Felix’s start parallels Texas greats

Hank South

Texas men’s basketball has been a model of inconsistency the past couple of seasons. The Longhorns will show flashes of brilliance, only to follow them up by disappointment come season’s end. While the Longhorns have managed to make their way to the NCAA Tournament the past 14 seasons, Texas hasn’t been a relevant force since 2010-11.

This season has started out rough. The team has dropped a pair of early season games, one at the hands of Division II Chaminade at the Maui Invitational — a team that has a (7-76) record in the annual preseason tournament. There are multiple factors plaguing the Longhorns including extreme youth, the entire roster comprises of freshmen and sophomores, with the exception of two senior walk-ons. But possibly the most detrimental is that second-year point guard Myck Kabongo has yet to be cleared by the NCAA to return to the court. Kabongo’s replacement, freshman Javan Felix, hasn’t wowed the Texas faithful yet, but has proved an admirable fill-in for Kabongo.

Felix happens to hail from the same high school (St. Augustine, New Orleans, LA) as former Texas star and current Charlotte Bobcat D.J. Augustin. Both Felix and Kabongo have the potential to be the next great point guard on the 40 Acres, like Augustin proved to be. Let’s take a look at the stats comparing the three point guards through their first five games as Longhorns.

In 2006, during Augustin’s freshman campaign, the Longhorns started the season 4-1 with the loss coming to Michigan State. Augustin averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 assists, shooting 47 percent from the field while averaging 32 minutes a game. The Longhorns went on to have a fairly successful season going 25-10, upsetting Oklahoma State and Texas A&M while giving Kansas a couple of scares, one of them coming in the Big 12 Championship game. Augustin spent most of the season in the shadow of fellow freshman superstar Kevin Durant.

Kabongo was one of the highest rated high school players coming into the 2011 season. During his freshman campaign, the Longhorns — similar to 2012 — started 3-2, dropping contests to more formidable opponents, Oregon State and North Carolina State. Kabongo averaged 8.4 points and 5.2 assists, shot 25 percent from the field and averaged 27 minutes a game.

This season, Felix has averaged eight points and six assists per game, while shooting 29 percent from the field in 37 minutes a contest. One of the biggest plagues of this year’s team has been turnovers. Against Coppin State the Longhorns turned the ball over 26 times, the most ever under head coach Rick Barnes, eight of which came via Felix. The freshman has averaged 3.6 turnovers a game, which is almost identical to the marks Augustin and Kabongo set, they averaged 3.2 and 3.4 respectively.

It’s fair to say that all three of these point guards have had extremely similar starts to their careers as Longhorns. If Kabongo remains disallowed from participation, Felix will have the opportunity to make a name for himself thanks to the brutality Texas’ schedule offers, come December.