offense.”
BIGGER IN TEXAS: Texas has some size and they’ll need it in the Big 12. Center Prince Ibeh is 6-foot-10 and beefy forwards Cameron Ridley (6-9, 285 pounds) and Jonathan Holmes (6-8, 240) have shown they can be the Longhorns’ muscle under the basket. Ibeh and Ridley combined for 87 blocks last season. Holmes also the leading returning rebounder with 5.6 per game last season.