Texas junior point guard Isaiah Taylor announced Thursday he has hired an agent in preparation for entering the NBA Draft - ending his eligibility with the Longhorns.


For Taylor's sake, you hope a team takes a chance on his one truly NBA quality - his speed with the ball.

The strength of his game - getting by people with his speed and getting to the rim, getting fouled or driving and dishing - is significant. But a lot of other parts of his game, such as outside shooting, court awareness and leadership, could have used another year under Shaka Smart.

For Taylor's sake, you hope an NBA team takes a chance on him as a developmental player and that he doesn't end up taking the same path as point guards J'Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo, who left early and went undrafted.

As far as the impact for Texas coach Shaka Smart and his staff, they approached the entire season and recruiting season as if Taylor was going to leave early for the NBA Draft. Texas currently has nine scholarships committed for the 2016-17 season, leaving four scholarships still to give.

Obviously, Smart and his staff are awaiting the college choice of 5-star big man Jarrett Allen of Austin St. Stephen's, who hosted in-home visits this week by Texas' Smart, Kansas' Bill Self and Notre Dame's Mike Brey.

I'm told it's a Texas-Kansas battle.

Texas will have five returning scholarship players next season: Tevin Mack, Kendal Yancy, Eric Davis, Kerwin Roach and Shaq Cleare.

The Longhorns also currently have four incoming scholarship players:

* 5-star point guard Andrew Jones

* 4-star center James Banks

* 4-star Jacob Young

* Tulane power forward transfer Dylan Osetkowski (who will sit out the 2016-17 season under transfer rules)



UT's official release below ...


Statements from Isaiah Taylor and Coach Shaka Smart

Taylor decides to hire agent and turn professional



Statement from Isaiah Taylor

I’ve been chasing my dream to play in the NBA my entire life. In order to fully pursue this dream, I have made the decision now to hire an agent and turn professional.


While I’m sad to be leaving my teammates and family behind at Texas, I am ready to start this next chapter of my career. Thank you to all the fans that have supported me these past three years. You have made me feel at home.


Coach Smart, I learned so much from you in a short period of time and you will continue to be a role model for me. Love you, Coach.


These next two months are going to be intense, but I’m ready for it. Follow along with my journey as I prepare for this next step in my career. Thanks again to all the fans here in Austin. Hook ‘em Horns!



Statement from Head Coach Shaka Smart

We are extremely grateful for the impact Isaiah has made during his time at Texas. I truly enjoyed coaching him this past season and will support him wholeheartedly as he moves into this next stage of his career.



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