Prince Ibeh Flashing Offensive Growth

Longhorn freshman Myles Turner arrived in Austin well equipped to be one of the top defensive players in the country, his 7-foot-4 wingspan being one of his main weapons.

But that didn’t deter junior post Prince Ibeh, who is far from known as being an offensive force, from going right at Turner during Texas open practice in the Frank Erwin Center on Oct. 18.

Ibeh got the ball in the middle of the paint, faked hard to his right, and came back to his left for a successful baby hook.

Throughout the practice, which turned into a scrimmage, he displayed a few other offensive moves rarely seen in his previous two seasons.

“I think I’ve gotten a lot better offensively and that’s one of the things I’m looking to show this year,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of moves in the post that I’ve been working on. That’s probably a side that a lot of people don’t know about.

“A lot of the stuff I do I like to face up and use my quickness and athleticism to get around people. I use my left a lot, I don’t know why. It’s just something I’m more comfortable with.”

Ibeh only averaged 3.5 points per game last season in 13.6 minutes per game. He only shot 91 times (made 50 percent) and won’t be asked to shoot much more than that this season with all the weapons that Texas has to work with.

But he’s willing if the time comes, and wants to show that he’s capable too. A big reason he feels that way is due to the time he’s put in with long-time assistant coach Russell Springmann.

“He’s really helped me out,” Ibeh said. “Around the mid-range area, that’s something I worked on is facing up and shooting. I’m still not where I want to be but I know I’ve made some great improvements this offseason.”

What’s undeniable, still, is Ibeh’s impact on the glass and his innate ability at blocking shots.

Ibeh, who is extremely athletic for being 6-foot-10 and 260 pounds, patterns his game after Clippers big DeAndre Jordan and fills up a stat sheet similar to him too.

His 61 blocks a season ago were second on the team to Cameron Ridley’s 76.

He hopes those numbers will improve this season after some much-needed time off helped his ailing left knee, which bothered him all last season, to heal.

And he knows playing time isn’t going to come easy with the addition of Turner and the emergence of Connor Lammert, but he’s hopeful Rick Barnes will see the benefits of having his athleticism on the floor to pair with the other bigs on the floor.

“The difference between me and the rest the bigs is some of them may be ahead of me skills wise, so I use my athleticism to do the things that I do around the court,” Ibeh said. “It helps me get up and down the floor. I’ve gotten a lot stronger and faster. I feel a lot healthier than I did last year.”

Ibeh isn’t sure how minutes will be distributed amongst the post players simply because there are so many options for Barnes to choose from.

“I think he wants to tinker with a lot of lineups,” Ibeh said. “We have a lot of players that can do a lot of things and he doesn’t want that to go to waste, so he wants to see what works best and go with it.”

The biggest lineup he’s been a part of was him at the five, Turner (6-11) at the four, Johnathan Holmes (6-8) at the three, Jordan Barnett (6-6) at the two and Isaiah Taylor (6-10 at the point.

But those big lineups can present challenges for Texas, particularly in guarding the perimeter.

Barnes, who is known for playing man, could go zone in those instances so as not to put his bigs in tough situations against smaller, faster players.

“Perimeter defense and guarding some of the smaller guys, that can be a challenge for some of the bigger guys,” Ibeh said.

But that’s a challenge he’ll gladly accept as long as he’s on the court, where he fully intends on showing off his improved offensive game.


Longhorns 2015 QB commitment Zach Gentry's junior highlights


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