It’s been a little over a week after the Texas Longhorns lost in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitation mercifully ending this debacle of a season, and now more bad news is coming out of Austin: The team’s leading scorer has elected to transfer out of the program.
It is being reported that Sheldon McClellan won’t return to the team next season. This news isn’t completely unexpected, as it’s clear that the sophomore and head coach Rick Barnes had a strenuous relationship this season which resulted in McClellan spending a lot of time on the bench. Some games, he would play nearly 40 minutes, but the next he would see less than one minute of action if any at all. Some argue that McClellan’s work ethic led to these benchings, while others argue that Barnes was unjustly too hard on him–which has been a knock on the coach for several years.
McClellan led the Longhorns this year in total points, scoring 460 over the season and averaging 13.5 points per game (2nd on the team), despite his inconsistent minutes.
This news comes ten days after the announcement that fellow sophomore, Jaylen Bond, was transferring and a week after the Longhorns, once a lock to land highly sought after recruit Julius Randle, committed instead to the Kentucky Wildcats amid rumors that some of the players on the Texas roster told him to stay away.
The frustrating part of this for fans is that many believed the Longhorns could be headed in the right direction this season. For the first time in years, it appeared that this team, the youngest in the nation, would not be losing any stars to the NBA. Therefore, it was believed that the nucleus of this young team would stick around, grow together, and develop into a serious contender over the next few seasons; sadly, however, that is clearly not going to happen.
Instead, things are looking worse for the program than they have in over two decades. To make matters worse, all signs point to next season being even worse for this Texas team that finished the season below .500; Barnes is certainly going to have his work cut out for him if he hopes to make this team competitive again.
At this point, it would take a miracle.