Texas guard Kerwin Roach II will be available for the Big 12 tournament after being suspended the past five games.
During a Big 12 Monday conference call, Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart confirmed Roach’s availability as his return should give Texas a major boost. Fighting for its tournament life, the Longhorns face Kansas in their first game of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday.
A playmaking senior guard, Roach is averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for Texas this season. The Longhorns have lost four of their five games without Roach in the lineup during this recent suspension. They went from being in the field in many tournament projections to now fighting their way back into the Field of 68 during Roach’s suspension.
The Longhorns are 16-15 on the season as they need to beat the Jayhawks on Thursday to even remain in the bubble conversation. Texas split the regular-season series with Kansas as they try to win the rubber match to keep the NCAA tournament hopes alive.
Roach has been suspended three times during his college career, including his sophomore season of 2016-17, as well as the start of this season.
Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Texas boosts its backcourt, Mike Rhoades is getting talent at Rice and Wichita State keeps adding talent.
Rick Barnes continues recruiting upswing by staying local
As Rick Barnes sat squarely on the hot seat last fall, one of the marquee reasons was his recent lack of success recruiting in-state talent to Texas.
Roach’s commitment might not make as many waves as Texas A&M’s recent four-man in-state 2015 haul, but it’s a big commitment for Barnes and Texas nonetheless because it keeps the recruiting momentum going locally. Putting Roach and fellow 2015 guard Eric Davis together means that the Longhorns have two talented scoring guards coming in next season to go along with all of the talented big men they currently have on their roster.
With Texas having only Jonathan Holmes as a major contributor that is a senior this season, the Longhorns are poised to stay in the conversation in the top 25 next season and if Myles Turner sticks around Austin for more than one season, Barnes could have a team deep enough to compete for a Big 12 title.
Rhoades doing a great job rebuilding at Rice
It’s no secret that Rice is one of the most difficult jobs in all of college basketball. With so many high-major programs located in Texas already and rigorous academic standards, it’s tough to recruit talented players and sustain success at the Conference USA school.
Want proof? The Owls haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 1970 and over the past two seasons the program only has three conference wins. The fanbase is relatively dormant as well. Rice averaged 1,624 fans a game in a Tudor Fieldhouse that seats 5,750.
But with new head coach Mike Rhoades, there’s some excitement around the program again and Rice has some notable recruits coming in.
The recruiting momentum carried over to the weekend as Rhoades received a commitment from a top-70 player in the 2016 class as shooting guard Josh Hall committed to Rice, as well.
Rice had to beat out multiple high-major programs and teams with strong basketball traditions in order to land both Letcher-Ellis and Hall and it shows that Rhoades has done a nice job of maintaining relationships from his time as an assistant at VCU.
The Owls are going to implement the “Havoc” style of play that VCU has famously used and that uptempo, trapping style of play is attractive to recruits.
When Rhoades took the Rice job last spring, many believed it was a strong hire for a program in dire need of a shot in the arm, but not many could have envisioned the kind of start the new head coach has had on the recruiting trail.
Wichita State recruiting continues to stay strong
One of the notable byproducts of Wichita State’s recent success is how recruits would react to the Missouri Valley Conference program being one of the best programs in college basketball.
Adding small forward Markis McDuffie to a class that includes four-star combo guard Landry Shamet, three-star guard Tyrone Taylor and three-star power forward Eric Hamilton is a nice four-man group for the Shockers and it gives head coach Gregg Marshall even more tough-minded athletes with length and skill to move forward with.
While Wichita State is adding recruits that fit the Shockers’ system, the increased national exposure has cast a wider net for them in recruiting. More doors being initially opened has clearly helped with this class as Wichita State landed McDuffie from New Jersey and won a heated recruiting battle for Shamet.
As long as Marshall remains the head coach there, the Shockers should get involved with more and more national-level prospects and that means the MVC program could sustain national success.
Of the six guards on the Texas roster heading into the 2014-15 season just one, walk-on Tarale Murry, is listed as a senior with two juniors and three sophomores making up the remainder of the options. Yet this hasn’t stopped Rick Barnes and his staff from adding to the perimeter ranks, and on Friday the Longhorns received their second verbal commitment in the Class of 2015 in the form of four-star shooting guard Kerwin Roach.
Roach made the announcement Friday morning at North Shore HS in Houston, and he picked Texas over California and Wichita State. Roach joins fellow four-star shooting guard Eric Davis as 2015 prospects who have verbally committed to Texas.
The 6-foot-4 Roach enjoyed a very productive junior season at North Shore, winning a state title in basketball and following that up with a gold medal in the triple jump at the UIL Class 5A track meet in the spring. On the basketball court Roach posted averages of 16.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game at North Shore, and he played for the Houston Rockstarz grassroots program.
Roach can play either on or off the ball, and his versatility will fit in well with the pieces Texas currently has on the perimeter led by sophomore Isaiah Taylor.
One of the biggest stock risers in the Class of 2015 after the July live evaluation period was Texas native and combo guard Kerwin Roach.
The 6-foot-4 Roach won a state title at North Shore High School in Houston during his junior year to go along with a state title in triple-jump but he was unranked by Rivals entering July.
But after a big July, Roach jumped up to No. 34 in the 2015 rankings and is now considered a four-star prospect. Now, the recruiting process is winding down for Roach and he has a final five and a decision date set.
Kansas State (August 30th) and Wichita State (September 12th) have already hosted Roach on official visits while Cal (October 3rd) and Texas (October 17th) also have official visits set. Oklahoma State is also in Roach’s top five, but no visit has been set to see the Cowboys.