When former Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor decided to forego his senior season and take his talents to the NBA, there was a glaring hole on the talented Texas roster coming into the season. The Longhorns lack a true point guard, one who knows when to facilitate for others, and one who knows when to make plays for himself. Taylor would have also been the only senior on the roster, bringing much needed experience.
On Monday, Shaka Smart landed Oak Hill Academy point guard Matt Coleman, the No.26 player in the nation to his 2017 recruiting class, which already includes three four-star commits in guard Jase Febres and forwards Jericho Sims and Royce Hamm. Coleman chose Texas over Duke, marking the second time in as many years Shaka Smart has landed a top-flight recruit over a blue blood basketball school (Center Jarett Allen committed to Texas over Kansas). Coleman has been recruited by Smart since he was in the eighth grade, when Smart was just getting started at VCU. Coleman played for Smart at the FIBA under-18 World Championships, further cultivating their relationship.
“It’s the perfect fit,” Coleman said.
Coleman is a pass first, playmaking point guard, something Texas desperately needs. Kerwin Roach and Andrew Jones have assumed the duties this year, but haven’t been able to get the offense going in the right direction. With Coleman running the show, Roach and Jones can have a lot more time off the ball, where they are more comfortable. Coleman plays an off-the-dribble style of point guard, getting into the lane and dishing to the teammates around him. At Texas, he will have multiple outside shooters to get the ball to. Texas can run a lot of three guard lineups with the addition of Coleman (something Smart ideally wants), giving more freedom to guys like Eric Davis and Jase Febres to move about the court in a way they are not able to with the current point guard situation.
While there are multiple reasons Texas is struggling on the hardwood this year, one of the main reasons is the lack of a pure point guard. In the 2017 class, Matt Coleman is about as pure as it gets. One would be hard-pressed to find a better fit for any program in the country than Coleman and Texas, and despite the on the court struggles this season Shaka Smart got his biggest win of the year on Monday.
- Jan 17 2017 08:53 AM
- by Jeffrey Cooperstein
Offense was optional in this rough and ugly game for both sides. The Texas Longhorns shot 20-52 on the night and Michigan was close behind them, shooting 20-48 from the floor. The two teams together tallied 26 turnovers and neither did an adequate job of rebounding on offense. Texas had just with 7 offensive rebounds and Michigan just 5.
For most of the game it was all Michigan as they took the lead with 18 minutes in the first half, at one point leading by 10, before the Longhorns whittled it down with 14:40 left in the game. The run began as Texas fought prior to the half, with James Banks stealing the ball and throwing it down to Kerwin Roach who funneled it down to Tevin Mack to start a run. Mack then turned around to knock down a three, sending the Longhorns into the half down by three on the road.
From there it was a back and forth fight with the lead never extending past 3 points for either team. The Longhorns missed a series of easy layups that could have put the team up by an insurmountable number, and down the line Michigan couldn't pick the correct shot.
Neither team could execute off the other team's blunders.
It came down to the final seconds. Texas was unable to get much going in the paint all night long, and Jarrett Allen fouling out with a minute left didn't help the Longhorns maintain the lead in the last seconds. After Michigan's Moritz Wagner hit the front end of his 1-and-1 and missed the second, Texas whiffed on the rebound and Michigan got the ball and put it back in for a three-point play to put the Wolverines up by 1 with 20 seconds left. After futile efforts by Texas on offense trying to get the ball down low unsuccessfully, the Longhorns put up several poor shots. The end result was a scoreless 2 minutes of basketball to end the game.
The confusion and poor offense was interspersed with amazing shows of talent and capability. The Shaka press worked like a charm, forcing numerous late game turnovers that turned into easy layups that Texas missed. In the end, it was once again youth and inconsistency that lost the day for the Longhorns.
The game ball for the Longhorns goes to Tevin Mack, who once again has been the brightest spot for this Texas Basketball team this year. Mack was the only player for the Longhorns to eclipse double digit points, with 18, shooting 5-11 and 3-6 from three-point land.
The only other player who had a significant impact on the floor was Jarrett Allen. Allen, as a big man, guided the ball to his teammates for 5 assists despite having limited playing time due to foul trouble all game long.
Once shots start falling for the Longhorns, players like Eric Davis find their groove, and players like James Banks, Andrew Jones, and Jarrett Allen become comfortable with the new level of play. If all cylinders are clicking, this Texas team could be a wrecking ball.
Until then they're 4-4 and inconsistent.
- Dec 06 2016 10:55 PM
- by Will Baizer
Texas did a decent job in the 1st half but could not close out the half, which allowed the Kansas State defense to take advantage of Texas turnovers. This led to a 12-2 run by Kansas State that gave the Wildcats a 3 point lead into the half. Again, that's nothing in the long run of a game but it definitely matters how the Texas Longhorns start the first 4 minutes of the second half.
