The Texas Longhorns again are one of the youngest teams in all of college basketball, but the experience they do have has proved to be a difference in all three games so far in the early going of the 2013 season. In the 72-62 victory over the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at the Frank Erwin Center, it was a combination of outstanding play from DeMarcus Holland, clutch shots from Jonathan Holmes and a first-tier performance on both sides of the ball from sophomore power forward Connor Lammert.
Texas had an obvious size advantage against SFA and largely failed to take advantage of it with Cam Ridley and Prince Ibeh having only one point between them and ceding the majority of the minutes to Lammert as his production overall was better on the evening. At times the Texas offense looked solid and in rhythm and at other times looked disjointed and lost.
If there’s a quick way to describe what Texas fans can expect to see from this exceedingly young team this season it’s just that– moments of brilliance bookended by long stretches of struggle where it looks like there’s total uncertainty of the common goal. Where Texas struggled in 2012 was in being too dependent on individuals to do what individuals do instead of working together in the greater team concept, the goal is to avoid the same in 2013.
If nothing else, it’s obvious this Texas team has some heart and resiliency. All three wins so far in the early part of the non-conference schedule, over Mercer, over South Alabama and this evening over SFA required the Longhorns to stay the course and play with some grit to eventually claw their way to a lead late in the contest that could not be overcome. This Texas team doesn’t have nearly the level of talent across the board this season they have in years’ past, so if consistent wins are to become a reality it’s going to take gritty performances night-in and night-out.
The tone of these types of performances will be set by the upperclassmen, guys like Lammert, Holland, Holmes and Javan Felix, who on this team are the elder statesmen. The freshmen will look to their example and how that example is presented as the going continues to get tougher as 2014 approaches could tell a great deal as to whether this Texas team makes the post-season around next March.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.