The Texas Longhorns basketball program filled up another scholarship spot today. Center Shaquille Cleare, a transfer from the Maryland Terrapins, signed a Letter of Intent today to finish his collegiate career as a member of the Texas Longhorns. He announced the decision via his Facebook page.
Cleare revealed his intent to transfer from Maryland earlier this month, ending a forgettable two-year stint on Mark Turgeon's team. The Terrapins had been significantly tapped out of available scholarships, and Cleare left along with former heralded recruits Roddy Peters and Nick Faust. Cleare visited Austin earlier this month, reportedly his only stop prior to picking Texas.
A former four-star recruit and top 75 prospect nationally, Cleare played his high school ball at The Village in Houston, the same school as current Longhorn point guard Isaiah Taylor. Cleare was also a member of the Houston Defenders AAU program, running alongside former McDonald's All-Americans Aaron and Andrew Harrison.
Cleare has two years of eligibility remaining, and presumably would have to sit out a year. He could petition the NCAA for a waiver to play immediately, but Texas' frontcourt is crowded next year, with Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes, Prince Ibeh, and Connor Lammert all returning. The Longhorns are also in the hunt for five-star center Myles Turner, who is set to announce his decision on April 30.
Cleare and Ridley were favorably compared to each other coming out of high school, but Cleare hasn't done much at the college level. He averaged just 3.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG in his two years at Maryland. Cleare is a big-bodied, low post player, and he did average 57.4% shooting from the field. Given his size, Cleare should be a better rebounder and defender than his metrics indicate. It'll be interesting to see if Barnes can get him on the Ridley development path. If so, Cleare will be an asset during his final two years in Austin.