Looking back at Texas men’s basketball senior class: Defining moments for Coleman, Febres, Hamm, Sims

Riley Glenn

Senior center Jericho Sims throws it down in a Jan. 25, 2020 game against LSU. The big man from Minnesota has had his fair share of highlight-reel dunks in his four-year career as a Longhorn.

The Texas men’s basketball senior class entered the Longhorns’ program in the fall of 2017, one year after head coach Shaka Smart endured the worst single-season record, 11–22, since 1984. 

Ranked as the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation, the Longhorns saw 4 of 5 signees, with the exception of first-round NBA Draft pick Mohamed Bamba, play for Texas through their senior season. They led the Longhorns to a 78–51 four-year record, with two NCAA tournament appearances and one Big 12 conference tournament championship. However, the group may forever be marred by two Round of 64 exits in the 2021 NCAA tournament.

Here are the best career moments from every member of the senior class:

Jericho Sims’s breakout game in 2018: 

Jericho Sims was a bit of a project when he came to the Longhorns from Minnesota. Sitting behind Bamba, the crowned jewel of the then-freshman class, Sims received sparse playing time as he attempted to transform his body into the 245-pound lean frame he carries as a senior. However, on March 3, 2018, in a must-win game against No. 20 West Virginia, Bamba was unavailable due to injury. In his place, Sims started the game and exploded for 17 points and eight rebounds, slamming highlight dunks that energized his team on the way to a 87-79 Texas win. Sims delivered his best performance of the season and kept Texas’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive, as the team eventually snuck into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed.

Royce Hamm Jr. fills in for Sims, keeps 2020 win-streak alive:

In his four-year career with the Longhorns, Royce Hamm Jr. never jumped off the screen with his scoring ability. However, his hustle on the boards and relentless effort made him the ultimate team player. On March 3, 2020, Hamm received a rare starting opportunity as the Longhorns faced Oklahoma on the road, and he responded with arguably the best game of his career. Texas, coming off four-straight victories, needed a win to give them a shot at the NCAA Tournament, and the big man stepped in for an injured Sims to help them snag a 52-51 victory. Hamm wasn’t flashy in the game but scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his 30 minutes of play.

Jase Febres gets hot against Iowa State:

Highly touted coming out of high school as a sharpshooting guard, Jase Febres overcame growing pains in his freshman year to shoot over 37% from beyond the arc in his final three seasons with the Longhorns. The best game of his career came in his sophomore season against Iowa State on March 2, 2019, where he hit a whopping eight three-point shots and scored a career-high 26 points. While Febres was often limited by injury in his career, when healthy, he had moments where he was borderline unstoppable from three-point range. 

Matt Coleman sinks Sooners with buzzer beater:

In a sea of chaos for the Texas program the past four years, Matt Coleman has been the one constant. Coleman started all of the 128 games that he played in over his career, serving as a rock and Texas’ floor general. Despite all of his great moments, the one Longhorn fans will cherish forever is his game-winning, buzzer-beating three-point shot against Oklahoma on March 3, 2020. In a game where the winner effectively clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament, Coleman willed an undermanned Texas team to victory with 21 points, three of which came on a wild bank-shot with 0.4 seconds left on the clock to give Texas the 52-51 victory. 

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 26 issue of The Daily Texan.