Full circle: Dylan Disu commands his hometown team to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2008

Christina Huang, Sports Editor

Just four years ago, Dylan Disu was known as Bambi inside the Vanderbilt locker room. The young Pflugerville product had an adjustment period as he adapted to the physicality of SEC basketball.

“He was just out there,” Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse said about Disu in 2021. “But he plays hard, and his body is really coming into form. And he has big-time confidence.”

Bambi finally emerged as a stag on Saturday night for the team he’d always dreamt of playing for — the Texas Longhorns. 

Disu willed Texas to its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2008 with a whopping 28 points and 10 rebounds. He now has the most made field goals by a Texas player in an NCAA tournament game, surpassing NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge.

“Gameball goes to Dylan Disu,” Durant tweeted. “(He) looked like a young LaMarcus Aldridge out there.”

On a night where the Longhorns only made a single 3-pointer, every layup from Disu was extra valuable. Texas was only 1-of-13, 8%, from the three-point line.

Penn State senior guards Myles Dread and Andrew Funk combined for six 3-pointers, keeping Texas from pulling away with the lead. Just a few days ago, Funk scored 27 points to bring Penn State an electric first round win over Texas A&M. The former Bucknell guard went 8-for-10 from three in that win. 

The Nittany Lions’ 3-point shooting undoubtedly kept them in the game, but Disu always had a response of his own. 

“I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” Disu said after the game. “They were finding me, hitting me, a lot of my shots I took one dribble on so that means my teammates had to find me first. Credit to them and credit to the coaches for putting me in positions to score tonight.” 

While Disu is a humble guy, there’s no doubt that he was the main factor in Texas’ second round win. The things that worked against Colgate on Thursday night weren’t doing much against Penn State. 

Texas went 13-for-23 from three against Colgate, but the deep ball just wasn’t falling against Penn State. The Longhorns had no choice but to drive through the Nittany Lions’ defense. 

And time and time again, Disu found himself scoring in the paint. 85% of Texas’ points came from 2-point shots.

But Texas’ celebration will be short lived. Texas interim head coach Rodney Terry will be doing everything he can to get his team ready for the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

The Longhorns will have a few days of rest and preparation before taking on the winner of No. 3-seeded Xavier and No. 11-seeded Pitt in Kansas City. But until then, Disu can take pride in knowing that he represented his dream school well on the biggest stage in college basketball.

“I always watched the Texas Longhorns,” Disu said in November. “Going to the Final Four with this team and even further would be amazing.”