• Top basketball recruit Julius Randle on hand for embarrassing Texas performance

    Saturday’s thoroughly humiliating 73-47 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, in which the Longhorns barely shot over 20% from the field and totaled three assists the entire game, was
    enough to make any Texas fan fall into a deep depression. But the embarrassment didn’t end there.

    Julius Randle, the No. 1 basketball recruit in the state of Texas, and the No. 2 recruit in the entire country, according to rivals.com, was in attendance -- as a visitor for the Jayhawks.

    It was the second time in less than two weeks that Randle watched the Longhorns get embarrassed. The 6-foot-9 forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy visited Texas on Feb. 9 and watched the Longhorns shoot 39 percent from the field and 5.6 percent from the three-point line in a 72-59 loss to Oklahoma State.

    Randle, who is already being projected as an NBA lottery pick, claims that Texas’ struggles this season won’t affect his decision, and true to form, the Longhorns remain on his short list. But it’s hard to imagine such a top-notch prospect declining offers from the likes of Kentucky, Kansas and Florida to save a drowning Texas program.

    The Longhorns have only one basketball commit so far, lightly touted point guard Isaiah Taylor from The Village School in Houston. Randle would be a huge boon to the class and could help lure other prospects to Austin, but the chances of landing the recruit after performances like this one seem slim at best.

  • NFL Combine the test Manti Te’o needs

    Notre Dame inside linebacker and eHarmony’s worst nightmare, Manti Te’o, will be among the draft-eligible players participating in the NFL Combine later this week in Indianapolis. It is at this event that players provide NFL teams a further look at what talent they have to offer. Out of any of the other players entering the draft, perhaps Te’o needs this event the most.

    After being at the center of one of the strangest news stories of the modern sports era, Te’o will be able to participate in an event that calls only for his physical prowess. At the NFL Combine he won’t need to answer any questions about his personal life. No microphones. Just clipboards and stopwatches.

    The Heisman runner-up has a steeper hill to climb than the other participants. He not only has to impress but impress to the point where a team will consider it worthwhile to take a chance on a player with psychological baggage. NFL teams have taken players with issues of personal conduct. Dallas decided it would be worth it to assign wide receiver Dez Bryant personal bodyguards to keep him out of trouble. But an organization cannot regulate the mental state of its players. Aside from possible counseling, there is not much an organization can do to ensure Te’o is mentally prepared for the life of a professional athlete.

    Either way Te’o is portrayed from the fake girlfriend hoax, the victim or possible conspirator, the persona that results is not one any upper management would feel comfortable having in their locker room.

    For one, players in the NFL receive lots of attention. In addition to a possible lucrative income, how would he be able to handle that?

    Let’s not forget about the other players in the locker room. Imagine the potential hazing Te’o would receive. I can already almost hear the rapid typing of ridiculous profiles to request friendship on draft day. With the finances his future teammates would have access to, I can’t imagine what else they might have in store for him.

    But the most important concern deals with whether he will be mentally prepared to go through the strains of training camp, learn the defensive plays and study the strategies and aspects of professional offenses. These tasks will not be well done by Te’o, who is still distressed and distracted by the past.

    These are all concerns that NFL teams will have to consider when evaluating Te’o. But an impressive outing at the combine would minimize these concerns. Talent has always been the main priority when it comes to drafting players, and this will work to his advantage.

    Showing that his mind is focused and his performance unaffected would keep Te’o from falling out of the first round, and it would be the first step in leaving the hoax behind.