Forty-five minutes before the Texas Longhorns were set to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats, Texas announced that freshman center Mohamed Bamba would miss Tuesday’s game after suffering a concussion on Sunday. As a result, Texas head coach Shaka Smart had to insert a different freshman, Jericho Sims, into the starting lineup.
Texas head coach Shaka Smart entered this season with high expectations. Friday’s season opener against the Northwestern State Demons gave him an opportunity to see if his young, talented team could live up to those expectations.
A losing record is a big deal when it happens to a revenue sport at the University of Texas.
During Shaka Smart’s second season as head coach of the Longhorns, he led the team to an 11-22 record. It was and still is a disappointing mark considering he had a lottery pick on his team in Jarrett Allen, but the offseason has helped to mitigate much of the disappointment 2016-17 was.
The 2017-18 version of the Texas Longhorns goes live tonight as UT hosts the Northwestern State Demons at the Erwin Center.
Back and forth they went a year ago.
Back and forth.
For the first time since I’ve been covering Longhorn basketball, Shaka Smart invited the media to Cooley Pavilion on Tuesday to give a little taste of what the Longhorns have been working on in the offseason.
There is absolutely no doubt about it, Shaka Smart can recruit.
The Longhorns welcomed 6’9″ power forward Kamaka Hepa to the program after he committed to Texas on Monday night.
You never want to take too much from a scrimmage. You can’t glean a whole lot from an intrasquad game. But you can see the baseline of where this team is before the 2017-18 season. And it looks a lot better than what we’ve seen in the last few years.
So much athletic ability. So much effort. So much transition. So many 3’s. And what looks to be a full team in Shaka Smart’s 3rd year on the 40 Acres. Some quick thoughts:
Texas head coach Shaka Smart has a lot going for him so far in 2017. He had a chance to see his team play against high quality competition in August during a tour of Australia. He has a consensus lottery pick at his disposal with a mix of young and veteran guards to help move the offense. His program was left out of any discussion of a sweeping scandal that rocked the sport.
Even before he’s played an official game for the Texas Longhorns basketball program, UT hoops fans are well aware of the pressure and expectations which have been heaped upon freshman point guard Matt Coleman’s shoulders.