Veteran Longhorns learn from youth, provide leadership on men’s basketball roster

Payne Williams, Senior Sports Reporter

Despite Chris Beard fulfilling his first season as head coach, last year’s men’s basketball team was defined by seniority and experience throughout the roster.

But with Beard bringing in several new transfers last year, there was little chemistry or opportunities for the younger players to learn from the veterans.

The Longhorns still boast an experienced roster heading into this season, but players like senior Timmy Allen believe the capability to learn from each other, including new younger players, regardless of experience has been a point of emphasis this offseason.

We feel great about our balance between returners and experience and young, new talent.

— Timmy Allen

“It’s all (about) us being receptive to each other,” Allen said on Oct. 12. “I’m learning stuff from the young guys. I may see something, but they may see it from a different perspective, and I have to respect that.”

Texas will continue to rely on its experience this season under seniors Allen, Christian Bishop and Dylan Disu and graduate students Marcus Carr, Brock Cunningham and New Mexico State transfer Sir’Jabari Rice.

Allen said the importance of learning from each other is critical, and the team lacked that particular aspect of chemistry last season.

“Sometimes when you have everybody who’s old … they’re not always as eager to learn,” Allen said. “These young guys we got in are so receptive to information … and they know they have to learn.”

The Longhorns’ youth this year could be an important aspect to a successful season on the court, too. Allen spoke highly of newcomers like sophomore Iowa State transfer Tyrese Hunter and freshman former five-star recruit Dillon Mitchell, emphasizing their skill and eagerness to learn from the veterans.

“We’re all feeding off (Hunter) … playing with a guy like him, he can be a lot of things, but he’s humble,” Allen said. “You see (Mitchell’s) potential, you see his eagerness, you see his energy… he’s a humble kid.”

Hunter was a critical part to 11-seed Iowa State’s upset win over 6-seed LSU in last spring’s NCAA Tournament. Hunter finished the season as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and Allen commended Hunter for being so receptive to leadership from more experienced players on the roster despite his freshman success.

In addition to Allen, Bishop, Carr, Cunningham and Disu, Texas returns redshirt freshmen Cole Bott and Gavin Perryman. Beard said he anticipates a successful season with the combination of experience and youth, and how the two groups have mixed so far on the roster.

“These seven guys (coming) back … and what they all represent individually and as a core, I think gives us a real chance,” Beard said. “We feel great about our balance between returners and experience and young, new talent.”