Freshmen Pacing Youth Movement As UT Hits The Road

One day after freshman C LaMarcus Aldridge posted his first collegiate double-double, freshman G Daniel Gibson was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week by the league office. It’s indicative of how this year’s top-rated recruiting class may be ahead of schedule as No. 11/15 Texas embarks on its first conference road swing.

Gibson averaged 17.5 points, four rebounds and three assists while hitting 10-of-22 (45.5%) FG to help lead the Longhorns to home wins over Memphis (74-67) and Baylor (79-60). Now, coach Rick Barnes’ bunch is gearing up for back-to-back Big 12 road tests when the Horns visit Texas A&M Wednesday before traveling to Nebraska Saturday.

"The only thing I’m going to get into Daniel about right now is taking care of the basketball more," Barnes said.

The freshman is guilty of a team-high 44 giveaways this season (3.12 per game), but it is generally expected that more turnovers will be attributed to a team’s point guard.

Gibson had 17 points in a tight game against Memphis, including a clutch three-pointer that broke a 63-63 tie and gave Texas the lead for good. He would have at least tied his career-high for points (19) Sunday had he a hit a free throw in the final minute against Baylor when the outcome was already decided. Gibson ranks second on the team in scoring (12.7 ppg) while pacing the Horns in assists (4.5 average) and steals (26).

Previously, Barnes said he wanted more dribble-penetration from his one-guards. Gibson, for the most part, has responded.

"Daniel is driving but he needs to pull up a little more when he drives," Barnes added. "He leaves his feet. He needs to add a little paste to his game."

If Gibson was to also add an occasional change in velocity to his repertoire, he would be as complete of a point guard as you’ll find in college hoops these days.

"He does need to change speeds," Barnes noted. "Great point guards play at different speeds. They don’t play at one speed. They know when to turn it on."

Aldridge’s 33 minutes against Baylor were a career high, as were his 11 rebounds to go with 16 points. Freshman F Mike Williams, subbing as the sixth man during C Jason Klotz’s one-game suspension, played 14 minutes but was 0-of-2 from the field. Williams, of course, missed the first five games of the season to clarify NCAA eligibility issues pertaining to his amateur status. Now, Williams's biggest challenge is primarily to get into playing-shape as Texas hits the road for the first time this conference season.

"Mike Williams is continuing to get better and better," Barnes promised.

The Texas A&M game is slated for a 7 p.m. (CST) Fox Sports Southwest telecast while the Nebraska game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Saturday (ESPN+).

Horns Digest Top Stories