http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/91/918535.jpgTexas’ recruiting class was ranked the 4th best class in the nation by ESPN coming into this season. Â With the early departures of Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton and Cory Joesph, everybody knew they would get a chance to either live up to that ranking or prove it to be wrong. Â Led by McDonald’s All American Myck Kabongo, the class consisted of top 100 guards Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan, as well as top 100 forward Jonathan Holmes. Â Jaylen Bond, Sterling Gibbs and Kevin Thomas rounded out the class. Â Thomas would fail to qualify, leaving Texas with only 6 in its class and only 8 scholarship players on the roster to start the season. Â Walk-ons Andrew Dick and Dean Melchionni were awarded scholarships before the start of the season, but it was because of their dedication to the program.
The Longhorn freshmen have had their growing pains, but they have been nothing short of spectacular so far. Â They have come on strong especially lately. Â Sheldon McClellan has scored in double figures in 6 straight games and is the Longhorns’ 2nd leading scorer, Myck Kabongo scored his first career 20 point game against Oklahoma State over the weekend, and is now running the show with confidence, Julien Lewis has abandoned the 3 and is attacking the basket and playing great defense, Jonathan Holmes is finding spots in the offense to show off his jump shot after struggling to do so early in the season and Jaylen Bond and Sterling Gibbs have been sparks off the bench. Â This is the best group of freshmen in America. Â They are even better than Kentucky’s, in my humble opinion. Â Kentucky returned potential lottery pick Terrence Jones, as well as Preseason All SEC selections Darius Miller and Doron Lamb. Â Texas returned only 1 major contributor in J’Covan Brown. Â Kentucky is also blessed with length. Â Texas has 1 player over 6’7 and is forced to play with 6’7 power forwards. Â If you still don’t believe that Texas’ freshmen are the best in the nation, let’s look at their production, starting with Myck Kabongo.
– Myck Kabongo averages 10 points and 5 assists per game
– Sheldon McClellan averages 11 points and 3 rebounds per game
– Julien Lewis averages 7 points and 3 rebounds per game
– Jonathan Holmes, playing out of position averages 7.6 points and 5 rebounds per game. Â In only 20 minutes per game
– Jaylen Bond averages 3.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15 minutes per game off the bench
– Sterling Gibbs is adding 2.8 points off the bench in limited playing time, but he is a real spark for the Longhorns when he gets in the game.
The future of Texas basketball is very bright, and fans should be very excited. Â Next year, the Longhorns will add some much needed size with 6’10 McDonald’s All American Cameron Ridley joining the team. Â Top 100 center Prince Ibeh and top 100 power forward Connor Lammert will also join the Longhorn front court. Â Ibeh is 6’11 and Lammert is 6’10. Â 6’8 small forward Ioannis Papapetrou and 5’11 point guard Javan Felix round out the 2012 class for Texas. Â That class is currently ranked #3 nationally by ESPN. Â So as you your team fight hard for an NCAA tournament spot, rest assured because help is on the way.