Croaker commits, Randle still pending

Nick Cremona

The Longhorns received their second verbal commitment of the spring when Orlando, Fla. shooting guard Demarcus Craoaker announced his plans to attend Texas this coming fall.

Croaker is ranked as the No. 43 shooting guard in the nation, and is the second player to pledge to Texas in the past two months. The Longhorns’ first commitment came in January from Isaiah Taylor, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Houston.

One look at Croaker’s senior year highlight reel on YouTube, posted the day of his commitment, and it’s clear that he can score and get to the rim at will. His ability to burst past defenders and find space in the lane is already in full effect, and time in college will only help to refine those skills. He can also handle the ball if he has to, and once he gets a defender in the air on a drive to the basket he can dish the ball off to an open teammate in a flash. Croaker’s game is reminiscent of multiple athletes that have come and gone in the Texas athletics system. For a guy coming out of high school, Croaker has a smooth jumpshot from mid-range and his long-range game is workable. Where Croaker excels is in transition and around the rim. That same mixtape contains several rim-rocking dunks that don’t seem possible from a player Croaker’s size. At 6-foot-3 he’s not a huge presence, but his quick first step and bounce around the rim are what make him a dangerous scorer. His defensive prowess is another reason Rick Barnes and his staff have kept a close eye on Croaker. When a player can score with such ease like Croaker, it’s also important for him to stay active on the defensive end, which should eventually keep him on the court for the majority of games.

He will be competing for playing time in an already crowded backcourt, but given Barnes’ willingness to play who he feels gives his team the best advantage, Croaker could crack the lineup before too long. With guys like Sheldon McClellan, Julien Lewis, Javan Felix as well as Taylor all vying for playing time, any minutes Croaker gets will be well earned.

Croaker’s commitment only deepens the Longhorns’ youthful bench, and with the nation’s No. 1 power forward and No. 3 overall recruit Julius Randle set to pick from Kansas, Kentucky, Florida and Texas on Wednesday afternoon, that bench could get deeper and more talented. Even without a commitment from Randle, the Longhorns seem to be on the right track to bounce back from their forgettable season.

Published on March 20, 2013 as "Croaker commits, Randle still pending".