Texas Longhorns sophomore guard Javan Felix played an enormous role in the surprising 24-11 season the Horns displayed after being projected to finish in the bottom third of the Big 12. Felix provided the scoring edge Texas needed from the bench, and his productivity dramatically improved in comparison to his freshman season as a starter. At times Felix became the go-to scorer with his elusive style that brings back memories of a former Longhorn, J’Covan Brown.
After single-handedly carrying the Horns to multiple victories in what was a grueling schedule, Felix proved that every extra year in Austin will show his game to take the next step as he did last season. As for what head coach Rick Barnes can expect from Felix next season, it appears to be a toss up between success and failure depending on how the 5-foot-11 guard handles the transition of where Texas basketball is going.
First of all comes the outcome Felix will show if he handles the re-emergence of the basketball in Austin with a team-first attitude, which Barnes sought to instill in this young group before the season kicked off. During his sophomore campaign, Felix shot a total of 388 field goals, 20 more than the next man up, freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor. Between the development of the young players, the explosive incoming freshman Jordan Barnett, the potential addition of the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit, Myles Turner and the fact that Texas has now become Taylor’s team, Felix will undoubtedly have a much shorter leash offensively.
If Javan can embrace the change, play a role off of the bench and become a leader, his role on the team can become that much more impactful.
On the other hand, he can stray away from the direction Barnes is taking the team and simply play for himself while heaving up as many shots as possible. Of course with the development that he will see over the course of the offseason, he will likely make a considerable percentage of the shots, but Barnes simply cannot have selfishness on what could possibly become his deepest and most talented team during his tenure at Texas. In this case, Felix could find himself on the bench much more often before conference play begins.
As for what will likely happen during his junior season, I think a slight mixture of the two will be seen. Once the season starts, Felix will test the waters on how much freedom he will get offensively, and if it takes away from the progression of the team and he loses minutes, the further into the season we go, the more he will accept the role given to him in order to find minutes. Either way, Texas has a lot of young talent in the backcourt, and Felix must adjust to become a major contributor yet again.