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Next Year's Big Men & Playing Time

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Next year's basketball team will have more 4s and 5s than Sooner binary.

This is a problem. A good problem.

So let's conjecture unfairly as to which of them might be transferring or redshirting and which will be making many two point dunk shots on gametracker.

First, the possible return of Damion James - this year's 4 - shouldn't matter. His return is contingent on Barnes' commitment to refine his NBA SF skills, specifically his handle and the ability to take people off of the dribble. He's playing 3, even if he's not totally there yet. If he doesn't return, Justin Mason plays in a three guard set and we mix it up with some occasional zone with three bigs. This gives us eighty minutes + to distribute amongst six dudes.

That's just not happening. Concievably, we could lose an eventual All-Conference level guy to transfer.

Most teams are thrilled to have four legit bigs; we'll have six. Barnes can't make that work without the aid of transfer, redshirt or both. Connor Atchley and Gary Johnson are the only two guys that I'm reasonably sure about. The other four all have the potential to go elsewhere or sit out a year out to develop (save Hill).

Connor Atchley is a known quantity. You know his resume: 6-10 230, he provides experience, shot blocking, good team defense, range from the three point line, and a surprisingly nifty and underutilized post game. Connor is arguably the most improved player in Longhorn history. He'll get even better, particularly if he can come to understand that his unselfishness can actually be a form of selfishness when it robs our team of a good shot. His shot. Assert thyself, Connor. You're a personality and clutchness transplant away from being Christian Laettner lite. Minutes: 25

Gary Johnson had an injury riddled season - ticker worries, broken schnozz, bum ankle - but he showed a great deal of intensity and effort when he was well. Dude has heart - pununintentional. He's an undersized power forward with a some ability to play snippets of small forward if we can protect him in a zone. He's a capable defender and his offensive game is just beginning to manifest itself, but it's all 15 feet in right now. He's a legit 6-7 240 and his quickness will give bigger players problems if he can learn to consistently take the ball to the basket instead of shooting a horseshit fadeaway. Over the course of his career, I'd like to see him develop a real back to the basket game. Minutes: 20

Alexis Wangmene is a long 6-7 240, aggressive, raw, promising, and attracts fouls like cashmere collects lint. Redshirt? Maybe. Transfer? Maybe. R.C Buford's reading of the tea leaves will be critical. I like Alexis and hope he sticks around. His free throw form suggests a stroke not yet fully realized. This guy could be anything. Minutes: 0-15.

Clint Chapman played very little, but in his minutes he played very well. He's 6-10 240 and still growing into his body. I'm not entirely sure what his game will be about when he matures, but it's clear to me that he'll develop a varied game that will serve as a nice complement to any other big man on the court. Back-to-basket, face up jumpshot, set 3. He could become an upgraded Atchley. Redshirt? Maybe with an injury. Transfer? I could see it. Minutes: 0-15.

Dexter Pittman may have turned a corner during tourney play. He'd be hard to miss coming around a corner. He's a rebounding machine and he gets any position he wants under the goal. He's also still learning his body and defensive lateral movement. I pray that he can get it together because Big Dex giving us 15-20 minutes per game in the low blocks at 8 ppg and 8 rpg would be monstrous. Shirt? No. Transfer? Possibly. I hope his tourney minutes encouraged him and made an impression on Barnes. Minutes: 0-15

Matt Hill is a 6-10 245 pound X-factor after sitting out last year with an injury. Barnes claims that Hill would have played extensively this year had he been healthy. He certainly has size and strength and would be an interesting defensive asset paired with Atchley. I wouldn't be shocked to see him pulling down a productive 15 minutes per game. Would his likelihood of transfer depend on his ability to call last year a medical? Minutes: 0-15

Your thoughts?