Even though not a single Longhorn heard their name in the 2016 NBA draft, Texas will have former players starting their professional basketball careers this weekend.
Isaiah Taylor, Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh will be playing in the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts July 8 and runs through July 18. Former Longhorn Jonathan Holmes, who graduated in 2015, will be playing as well, trying to continue his professional basketball career.
Taylor, who left Texas with a year of eligibility left, will be playing with the Houston Rockets. The point guard left UT ranked No. 7 in career assists (415) and No. 20 in scoring (1,254) on the schoolâ€™s all-time list. Many thought Taylor left college too early, needing to play his final year to prove himself draft worthy. Taylor played in a total of 92 games, averaging 13.6 points and 4.5 assists.
Ibeh, who had a standout senior year but still went undrafted, was picked up by the Milwaukee Bucks. The center played all four years at Texas, recording the most minutes during his senior season after Ridley went down in December. Ibeh started in six games prior to his final year and left the forty-acres with a total of 28 starts. The Texas native finished his career at UT ranked No. 4 on the schoolâ€™s all time block list with 212 and earned Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors at the conclusion of his senior year.
Ridley, who missed most of his senior season because of a fractured foot, caught the attention of the Chicago Bulls and was added to its summer league team after the NBA draft. The center fractured his foot in practice on December 27 and did not return to play until March 10. He only played in a total of 13 games his senior season, creating a total of 115 career games at UT. Ridley left UT ranked No.3 in blocks (220) and No.10 in rebounds (720).
Holmes, who graduated in 2015, was named to the Memphis Grizzlies summer league roster. Last summer, Holmes played for the Boston Celtics summer league team. The Los Angeles Lakers signed Holmes in August but waived him in October after he separated his shoulder in a preseason game.
There are a total of 24 teams in the Las Vegas Summer League and every team is guaranteed to play at least five games.
Texas Basketball Tied for 4th in Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll
Kansas Jayhawks take the top spot
The Big 12 Conference released its preseason coaches team rankings for the upcoming basketball season on Friday. The Longhorns find themselves tied for 4th, with the TCU Horned Frogs, in the field of ten teams. The Kansas Jayhawks top the poll for the eighth consecutive season, collecting all first-place votes and finishing with 81 total points. Kansas State and West Virginia round out the top 3, with 72 and 61 points respectively.
The Big 12 will hold its preseason media day on Wednesday, October 24 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, site of the 2019 Conference Tournament.
The Longhorns kick off their season against Eastern on Tuesday, November 6th against Eastern Illinois at the Frank Erwin Center.
Complete Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll
Shaka Smart, Texas hoops secure commitment of 4-star PF/C Kai Jones
The Longhorns add their 2nd commit of the 2019 recruiting class
The Texas men’s basketball team received some good news on Monday evening when Kai Jones, a 4-star center from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, verbally pledged to the Longhorns. He held offers from more than 25 schools, including Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, Georgetown, Texas, Baylor and Florida State. On September 23rd after visiting Austin, the 6-10, 205 lb. senior from Brewster Academy listed Baylor, Florida State and Texas in his final three.
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) September 23, 2018
Jones’ scouting report from ESPN reads: “An extremely athletic post player who is just scratching the surface of his ability. A hard working and active big man who shows touch facing the basket all the way to the 3 point line. Offensively he is more comfortable and effective playing a face up game in space.”
Although he plays center in high school, Texas is recruiting Jones as a power forward. Originally from the Bahamas, he transferred to Brewster Academy from Orlando Christian Prep in Orlando, Florida, where he won a state championship.
Jones is listed as the 53rd best prospect in the country in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and the 3rd best player in the state of New Hampshire. He joins Elkins High School (Missouri City, TX) shooting guard Donovan Williams in Shaka Smart’s 2019 recruiting class.
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) October 16, 2018
RT JakePerper: Kai Jones with the vicious slam. ocphoops overtime pic.twitter.com/ZPu9F14CSq
— The Coach Radar (@TheCoachRadar) February 12, 2018
Texas picks up commitment from 2019 4-star SG
The Longhorns secured their first commitment of the 2019 class from SG Donovan Williams earlier today
Shaka Smart picked up his first commitment in the 2019 class Wednesday morning, when Fort Bend Elkins SG Donovan Williams verbally pledged to the Longhorns. The 6’5, 180 pound guard took his official visit to Austin this past weekend, and it didn’t take long for him to pull the trigger. Williams chose Texas over Arizona State, Texas A&M, Miami and Georgia.
Williams is currently ranked as the 111th overall player in the 2019 class, according to the 247sports composite rankings.
Here are some highlights from Williams at the NBPA Top 100 Camp:
Jacob Young announces transfer from Texas Basketball program
University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart lost another player on Thursday, just two days after true freshman Mohamed Bamba announced his decision to leave school early and declare himself eligible for the upcoming NBA Draft. Sophmore guard Jacob Young, who averaged 16.2 minutes and 6.2 points per game for the Longhorns this season, announced via twitter that he would seek a transfer.
Thanks to the coaches, teammates, and staff. After my past two years of experiences at UT, I am transferring. I wish Coach Smart and his program all the best. Jacob Young
— Jacob Young (@YEAHLILJ) March 22, 2018
“I appreciate all of the effort that Jacob has given to our University over the past two seasons,” said head coach Shaka Smart in a statement.
Young was a 4-star recruit out of Yates High School in Houston and was ranked as the 23rd best point guard in the country.
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