Texas: Success Hangs On Coaching And Experience


The Texas Longhorns basketball team can have a successful season as long as a few individuals step up and lead.

The Texas Longhorns basketball season began with a disappointing loss to Washington but there is no need to panic. They have the personnel available to become a threat in the Big 12. It’s just going to take a little leadership from some important figures.

After Texas and Rick Barnes agreed to part ways, the Horns hired Shaka Smart, former coach for Virginia Commonwealth, to be their new head coach. Smart is exactly the kind of coach Texas needs.

Smart made a name for himself at VCU, where he set records such as becoming the youngest coach to reach 100 wins. In his time there, he led the Rams to six consecutive seasons of at least 26 wins and their runs in the NCAA Tournament were incredible. Twice, VCU went to the third round and once they were in the Final Four.

It was no surprise to see Smart make his move to Texas. They provided him with a bigger spotlight and the ability to recruit even better players than before. With the history of Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge, Smart knew that he could build something special in Austin.

As for the players on the team, Texas will have to rely heavily on their more experienced players who have been with the team for a while. Specific players that fit that description are Junior Isaiah Taylor and Seniors Javan Felix, Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh, Demarcus Holland and Connor Lammert.

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The combination of these six guys on the court has resulted in some great games for the Longhorns and they will need to rely on them in the same way this season. Fortunately, players like Taylor (27 points, 7 rebounds) and Ridley (6 points, 10 rebounds, 7 blocks) were big in the first game of the season. Both of these players have been fixtures in Texas’ scheme the past couple of seasons.

By putting all of those guys together with Shaka Smart, a very capable coach, the Longhorns will have the opportunity to bring back the fun days in Austin where they made it out of the round of 64 and advanced more often in the tournament.

However, it isn’t something that is going to happen immediately. A new coach always comes with a period of adjustment time and that’s why it’s good that the Horns have a tight-knit group of competitors that are willing to learn and make changes accordingly.

Before conference play begins, Texas will have a few chances to come together and prove that they have a team full of working parts. North Carolina – the No.1 team in the nation – and Connecticut will give the Longhorns quality tests and provide them with opportunities to start the season strong before they have to go on a difficult run in January.

Next: Longhorns Bowl Hopes Likely Gone After Loss

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Overall, the Longhorns will be capable of competing near the top of the Big 12 this season but they will need to find chemistry between the players and the coaching staff, something that was not obvious in a disappointing 2014-15 season. Though it may not be evident early on, something very intriguing is about to happen in Austin.