UT Hoops inks trio today

Royce Hamm. (D1seen.cm)

Royce Hamm. (D1seen.cm)

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AUSTIN – A trio of high school basketball standouts have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball next season at The University of Texas, head coach Shaka Smart announced Wednesday. Jase Febres (Houston, Texas), Royce Hamm Jr. (Houston, Texas) and Jericho Sims (Minneapolis, Minn.) will join the Longhorns for the 2017-18 season.

Preston says: Febres: Big time shooter. Smooth athlete who is comfortable with the ball and can spot up. Not a big threat to penetrate at this point, but he has the upper body strength and quickness to add that to his game. Explosive enough to be a threat in the open floor and on the defensive end. Will need to get stronger in his core and work on his lateral quickness. High upside with the ability to contribute right away.
Febres (6-5, 180), a guard from Westfield High School (Houston, Texas) who plays under coach Van Price, is ranked as the No. 47 overall prospect in the nation by Scout.com and No. 63 by Rivals.com. He averaged 17.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game during his junior year while leading the Mustangs to a 20-15 mark and the second round of the Class 6A state tournament. Febres also earned Academic All-District 15-6A honors as a junior.

“Jase is a very good athlete who can really shoot the ball from deep,” Smart said. “His great mind for the game and knack for creating winning plays make his ceiling as a player very high.”

Preston says: Hamm: Still wonder what his best position is going to be but he can really get up and can rebound well in traffic or space. Needs to work on his perimeter shooting because stretch four should be a possibility in the long run. Weight room work will be important from day one. Project, but his athleticism and ability on the glass could get him minutes early, especially if Allen leaves.

Hamm Jr. (6-7, 200), a forward from Aldine Davis High School (Houston, Texas) who plays under coach Larry Skinner, is ranked as the No. 74 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN and No. 89 by Scout.com. He averaged 22.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a junior while leading the Falcons to a 29-3 record (12-0 in District 18-5A) and the third round of the Class 5A state tournament.

“Royce is a versatile forward who combines ball skills, athleticism and strength,” Smart said. “He has the ability to score from outside and around the basket and can really rebound the basketball.”

Shaka Smart. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Shaka Smart. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Preston says: Sims: Different level talent than his ranking suggests. I think people are going to be shocked what he can do on the court. Him and Allen in the frontcourt is a dream next year because both guys can function at all four levels (perimeter/mid-range/face up/back to the basket) like you’d want from a big in Shaka’s system. Roach level athleticism for a big. Needs to get bulkier, but plays strong already. Allows for switching at all positions on defense. Soft touch as a free throw shooter and from the perimeter. Can do it all. All-everything physical potential with a great understanding of the game.

Sims (6-9, 220), a forward from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Minneapolis, Minn.) who plays under coach Stanley Clay, is ranked as the No. 48 overall prospect in the nation by Scout.com, No. 54 by Rivals.com and No. 67 by ESPN. He averaged 21.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 blocks per game as a junior while leading Cristo Rey to a 20-8 record and the quarterfinals of Section 4A. Sims earned honorable mention all-state accolades and Most Valuable Player honors in the Twin Cities Athletic Conference while ranking fifth individually in rebounding in the state among all classifications.

“Jericho possesses tremendous quickness and touch for a player of his size,” Smart said. “He is a powerful athlete whose emerging skill set and explosiveness make his potential almost limitless.”

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