We're less than a week from the official reporting date for the Longhorn footballers (of course, almost all of them have been on campus and working out since late May), and we're still two-and-a-half months from the official start of hoops practice, but the next two nights will provide a sneak preview of what we can expect from several of each program's young ones. And that sneak preview will not come in some distant stadium or gym, but rather right here in Austin in these guy's future arenas.
Tonight in the Erwin Center (7:30 tip, Fox Sports Southwest broadcast), true freshmen Jay (Justin) Mason and Dexter Pittman will participate in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Game while Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium, Vondrell McGee, Antwan Cobb, Jared Norton, Dustin Earnest, Hunter Lawrence, Montre Webber, Chykie Brown, Deon Beasley, Robert Joseph and Britt Mitchell play under the DKR lights in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game
At the Erwin Center, both Mason and Pittman will play on a court that they will almost certainly contribute on this fall. Mason has impressed observers this summer and is slated for rotation time, if not the start, at the two spot along with A.J. Abrams while Pittman has literally worked off the pounds and himself potentially into the rotation on UT's depleted front line.
From today's Statesman:
Pittman, 6 feet, 10 inches, is the tallest of coach Rick Barnes' seven freshmen. He's also by far the widest, which some believed would result in a redshirt season during which Pittman could lose weight and make much-needed improvement in his conditioning.
But if Pittman's transformation during two months on campus is an indication, he's angling to help the team this season.
Pittman said he has reduced from more than 360 pounds to 325 under the guidance of Longhorns strength coach Todd Wright.
"If Dexter continues to make progress like he has in the last two months, he'll have a chance to help us," said Longhorns assistant coach Rodney Terry, the point man in Pittman's recruitment. "We're hoping he can give us some quality minutes. It will all come down to his conditioning."
Out at DKR for Tuesday's football game (7:30 kick, Fox Sports Southwest broadcast), at least seven of the 10 Longhorns competing could see action on the same field this fall for the Orange and White. RB McGee went from a 'might play' to a 'probable play' with Ramonce Taylor's exit. Both Norton and Earnest will compete for early time at LB, with Norton competing in the middle and Earnest at SAM or MIKE. The field goal kicking job is wide open, and K Lawrence will get a long August look there and as a kickoff specialist. Lack of proven depth in the Longhorn secondary, plus seniors starting at three of four spots, means CBs Brown, a physical specimen, and Beasley, who also could see action on offense at wide receiver, and S Joseph could provide depth and get valuable game reps before stepping into potentially much bigger roles next season. RB/LB Cobb, WR Webber and TE/OL Britt Mitchell are probable redshirts.
For Bill Frisbie's preview article on the Football All-Star game, check the site first thing Tuesday morning.