After being suspended for the first 23 games of 2012-13, Myck Kabongo will see his first action of the season and start Wednesday vs. Iowa State. Today, Kabongo released a statement commenting on his suspension and the remaining games.
Though he won’t be a ‘cure-all’ for the Longhorns, Kabongo’s return will undoubtedly help improve the struggles on offense. Currently, the offense is built almost entirely on jump-shots. Because of this, it’s no surprise the Longhorns are 8th in the Big-12 in scoring offense, 7th in field goal percentage, and last (10th) in 3-point percentage. But Kabongo has the ability to improve these numbers on both sides of the ball. Unlike anyone on the roster, Kabongo can get into the lane, attack the basket, and finish at the rim. And his success in finishing plays will greatly affect if Texas elevates itself towards the end of the season.
Texas has no one to count on as a reliable option in the post. We’ve seen flashes from Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh, and a few of the others in the front court, but there isn’t a big-man, who can be a consistent scoring threat in the paint for the Longhorns right now. Because of this, Texas is forced to rely on their guards.
Unfortunately, none of their guards possess the ability to consistently get into the lane and create, whichÂ molds the offense into a jump-shooting attack.Â I’m not a huge fan of a team that relies heavily on jump shots, but it can work. The key hinges on finding open and higher-percentage shots, rather than simply passing on the perimeter and jacking up off-balance or contested shots.
Kabongo’s ability to attack the rim can change that.
If he’s successful at getting into the lane, he can either finish, dump the ball off to an open post player (whose man has shifted to help on Kabongo), or kick the ball out to one of the guards, who are set to get open looks. Â Attacking the lane with a legitimate threat to score opens up the offense and creates better opportunities for the shooters.
Though Felix has done a great job given his circumstances, Kabongo also brings speed to the open court that will help Texas get easier buckets in transition. And Texas needs buckets any way they can get them right now.
There are still other problems, such as rebounding, that Texas needs to address. So, don’t expect Kabongo’s return to fix all of the Longhorns’ woes. But if coach Barnes can put his sophomore point guard in a position that uses his quickness and athleticism to the Horns’ advantage, we may see a Texas team actually capitalize on it’s above-average defense and find a way to get easier buckets in the paint.