The commitment of Florida Air Academy product Ioannis Papapetrou was special for the Longhorns in several ways. In the first, it represented another talented prospect pulling the trigger for Texas. Papapetrou is a rare combination of size and skill, a 6-foot-8 player with high basketball IQ with a complete offensive game.
And that would be enough, except that Papapetrou's commitment also represented a rare recruiting win for Texas over basketball rival Kansas. The recent commitment of Perry Ellis aside, Kansas has struggled a bit recently to pull in the big fish. And that's a problem that the Longhorns haven't had, especially in the Class of 2012.
In fact, that's probably the most important facet of this commitment: the ability of Rick Barnes and staff to recruit at a high level. This commitment can be chalked up to new (returned) assistant Rob Lanier, who recruited Papapetrou as a member of Billy Donovan's staff at Florida. And it gives Texas a great chance to land a top-five to top-10 class again this year, something that the Longhorn staff has pulled in two of the last three years. And ironically enough, last year's class (only because it contained just two members) isn't accounted for on that list, despite producing two first-round picks in Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph.
Last season, the Longhorns were a few poor calls away from going to the Sweet 16, and potentially even further in the NCAA Tournament. But as good as they were a year ago, the 2012-2013 Longhorns are shaping up to be one of Barnes' most talented squads. If Myck Kabongo and J'Covan Brown return, it's potentially a Final Four team, with four players capable of playing point guard (and an elite-level playmaker in Kabongo), three high-scoring wings in Brown, Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis and a jam-packed five-deep post group.
But even beyond that, it seems to be a roster that fits together. None of the five big men — current Longhorns Jonathan Holmes and Jaylen Bond and recruits Cameron Ridley, Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh — are alike. All bring different skill sets. And Papapetrou is unique as well. He's the only true three on the roster, someone with great size for the position (and supposedly still growing), and who can fill the role of glue guy.
The Longhorns aren't finished recruiting in this class either. While Andrew White — the aforementioned visitor this past weekend — might be a bit of a long shot, the Longhorns are still looking for one more high-level shooter to add in this class.
But filling that position isn't a must, and that's the spot that Barnes and his staff find themselves in. Playing with house money, there isn't anything specific that they need or have to have. And that's a great place to be in.