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

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October 4, 2022

Texas men’s basketball brings new faces to the Forty Acres, prepares for SEC entrance

Joy Li
Mens basketball coach Rodney Terry on March 27, 2023.

Following a lukewarm final season in the Big 12, Texas men’s basketball is starting fresh with a new arsenal of transfers and signees, as well as new additions to the coaching staff. 

Leaving the 2023-24 season ranked No. 7 in the Big 12 conference and No. 30 nationally, the Longhorns had a short-lived March Madness run, with a 58-62 loss to Tennessee in the second round. Several players proceeded to hit the transfer portal or move on to the NBA draft, leaving holes in the team’s roster. 

Head coach Rodney Terry has since filled in the gaps. Replacing players took shape in recruiting both incoming freshmen and players from the transfer portal. Senior point guard Julian Larry and senior small forward Jayson Kent both announced their transfers to Texas from Indiana State in April, with senior shooting guard Tramon Mark making the move from Arkansas. Junior point guard Jordan Pope was the lead scorer two years in a row at Oregon State before making the switch to Texas, and sophomore guard Malik Presley is returning to Texas soil after playing for Vanderbilt his freshman year.

Incoming freshmen forward and center Jamie Vinson, power forward Nic Codie and shooting guard Tre Johnson are slated to make a big splash in the upcoming season. Vinson was ranked as the No. 26 center in his class by Rivals, while Codie was named a top-ranked player in the 2024 Texas class by 247 Sports. Johnson seems to carry the biggest weight of his recruiting class. Named the fourth-ranked player nationally in his class by ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports, Johnson’s career may be short, but fulfilling, as he is already listed as the No. 12 overall pick in ESPN’s 2025 NBA Mock Draft. 

New players aren’t Texas basketball’s only change. Darby Rich was recently hired as the new strength and conditioning coach, backed by a long resume. Rich has been coaching collegiate basketball since 1993, making his debut as assistant coach at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Over the years, he has coached at Sam Houston State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Memphis and Texas Tech before being welcomed as the newest addition to the Texas men’s basketball coaching staff.

With joining the SEC, Texas has a number of notable teams with exceptional transfer classes to watch out for.

Arkansas currently tops the list of premier transfer classes, recently taking the title from Kansas. New head coach John Calipari brought over a wave of transfers to Arkansas, with two following him from his previous position at Kentucky. Fifth-year senior Johnell Davis is ranked as the No. 3 transfer in the portal from Florida Atlantic and will be a player for the Longhorns to keep their eyes on.

Alabama has the second-highest ranked recruiting class with three four-star signees and one five-star player in incoming freshman small forward Derrion Reid. Reid is ranked No. 16 in his class. He and other freshman recruits, power forward Aiden Sherrell, point guard Labaron Philon and small forward Naas Cunningham, will raise Alabama’s threat at an alarming rate. 

Texas already experienced a close loss against Tennessee and will now have to face them again at home. Head coach Rick Barnes is the main contributor to the Volunteers’ success, being the most decorated coach in Tennessee school history and now entering his 10th season at the school and his 38th as a head coach.

The final loss to Tennessee, while leaving much to be desired, gave an invaluable taste of the new challenges that a new conference comes with. With a lot of offseason work and changes, the Longhorns can maintain hope that they will find their ground in a brand-new atmosphere.

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About the Contributor
Joy Li, Senior Photographer
Joy Li is a freshman business major from Houston, Texas and serves as a Senior Photographer.