- Under 16 TO. The lead is still 3 points but I see the Longhorns driving, making plays and forcing Kansas State to move. That's going to be crucial in getting a potential victory.
- Texas keeps trying to cut the lead, yet Kansas State just keeps scoring. Going up by 4 or 5 at times. If you are Shaka Smart, this must be extremely frustrating.
- Texas gets a 1 point lead at the Under 4 TV timeout. Texas needs to close.
- The Longhorns have taken control with a 55-50 lead! Wow.
- Connor Lammert hits a big 3 to make it a 6 point lead, then Kansas State answers with a 3 of their own. 3 point UT lead.
- Isaiah Taylor goes to the free throw line, hits 1 of 2 for Texas to hold a 4 point lead.
- With 21 seconds to go, Javan Felix fouls Iwandu for his 4th foul. Iwandu hits both.
- Kansas State fouls Isaiah Taylor and sends him to the line. Taylor misses the first but makes the second. Timeout Texas with a 3 point lead. I expect the Wildcats to go for the quick 2 pointer. If you miss, likely Ibeh or Lammert at the line who have struggled all season.
- Kansas State gets two opportunities but fails to convert and the clock runs out. Texas gets it first Big 12 win of the season.
Life in the Big 12..... You will have to grind it out every game to get the win. Kansas State had a grip on the game but the Longhorns worked hard and took advantage of their opportunities. I said in my game preview that the Bigs (Ibeh and Cleare) had to get 10 points, 15 rebounds and stay out of foul trouble to win basketball games in the Big 12. So how did they perform? 11 points, 12 rebounds, 4 total fouls. The two bigs were perfect from the field. Obviously, the bigs are not very good at free throws but that's something Texas will deal with all season. Connor Lammert was also great with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Isaiah Taylor needs to stay out of foul trouble. He's proven himself to be a strong 2nd half player, there's no question about that. However, the more points Taylor gets in the 1st half, the more points Texas scores in the game. A nice return for Demarcus Holland saw the senior guard add 4 points in 29 minutes. Most importantly, the Texas Longhorns showed swagger and didn't panic when shots weren't falling and stayed with the game plan. They notched a big win.
The Longhorns (9-5, 1-1) will travel to Fort Worth to play the much improved TCU Horned Frogs (8-6, 0-2) on Saturday in hopes of winning their 2nd-straight Big 12 matchup.
- Jan 06 2016 08:04 PM
- by Chris Flanagan
The Texas Longhorns won their season opener over the North Dakota State Bison 85-50. Let's take a closer look at the intricacies of the game:
- Myles Turner did not need an adjustment period to college basketball. His first 3 shots went in and he led the team in points at the half with 11 points.
- Biggest surprise? Javan Felix.Yes, he had a missed 3 point shot but he had no fear shooting the ball and the missed 3 point shot was a good shot.
- Jonathan Holmes went 3-3 with 8 points in only 6 minutes of action. Talk about efficiency.
- Isaiah Taylor did not have a great first half shooting the ball (1-6 from the floor).
- Connor Lammert can still hit that three point shot. Great to have that coming off the bench.
- Texas was able to get North Dakota State in foul trouble by driving to the basket every chance they got. That's a good thing.
- Myles Turner picked up his 3rd foul with 12:30 to go in the game on an offensive foul. He need to learn when to lay off.
- Isaiah Taylor had a much better 2nd half. 16 points and Taylor handled the ball very well. That's what you want to see.
- The free throw shooting was so much better than last season.
- Myles Turner went 20 minutes and had 15 points. Very good debut.
- Myles Turner actually sang "The Eyes of Texas" which many other players were not singing.
Myles Turner is the big storyline. I did not think that anyone can overshadow Cam Ridley, but Myles Turner did.
Jonathan Holmes and Isaiah Taylor did what was expected from them. Everyone contributed in some form during the game - 5 players had 9 points or more. The Longhorns also shot 32% from 3 point range.
Biggest stat: 85.7%. That was the free throw percentage for the Texas Longhorns tonight. No matter what opponent you play, that's a statistic you can control.
Biggest Takeaway: Depth. While Myles Turner was the focus on the floor, Texas had Jordan Barnett and Connor Lammert contribute as well. Although they did not score many points, they were not liabilities on the floor. That's what the Longhorns need if they want to get to the Final 4.
Looking Ahead: Alcorn State is next. I don't expect the Braves to be much of a challenge. There are ways the Longhorns can improve - turnovers and fouls were a concern from this game. In the first game of the season you'd rather those mistakes be made now instead of against Kentucky. A very good win for the Longhorns.
- Nov 14 2014 11:12 PM
- by Chris Flanagan