The expectations may be at an all-time low for the Texas Longhorns this season. Most of their team from the 2012-13 season is no longer on the roster, a new AD could spell doom for head coach Rick Barnes and almost nobody is expecting the Longhorns basketball team to be a serious threat in the Big 12. But one reason to like this Texas squad is big man Cameron Ridley. The sophomore center is locked in and ready for a big season in 2013-14.
When Ridley committed to Texas, he was considered a huge get for Barnes and the Longhorns program. But during his freshman season, Ridley struggled to stay on the court. He averaged just 16.4 minutes per game and managed only 4.1 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. He just couldn’t seem to consistently deliver on his potential, though when he was on, Ridley became a beast in the paint. Part of the problem may have been the young center didn’t know how to approach his game.
This season, coaches say that Ridley has zeroed in on his strengths and is prepared to play to those more readily this season. Specifically, Ridley has focused on rebounding and should be a major force on the glass. Reports are that the big man, listed at 285 pounds, is in much better shape this season as well. If he can add a bit of athleticism to his massive frame, he’s going to provide much-needed presence down low for Texas this season.
He won’t be able to take over games on his own, however. He’ll need some help to get set up with easy buckets and some putbacks on the offensive glass. A major piece of how much Ridley improves this season will be the be the play of guard Javan Felix on the perimeter. If he can consistently hit shots and distribute the ball to Ridley in the post, it’ll allow the big man to flow in the offense without having to create for himself or navigate a crowded post area.
For Texas, the outlook may not be all that bright for the basketball program, but Ridley has an opportunity to shine in 2013-14.