It was a breakout sophomore season for Cameron Ridley. The sophomore center averaged 11.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the floor. Power forwards Connor Lammert and Jonathan Holmes averaged 18.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per combined, and then there is still the presence of shot blocking Prince Ibeh who in limited minutes proved to be someone who can protect the rim.
Now the Longhorns add 6-foot-11 Myles Turner into the fold. That gives the Longhorns arguably a frontcourt that is as deep and as talented as the one in Lexington.
The question then becomes, how can the pieces all fit together. The only position Turner, Ibeh, and Ridley can play is center. Ridley and Turner struggle to move their feet laterally limiting who they can guard, and Ibeh is someone who can't play outside of the paint on offense, and is best protecting the rim on defense.
Lammert and Holmes both can stretch the floor a little bit from the power forward position, but each lacks the ball handling ability and defensive quickness to defend a true wing.
So in turn there are five people who will combine for 80 available minutes. What is very interesting is that Turner is not likely to come off the floor very often given his game changing ability, but by that same token Ridley is one of the best, if not the best, returning bigs in the entire Big XII.
Traditionally Rick Barnes has played man-to-man. The Longhorns have taken pride in their man-to-man defense, but in order to get Turner and Ridley on the floor at the same time, a zone will need to be played since each player really struggles to defend in ball screen situations.
By going zone, at least to some extent Texas can play Holmes at the small forward position, though the floor would be crowded because while Holmes and Turner are capable shooters, neither is an elite level three point shooter, and both have to be set in order to make shots from deep.
Going with a "jumbo lineup" can be difficult in this day and age of college basketball where going small is all the rage to add shooting and create mismatches.
Having too many bodies is a good problem for a coach to have, but none the less it is something that has to be addressed. Barnes and his staff will no doubt be working on creative ways to utilize the abundance of frontcourt talent that they have on their roster this year in order to create mismatches in their favor instead of against them.
It will be very interesting to see how Turner fits into this puzzle. Texas has a boat load of talent, and competition will be fierce in practice. It isn't going to be simple to make Ridley and Turner work on the floor at the same time, but that is now the task Barnes and his staff will work on in preparation of the season to come.