Freshman forward Jericho Sims lets his playing do the talking

Steve Helwick

He may be the quietest member of the young Texas Longhorns’ basketball team, but freshman power forward Jericho Sims is ready to speak to the nation in his first year suiting up at the Frank Erwin Center.

Sims first presented his talents to a local audience of Longhorn fans during Texas’ Orange-White Tip-Off scrimmage on Oct. 18 at Gregory Gym. Prior to the contest, Sims and junior shooting guard Kerwin Roach Jr. squared off in a dunk contest, similar to that of the spectacle on NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Sims delivered three attempts and demonstrated athletic prowess by finishing each of the three acrobatic dunks.

“Jericho’s a freak of nature,” sophomore point guard Andrew Jones said. “I haven’t seen a guy like that personally in my life. He’s an under the radar guy, and he’s not gonna be there too much longer.”

The 19-year-old power forward from Minneapolis drew plenty of applause from the newly acquainted crowd by destroying the rim with a windmill dunk and then slamming a reverse jam into the basket, showing flashes of unparalleled athleticism for a freshman frontcourt player.

“Jericho brings athleticism,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “He’s 240 pounds as a freshman. The game’s going so fast for him. As it slows down in time, he’s going to be a really good player for us.”

With his athleticism, Sims, a four-star recruit, possesses versatile talent on offense for Texas. During the Longhorns’ intrasquad scrimmage, the 6-foot-9 true freshman scored 11 points, collected three rebounds and even sunk a three in the 24-minute competition.

“He’s just really, really scratching the surface of what he can do,” Smart said. “The game right now is very fast for him because it’s a big adjustment. As he learns and gets comfortable and is in attack mode on a regular basis, I think he’ll do a lot of good things.”

While Sims has demonstrated his abilities on the hardwood, many want to learn more about his personality off the court. Several of Sims’ teammates have described him as quiet and reserved, but Sims seems to be growing more confident in the locker room.

“Me and (Sims) have a good relationship,” Jones said. “He’s my locker mate, so I kind of force him to talk to me. He has a great personality. Once he gets comfortable, he’ll start talking to you more and being more open.”

Sims differs from his frontcourt counterpart, freshman center Mohamed Bamba, who plans to bring a bit of trash talk near the rim. Bamba hopes to bring Sims with him, adding a second voice to the Longhorns’ set of big men.

“I’m still trying to get Jericho Sims to trash talk,” Bamba said. “We have a little ways to go, but trust me, by the time we play our first game, he’ll be chirping a little bit.”