One day after sophomore forward Jaylen Bond announced his plans to transfer from Texas, the Longhorns secured a commitment from Class of 2013 shooting guard DeMarcus Croaker, according to a report by ESPN.
Croaker, a four-star prospect, according to rivals.com, is a 6-foot-3 guard from Jones High School in Orlando, Fla. and had initially made a verbal commitment to play for the Murray State Racers this coming fall. However, because Croaker made his commitment during the early signing period he was not bound by signing a National Letter of Intent and was easily able to switch his commitment to Texas. Croaker paid a visit to Texas in early March after decommitting from Murray State and was in Austin for the Longhorns’ 79-70 win over Baylor in their final home game of the season.
With Bond’s transfer freeing up another scholarship, the Longhorns have had their eye on a number of shooting guards, including Dallas Kimball’s Keith Fraizer. While Croaker isn’t ranked as high nationally as Frazier, he possesses some of the same qualities that Rick Barnes and his staff look for in incoming freshman. Croaker has shown a propensity for putting opposing players on posters by way of massive dunks and smooth passing in the lane. He can finish with authority and his calling card seems to be throwing down alley-oops in transition. His long arms also allow him to get out on the perimeter and alter shots and get out on the break quickly. Croaker’s outside shot is still developing, but he is yet another in a long line of Barnes’ recruits who can score at will and in a number of different ways. He’s shown a quick first step and plenty of bounce to warrant an offer from the Longhorns. He should fit in nicely to Barnes’ defense-first approach and help carry some of the scoring load if he is asked to early on in his career.
After a year in which Barnes played six freshman, Croaker could compete for playing time immediately. With Javan Felix in line to take over ball handling duties that frees up time and space for rangy guards like Croaker, DeMarcus Holland and Julien Lewis to see extended action on the court. Croaker could pressure the likes of Sheldon McLellan for playing time as well if McLellan starts slumping like he did at times this season.
Texas may receive more good news soon with the nation’s No. 1 power forward, Julius Randle, set to announce his college decision Wednesday afternoon. Randle has whittled down his final options to a list of four schools: Kansas, Kentucky, Florida and Texas.