In what comes as a no surprise to Texas Longhorns fans, sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo has elected to make the jump to the NBA next season. His departure marks yet another in a long list of players leaving the program, and all but closes the door on hopes that the young team may improve next season.
In the last few weeks, the Longhorns hoops team has taken a huge hit. Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond announced that they would transferring out of the program, and there is lots of speculation that Julien Lewis isn’t far behind. Though most expected that Texas would finally benefit from a solid nucleus of young players remaining together for several seasons, clearly, that will not be the case and the Longhorns will be in rebuilding mode once again next season; however, they will not have this year’s top players to carry them into next year.
McClellan, Kabongo, and Lewis were the Horns’ top three scorers this season, and it was believed that Bond would be a big contributer next season. Now, the team is back to square one.
It’s clear that Kabongo, who missed most of the season after the NCAA declared him ineligible for accepting impermissible benefits and for lying to the Texas compliance office, has had one foot out the door all year. He could certainly benefit from another year in school, especially since most will tell you he is not ready for the NBA, but with all the turmoil going on with the program now, no one is surprised by his decision.
Needless to say, head-coach Rick Barnes is going to have his work cut out for him next year. Despite a terrible season which ended in a first round loss in the College Basketball Invitational and the fact that many of his star players are electing to leave the program, Barnes recently earned a one million dollar bonus. If he doesn’t go out and earn it next season, which appears to be next to impossible at this point, his days in Austin could (or should) be numbered.