Texas Longhorns

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Texas’ Jones out with a broken wrist

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Texas may be without its leading scorer heading into conference play.

Longhorns coach Shaka Smart announced Monday that sophomore Andrew Jones suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist and will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

“Fortunately it’s not one of those injuries where he should be out for an extended long period of time,” Smart said at his news conference Monday, “but he’s going to miss at least the next few games before Christmas. They decided not to put it in a cast, which is good news.”

Jones suffered the injury last week against VCU when he took a number of tumbles to the floor. He’s averaging 15.3 points while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

“It’s a tough injury for us because he’s our leading scorer and has done a phenomenal job for us this year,” Smart said. “We’re going to need everyone on our team, not just guards, but everyone on our team to step up and take a little more responsibility.

“Your margin for error is a little smaller.”

The Longhorns, who are 6-2 with losses to Duke and Gonzaga, face Michigan on Tuesday, Louisiana Tech on Saturday and Alabama next week. Jones is certainly out for those games, and his availability for Texas’ first Big 12 games – Dec. 29 vs. Kansas and Jan. 1 at Iowa State – would seem to be in question.

“We don’t have an exact timeframe,” Smart said. “It’s really good news they didn’t put it in a cast.

“We’re hopeful that we can get him back in three, four weeks, but that’s not a set timetable.”

 

Texas’ Bamba out with concussion

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Mohamed Bamba’s freshman season at Texas is being paused do to injury.

The 6-foot-11 center is being held out of Texas’ game Tuesday night against New Hampshire after sustaining a concussion in practice Sunday, the school announced. He “continues to be treated and evaluated as part of the program’s concussion protocol,” according to the school.

Until there’s more information, there’s no reason to overreact to this news, but it is no doubt concerning given the increased scrutiny players are now receiving upon returning from head injuries.

Bamba, a potential No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft, already got off to a strong start to his Longhorns career, putting up 15 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists and one steal in just 23 minutes of action in his season debut against Northwestern State on Friday. He was named the Big 12’s co-newcomer of the week.

He is a huge – literally and figuratively – piece of Shaka Smart’s bounce back season after the Longhorns went 11-22 overall and finished last in the Big 12 in his second season in Austin. If he misses extended time, it would radically change the expectations for what Texas will be able to accomplish.

After New Hampshire on Tuesday, Texas has Lipscomb on Saturday before a Thanksgiving day matchup with Butler.

Texas lands four-star forward Gerald Liddell

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Texas lands its second in-state four-star prospect this week.

Days after 2018 power forward Brock Cunningham pledged to join the Longhorns, Gerald Liddell, a highly-sought after wing, made his verbal commitment to Texas.

The 6-foot-8 small forward announced his decision on Twitter on Thursday evening.

Liddell had previously cut his lists seven, with Arizona, Baylor, Cal, Oregon, SMU and UCLA as the six other finalists.

The combination of size, versatility, athleticism, and length are ideal for a Shaka Smart team. He’ll be able to play multiple positions and should fit in nicely for an up-tempo team that likes to play in transition.

Liddell played for RM5 Elite in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer. In 16 appearances, he averaged 11.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game, connecting on 41 percent of his attempts from the field.

Rivals lists him as the No. 41 overall recruit in the Class of 2018.

WATCH: T.J. Ford cries in Rick Barnes’ arms following his graduation

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Fourteen years after T.J. Ford left the University of Texas for the NBA he returned to graduate. And his head coach, Rick Barnes, was there to see the former national player of the year receive his diploma.

Ford and Barnes shared an emotional moment when talking to reporters following the ceremony.

As a sophomore in 2003, Ford led the Longhorns to the program’s first Final Four appearance in 56 years. The floor general went on to be named Naismith College Player of the Year and received the John Wooden Award.

Barnes, who is currently the head coach at Tennessee, spent 17 seasons at Texas.

Ford’s No. 11 is retired by the university.

Texas’ Allen to hire agent and stay in draft

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Jarrett Allen has decided that after testing the NBA draft waters, he’s ready to dive in.

The Texas freshman will hire an agent and remain in the draft, the school announced Tuesday.

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to begin the process of hiring an agent and turning professional,” Allen said in a statement released by Texas. “Throughout this basketball season, I felt I have grown as a basketball player and as a person while learning how to approach and prepare for the game.

“These experiences and my continual improvement throughout this year have provided me the opportunity of a lifetime to live my dream of playing basketball at the highest level. I have had deep discussions with my family as well as coach (Shaka) Smart in making sure this is a sound decision.”

The 6-foot-11 Allen projects as a potential lottery pick after averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his lone season in Austin. He shot 56.6 percent from the field. He attempted just seven 3-pointers on the year.

Allen came to Texas with many believing he’d ultimately go the one-and-done route, but he struggled some early before truly finding his footing late, leaving some to believe it was a real possibility he’d return to help Smart rebound from an 11-22 Year 2 with the Longhorns with four-star recruit Matt Coleman set to join the team and fill its desperate need at the point guard position.

Instead, Allen will go pro and Smart will have to await the decision of his other McDonald’s All-American freshman, Andrew Jones, who also has declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. If Jones ultimately decides to forego his eligibility and stay in the draft, Smart will be faced with a roster short on proven high-level talent.

The other scenario, though, is that Jones returns and Allen’s departure clears the way for five-star center Mo Bamba to join the Longhorns. The top-five 2017 recruit is reportedly considering Texas, Duke, Michigan and Kentucky as his collegiate destination.

 

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.