Wednesday, February 13, 2013
What Kabongo's return means to Texas
By Luke Lapinski
It hasn't exactly been the ideal season for Rick Barnes and his Texas squad. The Longhorns have made the NCAA Tournament 14 consecutive years, but that streak will end this March barring a miraculous run through the Big 12 Tournament and the automatic bid that would come with it.
Life should at least be getting a little easier for the basketball program in Austin though. Myck Kabongo will make his return from a 23-game suspension tonight when Texas plays host to Iowa State. The talented sophomore has yet to play in the 2012-13 campaign, but made his mark as a freshman a year ago. He averaged 9.6 points, 5.2 assist and 1.3 steals per game in his first year, and generated buzz that he might be looking at entering the NBA draft. He returned to the Longhorns instead though, and now they'll finally get him back on the court.
His addition clearly makes the team better in terms of talent, but it raises some potential questions as well. As ESPN's Jason King points out, freshman Javan Felix has been the starting point guard all year in Kabongo's absence, so it will be interesting to see how Barnes balances the playing time in the backcourt. Plus, it's certainly possible that it may take Kabongo time to get back into the swing of live game action, and it may take his teammates a little while to get used to having him back as well. That said, if Texas is to have any shot -- as far-fetched as it may be -- of making a run through the conference tourney, the addition of Kabongo can only help.