A.J. Abrams: Texas Swagger

Texas sophomore guard A.J. Abrams talked to Inside Texas about the swagger his team carries, his shot and being a leader for a team full of freshman as the Longhorns prepare to take on New Mexico State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"I've never been to Washington. Looking forward to it," A.J. Abrams told Inside Texas with a laugh as he sat in his locker at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. The NCAA Tournament selections had just been announced and the Longhorns found out they were headed to Spokane, Wash. for a first round match-up with the New Mexico State Aggies. Abrams was spent physically, having played 42 minutes and scored 19 points in the Longhorns' 88-84 overtime loss to Kansas in the Big 12 Championship. It was a tough loss for Texas, but Abrams said that the Horns' confidence is unshaken.

"We're always going to carry a swagger about us. That's what we do," said Abrams. "We are disappointed we lost, but we did a lot of good things out there and we can build from that."

Abrams has been a source of the swagger for Texas from the start of the season. The Longhorns start four freshman, with the only odd-ball being the sophomore Abrams. Last season, Abrams was a freshman reserve, sitting on the bench. Suddenly, he's been thrown into the role of the experienced vet. It's a role he's embraced, but it took some getting used to at first.

"Being a team leader, as far as getting them (the freshmen) in the right positions and telling them what's up in practice, it's different for me because I was asking those same questions last year," said Abrams.

A statistic Abrams has been a leader for the Longhorns in is shooting. Abrams is the heaviest shooter on team with four players that are shooting over 40 percent from behind the three-point line. Abrams has taken an astounding 270 three-pointers this season and actually has a higher shooting percentage from behind the arc (42.2%) than he does overall in field goals (39.1%). But his three has been up-and-down throughout the year, missing large sets of threes during some games while looking unstoppable in others. Abrams hit three of his ten three-pointers during the Big 12 Championship, a solid but just below-average performance for the sophomore. Abrams said his shot feels fine and is ready for whatever his team needs of him in the Tournament.

"My shot, I'm not too worried about it, I'm just worried about getting the win," said Abrams.

The shot that he's never had to worry about is the one from the free throw line. Abrams has been the Longhorns top free throw shooter throughout the season, hitting 92 percent overall, and has put away games for Texas from the line time and time again. Abrams is confident he and the Longhorns can put away the Aggies and advance to the second round and hopefully even further.

"New Mexico State's a pretty good team, but I think we match-up well against them," said Abrams.

Texas takes on New Mexico State a 6:25 p.m. in Spokane, Wash. on Friday.

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