Chris Beard had an incredible first offseason as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, and he said his team has an unusual identity going into the season.
“We have a lot of experience, but we’re the first to tell you we’re really inexperienced playing together,” Beard said on Wednesday at Big 12 Media Day. “It’s experienced inexperience, if that makes any sense.”
Why? Well, Beard took over Texas after the departure of Shaka Smart, who left the program after leading the Longhorns to a 19-8 season, during which the Longhorns won the Big 12 Tournament for the first time. But the NCAA Tournament did not go the way the Longhorns hoped, as they lost to Abilene Christian in the first round.
That led to Smart’s departure to Marquette. The Longhorns hired away Beard, a Texas alum who led the program at Texas Tech, to replace him. By the time Beard arrived, several players had already transferred away and three forwards — Kai Jones, Greg Brown III and Jericho Sims — were either already on their way to the NBA or making a decision. All three were selected in the NBA Draft, while guard Matt Coleman III left early and was cut after the preseason.
So, Beard inherits a wealth of experience at Texas in the backcourt with two of the league’s most talented guards in Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey Jr. Texas also has Jase Febres in the backcourt.
But Beard worked the transfer market to bolster the frontcourt, luring experienced, high-talent players like Minnesota guard Marcus Carr, Utah forward Timmy Allen and UMass forward Tre Mitchell, among others. The trio should end up in the starting lineup on opening night.
The Longhorns have incredible depth, including top recruit Jaylon Tyson, a forward who followed Beard from Texas Tech.
But Beard is eager to hit the floor in the regular season because, well, he hasn’t seen this whole group play together against other teams and he won’t for another couple of weeks.
Carr was named the All-Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Carr was also selected to the preseason First Team, while Jones was named honorable mention. The coaches selected the Longhorns No. 2 in the Big 12 Preseason Poll.
The Longhorns open the regular season at home on Nov. 9 against Houston Baptist.
Heartland College Sports Big 12 Basketball Preview
Top 25 Returning Players: No. 25 Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua| No. 24 Christian Braun | No. 23 Rondel Walker | No. 22 Umoja Gibson | No. 21 Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe | No. 20 Nijel Pack | No. 19: Marcus Santos-Silva | No. 18 Mike McGuirl| No. 17 Jalen Bridges | No. 16 Kalib Boone | No. 15 Kevin McCullar | No. 14 Isaac Likekele | No. 13 Adam Flagler | No. 12 Jalen Coleman-Lands | No. 11 Sean McNeil | No. 10 Taz Sherman
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
**Want to win a $20 gift card? Go sign up here and join our conversation! The best poster each week wins a gift card to your favorite establishment!**