It was a huge weekend for Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns. Smart got his first key win as the head coach of the Longhorns, and he did it at the best possible time, with a few key recruits in attendance.
Now Smart is reaping the benefits of that win combined with some very hard work as five-star point guard Andrew Jones has picked the Longhorns over schools such as Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, and others.
While Smart already landed one key recruit for Texas in four-star top 50 prospect James Banks, and also landed a quality in-state pledge in four-star top 100 prospect Jacob Young, this commitment means a little extra.
After missing out on players he targeted early such as De’Aaron Fox, Marques Bolden, and Terrance Ferguson, but wasn’t able to land any of those in-state five-stars. Now however he has the first one and it is a key player in Jones.
Jones comes from the Dallas area, a place that Texas hasn’t always had the automatic recruiting success that some would think, and also he plays for a high profile AAU team, and is a well liked kid across the state.
By landing him, Smart can now point to Jones and tell other kids in the state that it is okay to go to Texas. By the end of the Rick Barnes era at the school, it almost became easy for kids to not go to Texas because so many before them had either left the state all together or gone to other programs within the borders.
Now with Jones in the fold that momentum could change, and there is no doubt that Smart will keep his eyes in the state to try and close out a monster 2016 class.
That of course would mean landing five-star center Jarrett Allen. Allen goes to high school virtually in the shadow of Texas’ campus, and recently made a visit to Austin. The general thought has been that Texas needs to make up some ground to schools like Houston, Kentucky, and maybe even Kansas to land Allen.
Still the added time of Allen waiting until the spring, combined with some good vibes coming in-state could help the Longhorns chances with their top remaining priority.
After a slow start to in-state recruiting, Smart now has some momentum with Jones, and if he can keep it going there will be a lot of excitement in Austin for what exactly might happen with this program.