clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Shaka Smart and the 2015-16 Texas Longhorns Roster

What's in store for Texas next year?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Texas Longhorns have their astute, intelligent, knowledgeable, ingenious, and perspicacious head men's basketball coach on board (Shaka Smart, in case you were wondering), the next question is: what will the roster look like next year? Here's an early look.

Definitely Gone

Jonathan Holmes - He celebrated senior night and will likely hoop overseas next year.

Myles Turner - The precocious freshman has already declared for the NBA Draft. I haven't seen any official word that he has hired an agent (and thus permanently closed the door to a collegiate return), but the chances of his return are essentially nil.

NBA Stock Watch

Isaiah Taylor - Of the remaining players on the roster, Taylor has attracted the most attention from NBA scouts. Texas' sophomore point guard is not NBA-ready and would likely go undrafted, but that hasn't stopped guys before (re: Kabongo, Myck). I expect the opportunity to play in Shaka Smart's system will be attractive enough for him to return.

Graduate Transfer Possibilities

Demarcus Holland, Javan Felix, Connor Lammert, Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh - Texas has five rising seniors on this year's team. I won't pretend to know their academic situations, but all would receive significant interest elsewhere if they can graduate and gain immediate eligibility. Of the five, only Lammert has tweeted about the Smart hire, FWIW.

If they stay, Ridley and Ibeh do not represent the ideal personnel for Smart's "havoc" defense, so it will be interesting to see how Smart deploys the two rim-protecting bigs. Conversely, Holland should thrive in Smart's full-court press. Felix should probably have Joey Rodriguez film on loop.

The Younger Guys

Kendal Yancy, Jordan Barnett, Shaquille Cleare - Yancy certainly seems pleased at Smart's impending arrival. Barnett has potential, and Cleare gains eligibility after sitting out a season as a transfer from Maryland. All three would have to sit a year if they transferred out.

The Signees

Kerwin Roach - The Houston North Shore combo guard reiterated his commitment to Texas following Rick Barnes' departure but was taking a "wait and see" approach with the new hire. Getting Smart seems like a wise choice in keeping Roach's commitment. Roach seems tailor-made for Smart's system.

Eric Davis - As a Michigan native, Davis understandably had concerns about his commitment to Texas sans Barnes. Those concerns appear to have been allayed, but it's a situation worth monitoring. Davis is scheduled to participate in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 17.

Poaching VCU Signees

Texas currently has 11 scholarships committed to its 2 signees and 9 returning players, leaving 2 available for the 2015-16 season that Smart can use if he chooses. Prior to departing, Smart had three players committed to VCU that all signed Letters of Intent.

Signees can decommit following a coaching change, but a school has to release them from the LOI in order for them to play immediately. If a school does not grant the release, players have to sit out a year before regaining eligibility. Players released from an LOI cannot sign a second LOI, but instead sign a financial aid agreement with the new school. Yancy went through this process a few years ago after signing an LOI with USC.

Tevin Mack, Kenny Williams, Jordan Murphy - Smart has elevated VCU's recruiting game (as evidenced by the DaggaStats), and VCU has two top 100 prospects in this year's class. Mack is a South Carolina native that chose VCU over UConn, (the other) USC, and Clemson, while Williams is from Virginia and was once a UNC lean. Murphy is the less heralded recruit, but he balled at San Antonio Brennan (alma mater of Texas football player Derrick Roberson) and could strongly consider staying close to home if proffered.

It remains to be seen whether Smart will reach out to his former recruits, or keep away out of respect for his prior program.

High School Prospects or Graduate Transfers

Smart and VCU weren't really involved with any of the big names that remain uncommitted, but there is a chance that he could renew existing relationships in search of another body. More likely, if Smart decides he needs immediate help, a myriad of graduate transfers are available. ESPN's Jeff Goodman typically keeps the most comprehensive list ($). Drexel's Damion Lee (21.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG as a junior) is the most sought after, but Houston natives Anthony Collins(USF) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) are intriguing names that might be open to Texas.