In the 2020-21 season, the Texas Basketball team won their first Big 12 tournament in program history. As a three seed, Texas had their highest March Madness seeding since the 2007-08 season. The Longhorns had high expectations for the NCAA Tournament but it ended in bitter disappointment with the 14 seeded Abilene Christian pulling off a major upset over Texas. Texas’ head coach Shaka Smart then accepted a head coaching gig in his home state of Wisconsin at Marquette.
The future for Texas basketball looked bleak after Smart left the program. However, things significantly turned around after the Longhorns lured away one of the best coaches in basketball Chris Beard. Beard brought the Texas Tech program to national relevance within only three seasons. In his second and third season at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders appeared in an Elite Eight and National Championship game. Texas Tech never went farther than a Sweet Sixteen before Beard’s tenure. Beard truly established himself as one of college basketball’s star coaches after Texas Tech’s 2019 NCAA Tournament run.
This offseason Beard decided to leave Texas Tech for the Texas job. Beard signed a seven year deal worth $35 million, making him one of the highest paid coaches in college basketball. After landing Beard as the new Texas head coach, the future of Longhorn program looks bright. Beard has already amassed so much talent for Texas in the 2021-22 season. Texas basketball could be in for a special season in Beard’s first year as head coach.
The Texas’ roster for the 2021-22 season is just mind-boggling . First off, the Longhorns should have the best backcourt in the nation. Both Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones are returning for a senior season. Ramey averaged 12.2 points and 3.9 assists while shooting 41.4% from three. Jones averaged 14.6 points with 4.5 rebounds per game. Both Ramey and Jones are experienced veteran guards that will help Texas tremendously.
Ramey and Jones alone make up a good backcourt, but Beard decided to hit the transfer portal hard by landing both Devin Askew and Marcus Carr. Askew is a talented point guard that was ranked 37th nationally in the 2020 class. At Kentucky in his Freshman season, Askew struggled averaging only 6.5 points while shooting 34.5% from the field and 27.8% from three. While Askew did not live up to expectations at Kentucky, he still has a lot of potential and could bring good production off the Longhorn bench. Carr was a star at Minnesota and was ranked as the top transfer. In the 2020-21 season, he averaged over 19 points with four rebounds and 4.9 assists. One would assume Carr will start for Texas. With Ramey, Jones, Carr and Askew Texas is loaded in their backcourt.
The Longhorn backcourt will even have three-point specialists off the bench. Jase Febres is a returning shoot guard that shot 39.2% from three last season. In addition, Texas has the incoming four-star freshman Jaylon Tyson. Tyson at 6-foot-6 projects as a wing who can play either shooting guard or small forward. He was ranked 37th nationally by 247 Sports and has a pretty shooting stroke.
Texas has talent beyond their backcourt. Beard landed several forwards in the transfer portal as well. Dylan Disu joined the Texas program. He is a 6-foot-9 forward that averaged 15 points while shooting 49.2% at Vanderbilt. Disu was also a fantastic rebounder averaging over 9 rebounds per game. Further, he has potential as a defender with his good length. Another forward, Timmy Allen from Utah transferred to Texas. Allen is 6-foot-6 and averaged 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season. Texas has two very talented forwards with both Disu and Allen.
Already, all the listed talent is so impressive. However, this is not all. Beard landed yet another top transfer in Tre Mitchell out of Massachusetts. Mitchell is a 6-foot-9 center that has NBA upside. He averaged 18.8 points while snagging 7.2 rebounds per contest. In addition, Mitchell was efficient shooting 51.9% from the floor and 37.5% from three. Alongside Mitchell, Texas also won over the transfer Christian Bishop out of Creighton. Bishop was Creighton’s starting center in their Sweet Sixteen run. He averaged 11 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot 68.1%.
Beard’s Tournament Success
Clearly, Texas will be absolutely stacked for the 2021-22 season. They have several options at every single position and could realistically go around 10 to 11 deep. The Longhorns have star power as well with players like Carr, Mitchell, Allen and Jones. The most important tidbit about this roster is experience. The Longhorns will likely play seven Seniors with only one freshman. Contributing veterans are vital during March Madness, Texas will have veterans galore. This loaded roster alongside Beard’s coaching ability should spell success. As mentioned, Beard took Texas Tech on some special runs. Beard’s first roster at Texas is far superior than anything he’s ever had in terms of talent.
When the Longhorns were under Smart, there was criticism Smart could not succeed in the NCAA Tournament with Texas. While Smart had postseason success at VCU, it just wasn’t there at Texas. In contrast, Beard has recent accomplishments coaching postseason basketball.
Between the roster and Beard at the helm, Texas will have very high expectations in the upcoming college basketball season. After landing Carr in the transfer portal, Texas has vaulted in preseason rankings. Jeff Goodman, the longtime college basketball analyst, moved Texas up to second in his preseason top 25. The offseason has been something special for Texas basketball. The 2021-22 Texas Longhorns have a real chance at a national championship under Beard with this sickeningly-loaded roster.