The Evolution of the Texas point guard

Chijioke Okorie

Freshman Myck Kabongo appears to be next in a long line of point guards Texas has produced in the Rick Barnes era.

The timeline begins with T.J. Ford, who played two years — the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. Ford made an immediate impact in his rookie year, becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to ever lead the nation in assists, with 8.2 per game, and earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors by consensus. The following season, Ford led the Longhorns to their first Final Four appearance since 1947, was named the Naismith College Player of the Year and received the John Wooden Award.

Ford decided to forgo his junior year and enter the NBA Draft, but the era of star Longhorn point guards had just begun.

In 2006, freshman D.J. Augustin started 35 games with an average of 14.4 points and 6.7 assists per game, earning him All-Big 12 Second Team and Big 12 All-Rookie honors. The following year (2007-2008), after losing Kevin Durant, Augustin had a large hand in what was one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history — a 31-7 regular season record and an Elite Eight appearance.

Augustin would also go on to win the Bob Cousy Award, which honors the best men’s college point guard in the country. Then, like Ford, he declared for the draft after his sophomore season.

Avery Bradley and Cory Joseph were the next highly-recruited point guards that Texas wooed. Bradley (2009-2010) started 34 games for the Longhorns, averaging 11.6 points per game, and Joseph (2010-2011) started 36 games, averaging 10.3 points per game. Both left after their freshman seasons: Bradley was selected by the Celtics with the No. 19 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and Joseph was chosen at No. 29 by the Spurs. While both were very productive in each of the seasons they played for Texas, it has been believed that they left before they could develop their game enough for the pros, leaving many to say that they should have stayed for another year or more.

Many have compared both Kabongo’s approach, quickness and cerebralism to Ford. Thus far, the freshman averages 9.7 points and 5.5 assists per game. If he can deliver on the expectations — he was, after all, a five-star recruit — it seems that this year’s team and the Longhorns’ point guard lineage will be in good hands. 

Printed on December 2, 2011 as: Point guard lineage continues to expand, Kabongo next in line