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.
â€œItâ€™s the perfect fit,â€ 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 havenâ€™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.