With Shaka Smart gone, and Chris Beard now officially introduced as the new Texas Longhorns head basketball coach, rumors are beginning to fly in terms of roster turnover, staff hires, and recruiting interest
Under new head coach Chris Beard, the Longhorns recruiting momentum will need to hit the ground running, and attempt to salvage what is left of an already decimated roster.
Stick with Longhorns Country for all of the latest basketball updates below:
APRIL 13, 8:40 AM UPDATE: Texas Longhorns senior guard Jase Febres announced his intentions to return for one final season in Austin on Monday night, marking the first win for Chris Beard in terms of roster turnover.
Feres announced his decision on Instagram and will be using the COVID-19 eligibility rule to extend his playing career.
Last season, the senior averaged 5.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game for the Longhorns, making just 13 appearances.
With the losses Texas has suffered throughout the roster, however, Febres is likely to see his role increase to what it was in the previous two seasons under Shaka Smart, where he played an average of 30.4 minutes per game in 2019 and 27.1 minutes per game in 2018.
In those two seasons, Frebres averaged 9.1 points per game and shot 37.3-percent from three.
APRIL 9, NOON UPDATE: Texas Longhorns sophomore guard Donovan Williams has become the latest Longhorn to transfer from the 40 Acres, pledging his commitment to the University of Nevada Las Vegas on Friday.
Williams is the second Longhorn to pick the Rebels as his destination, after senior Royce Hamm committed to the Rebels on April 3.
A coveted recruit coming out of Houston Texas in the 2019 recruiting class, Williams never found his footing under former head coach Shaka Smart, averaging just 3.3 points over 41 appearances and just one start in two seasons with the Longhorns.
Williams' best game of the season came in the Longhorns 80-79 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in Austin on January 26, when he scored 11 points on 5-10 shooting in 20 minutes of action.
APRIL 7, 8:45 AM UPDATE: The Texas Longhorns lost another member of the 2020-21 roster on Tuesday, when junior forward Kamaka Hepa entered the NCAA Transfer Portal as a grad transfer.
A former Gatorade Player of the Year for two different states (Alaska and Oregon), Hepa was one of the key team leaders for the Longhorns but never found his footing under Shaka Smart on the floor, averaging just 2.9 points and one rebound 6.4 minutes per game.
Hepa's time on the floor actually decreased every year during his time in Austin, playing 28 games his freshman season, 23 games his sophomore season, and just nine this past season.
Hepa's best game of the year came in the Longhorns 82-67 win over Kansas State on January 16, when he stepped for a COVID affected Texas roster, and scored 15 points in 26 minutes on 5-of-9 shooting.
APRIL 4, 8 AM UPDATE: The recruiting fall out from the exit of Shaka Smart continued for the Texas Longhorns on Saturday evening, when talented forward David Joplin asked for a release from his letter of intent.
“After a lot of discussion with my family I have decided to request a release from my letter of intent with the University of Texas Men’s Basketball team,” Joplin tweeted.
Joplin is the second Longhorn signee to ask for his release, following the same request from IMG Academy guard Tamar Bates on March 29th.
Following the exits of Joplin and Bates, the Longhorns 2021 recruiting class is down to just two players, in combo guard Emarion Ellis, and forward Keeyan Itejere.
APRIL 3, 6 PM UPDATE: Former Texas Longhorns forward Royce Hamm Jr. has officially found a new home after entering the transfer portal on March 23rd, selecting UNLV as his school of choice.
Disgruntled at his lack of playing time under former head coach Shaka Smart, Hamm's search for an increased playing time and a bigger role now takes him to the Group of Five, where the Rebels went 12-15 and finished sixth in the Mountain West Conference.
Hamm Jr. averaged 1.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and averaged 52.8-percent from the floor for the Longhorns this past season.
APRIL 2, 1 PM UPDATE: After cutting his list of top schools down to just five, elite frontcourt prospect Charles Bediako has added the Longhorns to his finalists, alongside a quartet of elite programs.
The 6-foot-11 215-pound big from IMG Academy is one of the top players at his position in the country and is known for his elite wingspan and his abilities as a shot-blocker and rebounder. Bediako also has skills in the paint but will need to improve in that area as he develops.
Bediako also listed Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, and Duke in his top-five, but is thought to be leaning Alabama at this point.
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