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NCAA Basketball Big 12 BasketballTexas Longhorns

A Very Early Texas Basketball Preview: Cameron Ridley

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rather seldom in today’s college basketball, which has become infamous for “one-and-done” players, to see a former McDonalds All-American return for their junior season. Luckily for Rick Barnes and his Texas Longhorns, Cameron Ridley strayed away from the modern trend and will return to a once again relevant basketball program in Austin.

During his sophomore campaign, Ridley doubled his freshmen year rebound average of 4.3 to 8.2, along with his scoring contribution significantly growing from 4.1 per game as a freshman to 11.2 last season. This left Ridley nearly averaging a double-double in the battlefield that was the Big 12 with stiff competition on a nightly basis. He defense also became a factor as well, with 76 blocks and 18 steals on the season.

So, what can the Longhorns expect out of Ridley for the upcoming season? Quite a lot in my opinion when you consider the substantial improvements he showed between his first two season. After taking the huge step of becoming a leader on the court, Ridley’s upside now falls on how much he can shape his arsenal in the coming months.

So, let’s get started with what you should expect from Ridley in 2014-15. The 6-foot-9 big man has shown us how much control he can have over the paint at any given time, both offensively and defensively. The primary thing his game seemed to lack was overall athleticism, which a dedicated offseason and the work ethic of Ridley should counteract.

As the most notable veteran on the Longhorns, who has proven himself against nearly every defense thrown at him last season, an upgrade in athleticism will allow Ridley to completely dominate his competition in the future. After becoming more of an athletic threat, Ridley will become a much more aggressive defender, rebounder and post scorer, and with the depth Texas will have in the paint next season, this will be more than enough from Ridley to lead the Horns’ to a Big 12 Championship.

Cody Daniel is a Big 12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.