Texas Basketball Recruiting Update

Texas's 2014 class could fill needs, supply elite talent to program.

Diagnose the needs on this year's team, and you'd probably come up with this one really quickly: no size on the wing. With 6-foot-4 (probably 6-5, as Texas measures its players in bare feet) Martez Walker looming as the biggest of Texas's wing options, and with the Longhorns mostly using a lineup of Javan Felix (5-10) and Demarcus Holland (6-2) on the wing, Texas was conceding size in a serious way, especially against some of the bigger wing teams they faced (like Michigan, which had about 10 6-6 guys). So certainly, a priority in this class was to go out and get a legitimate small forward type who could come in and match up with the 6-6 to 6-8 wings that the Longhorns occasionally face.

They might have gotten that guy in 6-7 wing Jordan Barnett from St. Louis. Barnett is one of those players who is a plus in a number of categories, though there's not really one thing that he's elite at. Long-armed, good athlete, a plus shooter and a danger in transition, Barnett had a huge senior year that he capped off by scoring 43 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in the state title game, leading his team to a win.

With Walker returning and emerging late the way that he did, I don't think you'll see Barnett win a starting job. But he gives the Longhorns another piece that they were missing, more athleticism and size on the wing than they currently have and another guy who can score.

With Barnett being the only signee, Texas technically has two scholarships open after parting ways with JUCO forward Obinna Oleka. But the 2014 recruiting class after Barnett can be described with three words: "Turner or bust." That's Myles Turner, a five-star prospect from Euless Trinity and the top remaining uncommitted player in the country. Though Turner projects best as a center because of his height (7-0), his shot-blocking and his overall game, he could play the four at Texas because he has an excellent jump shot.

Turner has long been a Texas target, and he's said in interviews that he grew up a Texas fan, and that Kevin Durant was his favorite player. The staff has also done an excellent job of establishing relationships there, even as schools like Duke and Kansas have tried to wrestle him away.

But the Longhorns were able to get the last official visit on his docket — he arrives in Austin on Wednesday night and will stay through Friday — and he's expected to make his decision soon afterward. Landing Turner would not only give Texas a ton of frontcourt depth, as the Longhorns return all four post players from a year ago, but would also help solve the size on the wing issue because at times, Texas would likely slide Jonathan Holmes down to the three, play Turner at the four and Cameron Ridley at the five.

As for the other scholarship, don't expect Texas to spend it on a Class of 2014 player. The Longhorns are keeping it open in case they can make a move on an impact transfer, preferably a graduate transfer who could step in immediately and help the 'Horns make a potential run next year. If that player doesn't materialize, or if Texas isn't able to get him*, then expect the Longhorns just to hold that scholarship over for 2015, where Texas has already made some nice headway with some top recruits.

* Remember, Texas was the landing spot for Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson before the Longhorns were nixed as a potential spot by Tulsa's transfer restrictions. All the 6-5 Clarkson did was go to Missouri, where he scored 17.5 points and dished out 3.4 assists per game.

If the Longhorns are able to land Turner, it would be a boffo recruiting class that helped to fill Texas's top needs while supplying a measure of elite talent to the program. Perhaps most importantly, it would show that the Longhorns are still a viable option for the state's top talent, and could help propel Texas's recruiting for 2015 and beyond.

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