Texas Longhorns: Basketball Recruiting

Handicapping the race for Myles Turner 

August, 14, 2013
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Myles TurnerCourtesy of Kelly Kline/Under ArmourNo. 10 recruit Myles Turner is down to eight finalists: Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville and Ohio State.
Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity) was unknown and anonymous just a few months ago, heading into the April recruiting period. A broken ankle kept him off the summer circuit last season and kept him off the radar for most of the elite college programs.

But it has all changed in a hurry for the 6-foot-11, 225-pound Texan, who has made an Anthony Davis-esque rise up the rankings, elevating himself from outside the ESPN 100 to No. 10 overall in the Class of 2014 to now potentially challenging fellow big men Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) and Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie) for the No. 1 spot. While Okafor is polished and skilled, no one in the 2014 class may have as much upside as Turner.

Turner recently cut his college list to eight and has set just one official visit thus far, to Lawrence, Kan., for the Jayhawks’ Midnight Madness on Oct. 4. Turner’s father, David, told ESPN.com that the family has also already set up in-home visits with Texas and Kentucky.

Here’s handicapping the race for Turner, ranking his finalists from 1-8 after talking to those involved in the recruitment:

Myles Turner trims list to 8 schools 

August, 7, 2013
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Five-star center Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity) has confirmed that he has trimmed his list to eight schools. In no particular order, the finalists for high school basketball’s hottest prospect are Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas.


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ESPN 100 SF Barnett chooses Texas 

August, 1, 2013
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ESPN 100 small forward Jordan Barnett (St. Louis, Mo./Christian Brothers) committed to Texas on Thursday over offers from Florida, Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford and Iowa, among others.

Barnett, the No. 86 player in the ESPN 100, gets the Longhorns on the board in the Class of 2014 with a four-star prospect who was nationally recruited not only because of his on-court production but also because he is an excellent student and-high character young man.

Jordan Barnett
Courtesy of NikeESPN 100 SF Jordan Barnett will bring his size and athleticism to Texas.
So why did Barnett choose the Longhorns and what will he bring to Texas?

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Fast-rising ESPN 100 power forward/center Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity) trimmed his list of college suitors on Wednesday.

The No. 10 overall prospect in the Class of 2014, who has seen his recruitment skyrocket this spring and summer after being unranked coming into the travel season, narrowed his list from a whopping 58 to a more manageable 26 heading into the July evaluation period and hopes to trim the list even further after this month.

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Momentum is a powerful thing in the world of college basketball recruiting. While it tends to be a constant for a select few national powerhouses like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas, virtually all other programs in the country are constantly competing for any edge that can push them to that next level.

In the wake of our initial 2014 ESPN 100 player rankings release last week and as we start a team-by-team breakdown of 2014 recruiting targets by conference over the next two weeks, here’s a look at five college hoops programs that are trending in the wrong direction on the momentum meter heading into the 2014 recruiting class.

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FRISCO, Texas -- Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/Plano West) would have liked to be a part of this weekend’s Nike EYBL series playing with the Texas Titans. With a sling on his right shoulder, however, the 2015 two-sport star was reduced to watching the Titans on the bench, offering instruction to teammates and being the team’s biggest supporter.

For the rest of the spring and most of the summer, Jamabo’s focus will be on rehabbing after undergoing shoulder surgery on April 30. Jamabo broke some bones and damaged some ligaments in his shoulder during a Texas Class 5A Division-I state quarterfinal playoff. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound athlete is expected to miss 6-10 weeks but is projected to return a couple of weeks before Plano West’s first scrimmage in August.

“It’s early in the process, but it’s going well,” Jamabo said of the rehab process. “I’m just trying to get the shoulder back to usual, if not better. Right now, I’m just doing basic stuff and keep everything as minimal as possible.”

Exactly what kind of football player will Plano West look to see back on the field? Jamabo’s first rush as a varsity player was against Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus on Aug. 31. It went for 12 yards. His second rush: A 75-yard touchdown run.

Since then, Soso has been ... well ... anything but.

Only the shoulder injury managed to slow the electrifying 2015 running back down. He rushed for a team-leading 1,697 yards and 24 touchdowns and also caught 20 passes for 453 yards -- an average of almost 23 yards per catch -- and four touchdowns. On the basketball court, Jamabo averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 11 games.


