Texas Longhorns: Jaylen Bond

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas forward Jaylen Bond has elected to transfer and will not play for the Longhorns in the College Basketball Invitational.

The sophomore from Philadelphia averaged 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game this season.

“While this was a difficult decision to make, I feel it is the right one for me at this time,” Bond said in a statement. “It wouldn’t be right for me to continue playing in the postseason and take minutes away from my teammates who are returning. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me while I was here.”

The 16-17 Longhorns play on the road against Houston in the first round of the CBI on Wednesday. Bond will transfer at the end of the spring semester.

A left foot injury sidelined Bond for 11 of Texas’ first 12 games this season. After starting in two games in January, he was relegated to coming off the bench and appeared in 20 games. In his final game with Texas, Bond played four minutes in a 66-49 loss to Kansas State last Thursday in the second round of the Big 12 tournament.

The 6-foot-7, 224-pound forward played in all 34 games as a freshman last season and started five.
AUSTIN, Texas -- All of this could have been avoided.

Myck Kabongo could be taking part in his first NBA training camp right now and not be the subject of an NCAA investigation into his relationship with a professional agent, which Yahoo! Sports first reported late Wednesday night.

But the Longhorns sophomore point guard didn’t want his last game in a Texas uniform to be a 65-59 loss to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA tournament. He wanted his legacy in Austin to be much more memorable than that and figured he could make that happen with at least one more season as a Longhorn.

[+] EnlargeMyck Kabongo
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireAs a freshman, Myck Kabongo averaged 9.6 points per game last season for the Longhorns.
“Personally for me I didn’t want to go out without winning,” Kabongo said recently. “This program deserves to win. They’ve done everything possible from a Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four. They just haven’t gotten to that big stage yet. I just think with the big pieces that we have coming back we could do that.”

The Big 12’s head coaches reminded everyone last week of the expectations he brings with him into the season by naming him to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. But if the findings in the NCAA investigation cause him to miss time this season, those expectations could be tempered a bit.

Kabongo, a 2011-12 All-Big 12 honorable mention, started all 34 games last season as a true freshman. A pass-first point guard, he finished fourth in the league in assists per game (5.2), second on the team in steals (38) and third on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg).

He was expected to be the face of a program whose roster features just two seniors (both walk-ons) and no juniors. He is up to 180 pounds after adding 10 pounds of muscle this summer, and said he felt much better about being able to handle the rigors of an NCAA season.

“I thought I could use another year of college to get stronger,” he said. “Talent-wise I think I was ready to go. But physically and mentally it was a good thing for me to come back, get bigger and stronger, and build a bond with my teammates.”

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Rick Barnes sees potential.

Five freshmen, each with a unique talent; a junior guard in J'Covan Brown who is a proven scorer and is becoming a more adept passer every game; and a big man, Clint Chapman, who after three years of watching is now snatching his opportunity ... and rebounds.

[+] EnlargeClint Chapman
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireJaylen Bond (2) and Clint Chapman have picked up their performances recently for Texas.
“We've shown a lot of things that we can do,” the Texas coach said. “I keep thinking that we have got so much room to improve, it's amazing.”

There is room to improve and then there is the gulf of experience that appears to separate Texas from its next opponent, North Carolina. The No. 6 Tar Heels return much of the team that made the Elite Eight last season before being knocked out by Kentucky.

Texas starts three freshmen, and it could be a long and frustrating learning experience for Barnes' team inside the Dean Dome Wednesday night. But the key is, Texas is learning. Truth be told, this game is not make-or-break for the Longhorns. It's a nonconference test that fits perfectly into the schedule.

Barnes built this schedule with youth in mind, knowing he would have to allow his young players to grow into games such as this one at North Carolina and, later, the Big 12 schedule. Had it not been for a huge second-half collapse against North Carolina State and an overtime loss to Oregon State -- both games away from the Frank Erwin Center -- Texas would be exactly where Barnes wanted it.

As it is, there are indications that the Longhorns are maturing at a rapid rate and getting better play out of certain players who, at this point, were not supposed to be difference-makers. Take Jaylen Bond, for instance.

The freshman had been in a support role for the first couple weeks of the season. He averages just 15 minutes a game. But he is fourth on the team in rebounding and first in rebounds per minute played, and both numbers are rising. Just in the past two games, Bond, a 6-foot-7 forward, has pulled down 20 rebounds.

“What he has done on the boards is exactly what he did when we started preseason practice,” Barnes said. “The last two games he is really starting to do some good things we need from him.”

Bond said that is just part of the maturation process.

“As I get more confident in my offense and defense, I am able to help my team win,” he said.

His offense, more than his rebounding, has been the most surprising aspect of his game in the last two contests.

Bond scored 18 against Nicholls State. It was a season high. In the next game, against Temple, Bond put up 12 points. Many of those were high-percentage putbacks.

Bond said he has always had the ability to read the ball out of shooter's hands and correctly slice for the rebound. That ability should help him as he goes up against the 7-foot Tyler Zeller and 6-foot-11 John Henson when banging the boards at North Carolina.

What could help Texas as a team is the knowledge that while the players in Longhorns uniforms have changed throughout the years, their program does hold a four-game winning streak over the Tar Heels.

“We have beaten them twice in the last couple of years, so I know they are going to come into this game having something to prove,” point guard Myck Kabongo said. “We have something to prove, too.”

What the Longhorns have to prove is that the potential Barnes sees is real.

Bond earns Big 12 rookie of the week honors

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
1:26
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Freshman forward Jaylen Bond has been names the Big 12’s rookie of the week, the conference announced Monday.

The Philadelphia native averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds last week in wins over Nicholls State and Temple. Against the Colonels, Bond produced the Longhorns’ first double-double of the season, notching a career-high 18 points and 12 boards in the 93-40 win.

He had 12 points to help get the 77-65 win over Temple on Saturday. For the year, Bond is averaging 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and has converted 25 of 38 field goals.

Bond is the second Longhorns to win the award this season. Myck Kabongo earned the honor on Dec. 5.

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