Shaka Smart’s first season at Texas received a nice boost late Saturday, as the player who will run the show has decided to return to the 40 Acres for his junior season.
Isaiah Taylor announced on social media that he’s decided to return to Texas, and his return gives Smart a point guard who has the speed and skill needed to run his system on both ends of the floor. Taylor, who missed the majority of non-conference play with a broken left wrist suffered in a win over Iowa, averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 assists per contest as a sophomore.
“Glad to be a Longhorn! Feels good,” Taylor said via Instagram. “Looking to get this new era started. Love the guys on the team. Spending another year with my teammates and coaching staff is a great feeling.”
Outside of Jonathan Holmes and Myles Turner, the Longhorns will return the majority of last season’s team. But the question is whether or not this group can play the pressure style of basketball that Smart employed while at VCU. It will certainly take some adjusting on both ends, with the players getting a better grasp of what Smart expects and Smart and his staff getting a better idea of what the players on the roster can and cannot do.
But retaining a player the caliber of Taylor helps in that process, and overall Texas won’t lack for depth on the perimeter either. Also returning are Javan Felix, Demarcus Holland and Kendall Yancy, and they also add two recruits in guards Eric Davis and Kerwin Roach. Texas is also in the mix for 6-foot-6 shooting guard Tevin Mack, who signed with VCU and then was granted a release in the aftermath of Smart’s departure.