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Texas adds three-star SG Walker

April, 30, 2013
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Senior three-star shooting guard Martez Walker (Detroit/Pershing) committed to Texas on Tuesday, ESPN.com has confirmed.

The 6-foot-5 Walker recently visited the Texas campus and chose the Longhorns over Iowa State, Miami, Providence and Temple, among others.

Walker joins ESPN 100 point guard Kendal Yancy-Harris (Richardson, Texas/Berkner), three-star point guard Isaiah Taylor (Houston/The Village School) and three-star shooting guard Demarcus Croaker (Orlando/Jones) in Texas' incoming 2013 class.

SG Walker enjoys official visit to Texas 

April, 25, 2013
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The departure of two transfers and Myck Kabongo’s decision to go pro have freed up two scholarships for Texas’ 2013-14 basketball team. The search is on for unsigned recruits with the potential to contribute immediately, and Detroit Pershing's Martez Walker could be one of them.


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ESPN 100 PG Yancy-Harris picks Texas 

March, 30, 2013
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Right after he wrapped up his official visit on Saturday, Kendal Yancy-Harris (Richardson, Texas/Berkner) made the decision he’d known he was making all along.


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Julius Randle played out his recruiting until just about the 11th hour. And when the music finally stopped playing and Randle picked Kentucky on Wednesday, there were three schools left standing with broken hearts. Here’s a look at where those programs go from here.

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Three-star SG Croaker to Texas 

March, 19, 2013
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Rick Barnes received a commitment today from Demarcus Croaker (Orlando/Jones), just weeks after the three-star SG visited Austin for the Longhorns contest against Baylor. Croaker recently decommitted from Murray State, and Texas moved quickly to make a positive impression on the talented guard to earn his pledge. In addition to Texas and Murray State, Mississippi and Baylor each had Croaker, who was one of the top remaining shooting guards on the board, at the top of their respective lists.

[+] EnlargeCroaker
Reggie RankinThree-star recruit Demarcus Croaker picked Texas over Murray State.
"I selected Texas because it is a great academic school, great basketball program and I think I can be real successful in their style of play,” Croaker said. "On the visit, the coaches were the difference. I like how they were talking about how I will improve and how they are going to play me."

Croaker also spent time with Javan Felix, Myck Kabongo and Ioannis Papapetrou and the current Longhorn stars gave him the rundown on what to expect at Texas.

"Felix, Kabongo and Papapetrou told me Coach Barnes is going to push me and not let me settle. I like that," Croaker said.

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Biancardi's Breakdown: Julius Randle 

March, 19, 2013
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With No. 3 overall prospect Julius Randle committing to Kentucky on Wednesday, we’ve decided to take one last look at his game to see what he will offer his team at the next level.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder was named a McDonald’s All American and selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Randle recently led his Dallas Prestonwood Christian squad to its second consecutive state crown despite missing the bulk of the season with a foot injury.

Here’s a final breakdown of Julius Randle’s game.

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On Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. ET live on ESPNU, No. 3 overall recruit and No. 1 senior power forward Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) will announce his college decision from a list of finalists that is comprised of Kansas, Texas, Kentucky and Florida.

Whichever school he chooses, his skills and athleticism will make him an instant-impact player and program-changing recruit from day one. Simply put, he has the talent to change the landscape of college basketball next season with his decision. Consider this: As historically good as Kentucky's 2013 class already is, Randle would immediately become the Wildcats' top-rated recruit. That's how special he is.

So before he finally ends the suspense and makes one college program very happy, let's break down what a commitment from Randle would mean for each of his four finalists.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Keith Frazier (Dallas/Kimball) grins and laughs when the tougher questions come up, like which school is No. 1 or which official visit was the best of the three he’s taken. He came to Austin to play basketball, not drop any recruiting news.

But now that the UIL state championships are over and Frazier’s senior season has ended, it’s time for the ESPN 100 guard to start closing in on a decision. Next up could be two final official visits.


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ESPN 100 G plans to visit Texas 

March, 9, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas – As he walked off the Frank Erwin Center court Friday night, the high school basketball career for a standout player from Richardson (Texas) Berkner ended after a loss in the state semifinals. He received a tap on the shoulder from a fan.

“Hey, where are you going to college?” he was asked.


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