"He shoots the ball well but what I like about him is that hes a complete player," head coach Rick Barnes said. "He wants to be better. He handles the ball well. Hes a motivated person. Like all kids, he realizes that hes just now scratching the surface."
A.J. Abrams can play multiple positions but will likely settle in at the two spot after guards Kenny Taylor and Sydmill Harris complete their eligibility. Rated the states third-best high school prospect according to Texas Hoops, the McNeil High standout averaged 26.3 points, eight assists and four steals per game during his junior season.
"We like the attitude and the moxy he plays with," Barnes added. "A.J. is a very motivated player. We like him as a person because hes always been about winning."
Barnes is unconcerned with Abrams diminutive frame (5-10, 145).
"Weve had some success with small guards so it was never a concern. A.J. is a very competent player. He works very hard and, as time goes on, I do think he will put on more weight. Right now, he understands the way he has to play and hes done all the little things to make sure that hes successful even if he doesnt put on any weight."
Theo Davis (6-9), who plays at Cardozo High in New York City, gave Barnes his verbal in July but did not sign on Wednesday. Davis is reportedly waiting to see if F LaMarcus Aldridge, one of three McDonalds All-Americans in Texas freshman class, looks likely to turn pro next season
"If you dont have guys who sign, you have to keep recruiting," Barnes said. "You keep recruiting them but you also keep recruiting. You never stop recruiting, even when you sign and you think you might be done. Recruiting is a never-ending process. Our assistant coaches do a great job of staying on top of where we are, what we need, and the possibilities down the road. You have to prepared for any situation that can come up."
After opening last night with a 92-47 exhibition win over Lenoir-Rhyne, No. 16 Texas concludes its exhibition season against Tarleton State, 7 p.m., Monday at the Erwin Center. The Horns open the 2004-05 regular season at home against Texas State, 7 p.m., Friday.