Shaka Smart and his staff brought in a very strong class in 2016, and they are hoping to follow things up with another strong haul in 2017. Already the Longhorns have one commitment, and they remain involved with numerous other highly regarded prospects. Here is a look at where some of their top targets finished in the Scout.com top 100.
The lone commitment for Texas is power forward Royce Hamm. Hamm was already a four-star prospect, but found himself outside of the top 100, that has changed. Now Hamm is the No. 89 prospect. At that stage of the rankings 11 spots isn’t a huge jump, but Hamm’s combination of motor, athleticism, and production made him someone we felt that should be included at the back end of the rankings.
Some top in-state prospects for the Longhorns stayed steady in five-star range. P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt stayed at No. 14 and No. 15 respectively in the most recent update. Washington and Vanderbilt are both athletic and high-motor forward who excelled during the summer allowing them to keep their spots in the top 15.
One top target who made a huge move into the rankings was Jericho Sims. The Longhorns are currently in an enviable position with Sims who was outside of the top 100 before July, but now he has jumped into the top 50 at No. 48 overall.
Sims was tremendous all summer with D1 Minnesota on the AAU circuit, and his combination of upside and athleticism was translated into potential. He is better than ever scoring on the interior, and also rebounds and blocks shots well. Sims still can be inconsistent, but he is getting better in that regard, and continues to make big strides.
If Sims wasn’t the biggest riser in the class it was Jase Febres. The Houston area product went from outside the top 100 to No. 47 overall. Febres was injured during the spring and didn’t have a chance to show off his entire skill set, but he exploded in July.
Febres is one of the best shooters in the country, and also is a tremendous athlete. On top of that he is adequate getting to the rim, and should be someone who is an excellent defender. That combination led to him making one of the biggest jumps in the entire class.
A player the Longhorns have been in a great spot with for a while is point guard Matt Coleman. Coleman made a strong jump in the rankings going from No. 44 to No. 35.
Coleman has a good combination of size and athleticism at the position, and was very strong with USA Basketball, which helped him to get a modest, yet solid bump in the rankings.
Harvey’s subpar summer led to a drop from No. 29 to No. 43. Harvey still has the talent to be a top flight wing, but he simply didn’t get enough done during the summer. O’Bannon Jr. went from No. 57 to No. 82 and Lee fell from No. 61 to No. 80.
O’Bannon is a very good shooter, and someone who is capable of getting very hot from deep, but he is very limited with his ability to handle the basketball, and defensively can get caught in bad positions with his footwork. Lee is a tough kid who plays with nice athleticism, but he is limited skill wise and slightly undersized for the position.
Right now Texas looks primed for a very good 2017 class with a few big pieces out there. Hamm is a good start, and now they are looking to capitalize and build what has the potential to easily be a top 10 class.