Three Longhorns sign to the NBA after 2023 Draft

Emma Hutchinson and Evan Vieth

As many Texas basketball fans tuned into Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the suspense of hearing a familiar name turned into disappointment as 60 athletes were called to the stage, none of them bearing a Texas alumni title. 

However, fans were in good spirits after the announcement of three Longhorns, Timmy Allen, Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice, signing to three separate NBA teams immediately preceding the end of the ceremony. 

The first of the three to receive a contract was Rice, who signed a two-way contract with the San Antonio Spurs. A two-way contract grants a team the ability to keep a player in the NBA’s G-League, a minor-style league used to develop talent, but also gives them the opportunity to call a player up to the NBA if needed. This is big news for Rice, as he now has a direct path to play in the NBA while still staying very close to Austin. The shooting guard will also play in the Summer League with Victor Wenbanyama, whom the Spurs drafted with the number one overall pick and is seen as one of the best prospects of all time.

Carr and Allen both signed Summer League contracts just one day after the draft, with Allen playing for the Memphis Grizzlies and Carr playing for the Phoenix Suns. Summer League contracts gives the players a team to play with in the pre-season and grants them the opportunity to be signed by any team once the league finishes. Though neither Carr nor Allen received a full offer, a good showing in the Summer League could grant them a two-way contract similar to the one Rice signed.

Sir’Jabari Rice to the San Antonio Spurs

Rice spent his first four years at New Mexico State before transferring to Texas in his final year of eligibility. Rice won the Sixth Man of the Year award in the Big 12 while averaging 13 points per game and shooting over 37% from the three point line. Rice scored over 10 points in all four of the Longhorns NCAA tournament games, including a 23-point performance against Colgate to secure Texas’ first round victory. 

The shooting guard brings a lot of value to the young Spurs roster as he enters the league with experience in leadership and a skill set that translates very well to the NBA. Rice was one of, if not the best, shooters for the Longhorns and can fit the role of “3 and D” which has become very popular in the NBA because of his length and defensive ability. Rice also possesses one of the best pump fakes in all of basketball, often faking out defenders for an easy drive or shot. Rice likely won’t see much NBA action in year one, but the 6-foot-4-inch guard has a lot to give to a team on the come up like the San Antonio Spurs.

Timmy Allen to the Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies will be receiving a versatile and veteran leader in Allen, who stayed with Texas during his extra year of eligibility as a super senior this past season with one year at Texas under his belt already. The forward started in all 69 games across two seasons as a Longhorn and was recently named the only active NCAA Division I player to obtain at least 2,000 points, 900 rebounds and 400 assists in his college career. As for his chances at getting a top spot on the Grizzlies roster, Allen might have to step up his 3-point shooting, as Memphis currently has eight young players under contract for next season that’ll be competing for the spotlight.

Marcus Carr to the Phoenix Suns

Carr spent his last two seasons in Austin, averaging nearly 14 points per game as a Longhorn and leading the team in assists for both years. Carr joins a Phoenix Suns organization that is loaded with talent, but lacks young role players to assist their “super team.” Carr brings high energy, leadership and basketball IQ to the table for the Suns as one of the most experienced point guards coming out of college. Carr is an excellent passer and was in the top five in assists, scoring and steals in the Big 12, proving that he can be one of the best all around point guards. Standing at just 6-foot-2-inches could cause problems for him defensively, but if he is able to stay an unselfish playmaker, he has a great chance of landing a promising spot.