Future Looks Bright for Roach, UT BBall

There’s still a possibility that Shaka Smart and Co. could add to their 2015 recruiting class.

Should they choose to stay put, though, the three players coming in will collectively make up one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

With the verbal pledge of four-star small forward Tevin Mack (Columbia, SC/Dreher) earlier this week, Texas now has commitments from the No. 65 player in the country, the No. 58 player in four-star shooting guard Kerwin Roach (Galena Park, Texas/North Shore), and the No. 48 player in four-star SG Eric Davis (Saginaw, MI, Arthur Hill).

That trio has Roach, the No. 2 SG in Texas, feeling confident about the future of UT’s program.

“No doubt a national championship,” Roach said when asked about what all these three could accomplish together. “That’s what we are working for obviously. I think once everyone gets a feel for it, we should be pretty good, especially with Coach Smart. He is a really good players coach who will adapt to his players and make adjustments.”

Roach and Davis both originally committed to Rick Barnes and his staff. They each had opportunities to jump ship when Barnes and Texas “mutually agreed” to part way. But they both stuck with the Longhorns in large part because of the belief in them shown by their new coach.

“I’ve grown pretty close to him,” said Roach, who also had offers from Cal, Florida State, Kansas State, Marquette, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Temple and Wichita State. “He’s a pretty cool dude. I stay in touch with him. He is a really valuable coach.”

Davis, who is ranked as the top SG in Michigan, had offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Oregon and UNLV.

The 6-foot-3, 161-pound sharpshooter thought long and hard about his decision but ultimately decided to stick with UT in large part because of the trust factor he quickly built with Smart.

“When I first heard about [Barnes] it kind of affected me because I didn’t know which coach I was getting,” he told Evan Daniels, Scout.com’s Director of Basketball Recruiting. “It was up in the air. I still keep in touch with Coach Barnes because there is a relationship there outside of basketball. But I got to know the staff at Texas and I’m still committed to Texas. I’m getting ready to win championships at Texas.”

The three of them combined should immediately help boost UT’s shooting percentage, which was at 43 percent in 2014-15, particularly from the outside where Texas shot 33 percent (VCU shot 34 percent from long range last season).

“For one, which is a no-brainer, is to provide perimeter scoring,” Roach said. “That’s something they didn’t have last year and really wasn’t sufficient at it last year. So we can provide that.”

Roach, a natural born scorer, can shoot from anywhere inside a gym. But his true worth could be his ability to attack the rim and play above it at times despite only being 6-3.

He is, after all, the two-time defending state champion in the triple jump. He recently capped his high school career by jumping 50-feet, 6.25 inches, becoming the only competitor in the Class 6A field to clear the 50-foot mark.

Roach believes his high-flying abilities combined with the outside touch of Mack will be a lethal combination for years to come in Austin.

“As a basketball player, he’s a shooter,” Roach said. “That’s someone that you need as a driver. You need someone that stays on the floor and can provide that outside three. He protects you in that way.”

The two know each other from an all-star event where Roach competed in the dunk contest while Mack was a contestant in the three-point contest.

“He’s a very good person,” Roach said.

It won’t be long before both are in Austin working together to help Texas basketball get back to where they feel it should be. Roach will move to Austin the weekend of June 5.

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