When LonghornDigest.com broke that Texas basketball player Julien Lewis would be leaving the program — likely for Fresno State — it left a seemingly big hole in the Texas backcourt. And after the Longhorns officially announced his transfer a day later, it's apparent that Texas will have to go shopping for points this offseason.
Let's be real here: it's never good for a basketball team to lose a significant portion of its talent. And in Lewis, Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond deciding to leave via transfer, and Myck Kabongo headed off for the NBA, Texas is down its top three scorers from last year, including every player who averaged double-digit points per game. Additionally, in losing Lewis, the Longhorns will miss a player who appeared to catch on at the end of last year, scoring 19 points per game over Texas's last three contests.
But, surprisingly enough, that doesn't really leave the Longhorns low on experience. Sure, Jonathan Holmes is now the lone member of the 2011 class to make it to his junior year with the Longhorns. But he's also one of five returning players who started at least 12 games a season ago.
One of those five is shooting guard DeMarcus Holland, who supplanted Lewis in the starting lineup late. An excellent athlete with the talent to become an elite defender, Holland won the coaches over with his competitiveness on a night-in, night-out basis. And even had Lewis returned, he might have found it difficult to find a spot with the starters, though he certainly could have played major minutes as a scorer off the bench.
The key question here is simple: where will the points come from? The Longhorns weren't able to consistently count on scoring out of its frontcourt, and now is out its three best scorers, all of whom were backcourt players. Texas struggled the entire season to put together a consistent scoring effort, and losing those players won't help in that regard.
So now the Longhorns will be left depending on scoring from one of two sources — players who didn't score in high levels last year and need to develop further in the offseason — and a crop of newcomers added to the fold. If nobody is able to fill that role, the Longhorns will struggle to put the ball in the basket this year, and could find themselves grinding away yet again in a number of close games.