Texas sophomore forward Jaylen Bond announced his intentions to transfer Monday. He will not play in the College Basketball Invitational.
The Philadelphia product averaged 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game this season. He missed 11 of the Longhorns’ first 12 games with a left foot injury and played more than 15 minutes only six times this year.
“While this was a difficult decision to make, I feel it is the right one for me at this time,” Bond said. “I want to thank everyone who played a part in allowing me the privilege to attend The University of Texas. This starts with the coaching staff, my fellow teammates and the educational staff who have helped me during the past two years. They have taught me a lot, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this program.”
Bond becomes the second player to transfer from Texas in as many seasons. Point guard Sterling Gibbs transferred to Seton Hall after one year with the Longhorns.
After scoring 3.4 points and grabbing 4.6 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game and starting five times as a freshman last year, Bond started only twice this season.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to continue playing in the postseason and take minutes away from my teammates who are returning,” Bond said. “Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me while I was here.”
Despite missing out on the NCAA tournament for the first time in 14 years, Texas head coach Rick Barnes was upbeat about playing in the College Basketball Invitational, the third-tier tournament that might not sound overly familiar to many Texas fans used to playing in a field of 68, not 16.
Speaking to the media Monday afternoon, Barnes was adamant that accepting the invite to the CBI was the right decision, saying that any competitive individual wants to play regardless of the situation. His message was that with a team as young as Texas, any experience is good experience.
"I think every possible experience that we can put these guys in, whether it's going on the road to play games, we need to do that," Barnes said. "And to be where we want to be, you have to be able to win anywhere."
When asked whether he felt that more games for Myck Kabongo might give the sophomore point guard a better opportunity to showcase his skills and declare for the NBA draft, Barnes was steadfast, if not realistic. "If that's what happens that's fine," he said, continuing to emphasize that the reason for playing in the CBI is to give the young players a taste of postseason play, which is important for a young team without a lot of experience.
Barnes did say that he was unable to watch the NCAA selection show Sunday night. "It's hard not being a part of it, it's hard not watching it … my thoughts are that I don't want to be in this situation again in any way, shape or form."
On a lighter note, Barnes felt that it was great for Austin (which he called the best city in America) to be hosting the second and third rounds of the NCAA tournament, saying it should be a "wonderful experience" and that "people in Texas do love basketball." He did go on to say that the Frank Erwin Center suffers as a basketball arena due to the lack of adequate parking. "A building that size should probably have a minimum of 5,000 surface parking lots. It has under 400."
Whether that would fill the often sparsely populated Erwin Center is up for debate.
When it comes to the possibility of Texas facing Texas A&M on the gridiron again, it may not be a matter of if it will happen but when it will happen.
Men’s athletics director DeLoss Dodds said he believes the Longhorns and Aggies will eventually renew their rivalry but a period of time to allow animosities to subside would be needed.
“I think we'll play sometime,” Dodds said. “I don't know when it will happen or how it will happen, but I'm sure it will happen.”
In their last meeting, the Longhorns beat the Aggies 27-25 at Kyle Field on Thanksgiving Day in 2011 after Justin Tucker hit a game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired. That was the 118th and final time the two rivals squared off before Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC.
“They left,” Dodds said. “They're the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that's fair. If you did a survey of our fans about playing A&M, they don't want to. It's overwhelming. I know. I hear it. Our fans are important to us. I think there's got to be a period where things get different. I think there's too many hard feelings.”
Dodds weighs on Big 12’s pursuit of alliance with ACC
The college football landscape has shifted recently, especially in the Big 12, which lost Colorado to the Pac-10, Nebraska to the Big Ten and Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC in the last two years. But the Big 12 is now pursuing an alliance with the ACC that would facilitate both conferences to schedule games against each other every year and allow them to share TV revenue.
Could this alliance serve to not only benefit the Big 12 and ACC, but also to stabilize the college football landscape?
“If you walk through it, the Pac-12 truthfully has no place to go to pick up teams, except the Big 12,” Dodds said. “The SEC and the Big 10 can pick up teams but it's only probably the ACC teams, maybe the Big East. So they're the conference that could be under attack. And the alliance between the Big 12 and the ACC, I think, strengthens them. I think that the Notre Dames of the world, it would unite them a little bit, toughen them a little bit. Then I think it would be less likely that anyone could pick one of their schools up.”
Dodds believes Big 12 teams have ‘tougher road’ to national title game than SEC squads
Despite its recent struggles, Texas can still claim the last national championship won by a non-SEC team. The SEC has captured each of the last seven national titles, with Alabama winning three of the last four.
But now that the Big 12 has 10 teams, each of them plays the other nine every year. The conference’s champion, when the Big 12 had 12 teams, was decided by a conference title game. With the Big 12 down to 10 schools, there is no longer a conference championship and that’s just how Dodds likes it.
“I think if you get to 12, you'd probably have to do it because you don't play everybody,” Dodds said. “I think when you play everybody, having a championship game is a real advantage to the team that lost. Let's say you play the nine games and you beat Oklahoma and then you have the championship game and you play Oklahoma. That gives Oklahoma an edge. If you've got 12, you might have played them, but they'll be coming from the other division.”
Two years ago, previously unbeaten Oklahoma State was ranked No. 2 and seemed poise to represent the Big 12 in the national title game. But the Cowboys were upset by Iowa State in Ames in double overtime and had to settle for a Fiesta Bowl victory over Stanford.
Last season, it was Kansas State that would have reached the BCS National Championship if it had run the table. Instead, the Wildcats were crushed by Baylor in Waco, 52-24, last November and eventually fell to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
“It's hard to get out of it,” Dodds said of the Big 12’s round-robin schedule. “But if you get out of it, you're straight into the national championship. If you can go straight through our conference, it's a direct line to the national championship. In the SEC, Alabama hadn't play Georgia for four years. So there's maybe some advantages to it. They play some nonconference games late in the season that soften their schedule. The Big 12 is a tougher road to get there than the SEC because of their scheduling abilities.”
Many SEC teams schedule games against weak nonconference opponents late in the regular season to give themselves a break from the rigorous slate against SEC foes. Dodds said that something similar could happen in the Big 12.
“Our TV partner would like to see us play conference games early,” Dodds said. “So there's some windows in our package that are really weak because they're playing all nonconference games. So they want us to play a conference game up there, which would put a nonconference game down there, which is what our network wants.”
Even though your Longhorns are left out of the NCAA tourney this year, you still have the chance to win big.
Join our bracket pool — submissions are due Thursday — and see how you stand within the UT community. Winner gets a $20 gift card to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. You don't need to be a UT student to play, but you will need to come by the TSM building to pick up your prize once the dust settles and a winner is decided upon.