The entire Longhorns' basketball program might be in China right now preparing for their season opener against Washington on Friday, but much of their attention was focused stateside Wednesday as the initial signing period for college hoops began.
Texas didn't have anything to worry about, halfway around the world, as both of its commitments - four-star point guard Jacob Young and four-star post James Banks - signed their national letters of intent and sent them in to UT officials in Austin.
"Jacob is an explosive combo guard with major shot-making ability," Shaka Smart said Wednesday. "His work ethic, competitiveness and passion for the game will fit extremely well in our program."
On James Banks, Smart said: "James is a terrific frontcourt prospect who possesses size, touch and an innate ability to rebound and block shots. His strong work ethic and desire to be great will help him become a major force in our program."
The Longhorns are far from done signing players in the 2016 recruiting class. Texas will lose seniors G Demarcus Holland, G Javan Felix, F Connor Lammert, C Prince Ibeh and C Cameron Ridley after the season and could lose junior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the NBA as well.
With Young and Banks already signed, UT will sign at least three more players in the 2016 class and possibly even four more players. A recruiting class of six would be the largest class Texas coach Shaka Smart has ever signed.
"We are very excited about the foundation we are laying for the future of Texas basketball," Smart said. "Our program centers around competitiveness and enthusiasm and both James Banks and Jacob Young embody those traits."
Two of Texas' top remaining targets are five-star center Jarrett Allen of St. Stephens Episcopal in Austin and four-star shooting guard Andrew Jones of Irving MacArthur, who will wait until the spring signing date (April 13) to finalize his decision.