As if the Texas Longhorns weren’t already loaded enough in the paint, Maryland transfer Shaquille Cleare just congested the frontcourt a bit more. Of course Cleare will have to sit out during his inaugural season as a Longhorn, but he will still have two years of eligibility for head coach Rick Barnes after that.
In the same recruiting class that featured prominent centers such as Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Austin and now fellow Longhorn Cameron Ridley, Cleare committed to Maryland as the No. 30 overall prospect. After being overshadowed by the glorified Alex Len during his freshman campaign, Cleare never really had the chance to showcase his skills as he averaged only 12 minutes per game as a freshman and 13.8 minutes per game as a sophomore.
So what can Cleare bring to the Texas during his time in Austin? Well outside of the fact he will have to ride the pine his first season, he can actually bring a lot in terms of how he is utilized in practice. At 6-foot-9, 265 pounds, Cleare is a load in the paint as is Ridley. For the eligible Longhorn big men such as Ridley, Prince Ibeh, Connor Lammert, Jonathan Holmes and quite possibly, Myles Turner, having the extra big body in the paint to compete against daily will give Texas an advantage in experience for the season.
Then once he becomes eligible, Cleare could step in and fill the shoes of a Ridley or Holmes the following season and ensure Texas is one step ahead as far as having talented post players with experience. Only time will tell how great or miniscule his impact on the program will be, but with his undeniable talent and Barnes’ ability to develop great post players, Cleare defiantly has a bright future in Austin.