Longhons land near bottom of conference after disappointing season

Nick Cremona

Most Improved- 
Connor Lammert: His overall numbers for the year aren’t overwhelming, and he began to tail off as the season waned but Lammert made the most of his freshman season. His best performances came down the stretch when the Longhorns absolutely needed wins, but in the end it proved to be too little, too late for his team. Lammert’s length and soft shooting touch give Texas an outside scorer that can also crash the boards when needed. Lammert’s tenacity late in games showed Rick Barnes he can hang with anyone and isn’t afraid to hit the deck for a loose ball. If he can continue to stretch defenses with his outside shot and make big defensive plays he will enjoy a fruitful career at Texas.

Biggest Disappointment- 
Jaylen Bond: The sophomore big man was in line to have a breakout year after averaging 15 minutes of playing time last year. This season Bond suffered a foot injury during a game against Chaminade and would go on to miss nine consecutive games. During a time when the Longhorns were without the suspended Myck Kabongo, Bond’s presence on the glass was sorely missed. There were also times when Bond seemed to think his 6-foot-7 frame was better suited to shoot contested jumpers rather than clear out space on the low block. Bond has some work to do if he is to improve on this season where he played in 20 games and averaged less than three points per game.

Coaches’ Grade- 
C: This may have been the worst season Texas has endured under the guidance of Rick Barnes, but it had been a few years in the making. Give Barnes credit for consistently convincing some of the best athletes to don a Texas uniform, even if it was only for a year or two. Names like Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton come to mind, and while they were great during their time as Longhorns, it is tough to build a perennial power when multiple players are declaring for the NBA Draft nearly every year. It’s no secret Kabongo has had his eye on the NBA since stepping foot on the 40 Acres, but as far as the rest of Barnes’ team goes, it should stay intact. Barnes has been around long enough to know what his team needs to improve upon in order to compete, so a grade of C seems fair for a coach that had a grand total of zero upperclassmen that recorded meaningful minutes during this season.

Sheldon McClellan: Despite being benched in a handful of games, McClellan was the Longhorns’ most consistent scorer. When he isn’t slumping he’s capable of scoring in bunches, and as he matures his game will evolve so that he can involve his teammates as well. There’s no indication at the moment that McClellan has any plans of jumping ship and heading to the NBA, so his future is as bright as ever. He’ll return as the team’s leading scorer, and after showing some reluctance to shoot the ball early on this season, he seems to be realizing that he is the Longhorns’ primary scoring option until someone takes the crown from him. Barnes’ and McClellan’s relationship has been tenuous at times, but it is in both of their best interest for McClellan to continue to be the go-to option on offense. McClellan’s defensive game is another story, but with his deft scoring ability Barnes should be willing to take what he can get from the sophomore.