For sophomore guard Courtney Ramey, success has come in waves this season.
Earlier this season, Ramey tied his career high in scoring with 19 points against California Baptist, scoring 15 of those points in the second half. However, he followed up this performance with a goose egg, scoring zero points in the very next game against Prairie View A&M.
After spending his freshman season as a role-player on the NIT Championship team, Ramey has worked on developing his game and contributing where he can to this year’s squad by using each game as an opportunity to grow as a shooter and a leader.
“The biggest thing for me is just fine-tuning everything,” Ramey said before the season began. “People say I shot the ball well last year, but the thing is I want to shoot it great. The biggest area for me to improve on is my leadership.”
That leadership and the lack of consistency were both on display in last week’s near-upset against McNeese State. Despite a shaky start in the first half start, Ramey scored 14 points in the game, chipping in a couple of assists and three rebounds.
However, what he was able to accomplish in the final eight seconds of the game is what really mattered. Ramey stared down two free throws with the game tied at 71 points apiece. He had the weight of the team on his shoulders to lead them to victory, and he delivered, knocking both down to give the Longhorns the lead.
“What Courtney Ramey did at the end of that game was a domino for our team,” head coach Shaka Smart said after the win over the Cowboys. “You know — can he do that more consistently for us? If he can, you know, we go a whole different direction.”
In the first half against UAB, Ramey was productive, scoring eight points and collecting four rebounds and three assists. Ramey was the leader on the floor for a majority of his first half minutes. He would add an additional five in the second half.
The McNeese State matchup was one of the several games this season in which Ramey has struggled to find a rhythm in the first half. While he had no problem getting going in the first half of the UAB game, he has to become a more consistent player out of the gate.
“I think earlier in the (McNeese State) game, there were times when he got a little hesitant on offense, and that really takes away from the player he can be,” Smart said. “He’s been better and practiced this past week, but it’s definitely an area for growth. He’s got to go out there in the game and carry it over.”
Heading into Sunday’s rivalry game against Texas A&M, Texas will be relying on Ramey to not only help generate offense but also to lead the team as one of the veteran players from last year’s roster.
Along with junior guard Matt Coleman, Ramey is considered to be one of the leaders of this year’s squad and will have to set the tone for the younger players on the roster.
“Me and Matt have a responsibility just to make sure off the court and on the court that our team is doing the right thing and making sure they’re getting better,” Ramey said. “If they’re getting better, then it makes us look good, and if we look good, it makes the team look good.”