Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

The Tre Johnson era is coming for Texas men’s basketball

Kennedy Weatherby
Head basketball coach Rodney Terry yells at his players during Texas’ game against OSU on March 2, 2024.

Fresh off a 2023-24 season that, on its face, looks like a forgettable farewell to the Big 12, all eyes are on Texas men’s basketball head coach Rodney Terry ahead of his second full year at the helm.

As it stands, the team currently lacks an alpha. Gone are leading scorers Dylan Disu and Max Abmas. Rising senior Tyrese Hunter is headed to Memphis, and rising junior Dillon Mitchell appears primed for either the NBA or a school far from Austin. 

Terry, to his credit, has been proactive, snagging a pair of Indiana State transfers in Julian Larry and Jayson Kent, as well as his biggest add thus far in Tramon Mark, a microwave wing from Arkansas. The Longhorns don’t appear to be finished in the portal, either, with Oregon State guard Jordan Pope committing on Wednesday, and Oklahoma State center Brandon Garrison and Air Force forward Rytis Petraitis both linked to Texas.

Through all the addition and subtraction, the Longhorns still lack star power. But they might have found it in incoming freshman Tre Johnson, who, at just 18 years old, may be tasked with stamping Texas basketball as a prominent force in the SEC.

Johnson enters as a consensus five-star recruit and is easily Terry’s biggest addition on the recruiting front. The Dallas, Texas native starred for Lake Highlands High School for three years, leading them to a state championship and garnering Texas Mr. Basketball honors before transferring to Link Academy in Missouri for his senior year.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he will step into Texas and be able to help lead them to a good seed in the NCAA Tournament, possibly an SEC Championship,” Link Academy head coach Bill Armstrong said. “Tre’s a guy that, you get into the tournament, he’s a guy that can go win you two or three games on his own. He’s that talented.”

Link Academy, through just three full years as a program, has quickly become a powerhouse in the national high school basketball landscape, winning the Men’s GEICO National Championship in 2023. It boasts a professional pedigree, with current NBA rookies Julian Phillips and Jordan Walsh both Link Academy products and a third on the way in projected 2024 first-round pick Ja’Kobe Walter out of Baylor.

While heading to a premier prep school to further his basketball career was the logical choice, it likely wasn’t an easy one, as Johnson had to leave behind his father, Richard Johnson Jr., an assistant coach at Lake Highlands and lifelong mentor.

“There was certainly some adjustment there, I’m sure,” Armstrong said. “But, I think that was what’s best for Tre’s basketball career decision, for lack of a better way to put it.”

As a player, Johnson oozes SEC Freshman of the Year potential as a big wing with gifted scoring, knockdown shooting and an improving game off-the-ball and as a facilitator. Armstrong recalled a recent double-overtime win over Prolific Prep where Johnson, whose shot wasn’t falling, stepped up as a playmaker.

“I give him all the credit, he came up to me at halftime and was just like, ‘I can’t get free off the ball, let me play the point [guard], I’ll make the right read, they’re gonna put two guys on me when I come off ball screens,’” Armstrong said. “That’s what we went with in the second half and it ended up paying off for us — he had nine assists that game, which is a career high, at least at Link.”

It may be a brief career at Texas for Johnson, who has long been viewed as a blue-chip NBA talent and is slotted at No. 8 overall in ESPN’s 2025 NBA Mock Draft. However, it’s not difficult to envision him immediately slotting in as a starter and possibly the Longhorns’ leading scorer ahead of a pivotal 2025 season for the program.

“You’re not gonna find a harder worker than him and his commitment to success in basketball,”

Armstrong said. “From everything I can tell and have heard and in talking to him, he’s been both feet in from day one when he made that decision to go to Texas.”

More to Discover