The first member of the 2009 recruiting class to commit was also the first to sign this morning shortly after 8am. Duncanville wing Shawn Williams got the class started on August 8 with the announcement that he was had chosen the Longhorns over Arkansas, UCLA and Baylor.
Williams, the #44 prospect in the 2009 class, has been the leader of the talented Duncanville team for the last two seasons. As a sophomore, the 6-7, 200-pound sharpshooter helped lead the Panthers to the 5A state title averaging 19 points and seven rebounds.
Williams followed up his sophomore campaign with another productive year in 2007-08 averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for a Duncanville team that lost in the regional tournament.
Scout.com's National Recruiting Director for Basketball says the Longhorns are getting a talented shooter that has made rapid improvements as a rebounder and dual threat offensive player.
"[Shawn] used to be labeled a shooter and that was accurate. He heard the criticisms and expanded his game. More than anything he became a tougher guy inside, one that is willing to rebound and affect games around the rim. Now he's a guy who can move inside and play behind the line so in essence he's become a dual threat. Great kid, good college hoops player. More important than anything is his resume and background that is grounded in winning on the high school level!" Telep said.
In addition to Texas, Arkansas, UCLA and Baylor, Williams considered offers from the likes of Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Louisville before picking Texas.
A little more than a month after Williams committed, the Longhorns reeled in the first of two five-star prospects in Tacoma, WA guard Avery Bradley. The 6-2 long armed defensive specialist that dramatically improved offensively in the spring and summer committed to head coach Rick Barnes on September 17 over the UCLA Bruins.
Bradley's interest in the Longhorns began to peak after an early June unofficial visit to Austin for the Texas Elite Camp in which he stole the show and dominated the competition. What many didn't know at the time was that Bradley lived in Arlington, TX during his junior high years and became a big fan of Texas watching T.J. Ford lead the Longhorns to the Final Four in 2003. The trip to Austin for two days only cemented in his mind that Texas was the place he wanted to be.
Bradley, the #10 ranked prospect in the 2009 class, has risen up the ranks as much as any player in the senior class and Telep says the Longhorns are getting a true difference maker on both ends of the floor.
"Defensive minded scorer. Bruce Bowen is the best defensive wing in Texas. Avery Bradley will be No. 2. People think you can't make an impact on the national scene on defense? Wrong. Bradley was the best wing defender on the circuit last summer and because of it, he'll be an All-American. However, he's a great athlete on offense and a legit big time scorer and that is something he doesn't get enough credit for. Plenty of bounce and determination, he starts from day one," Telep said.
The combination of lock down defender, first step blow by ability off the dribble and much improved catch and shoot player from three earned the long armed guard with a 6'7" wing span offers from coast to coast in Texas, UCLA, USC, Florida, Kansas, Wake Forest, Washington, Oregon, Washington State, Gonzaga and Memphis among others.
Bradley is happy to officially have his recruitment behind him and is excited about the possibilities in the future.
"It's official, I'm a Longhorn," Bradley said. "I'm happy to get it over with and am ready to be there right now. I'm excited about the people coming in with me. I think we can make something special happen for Texas."
The second five-star commit to pick the Longhorns was Los Angeles area wing Jordan Hamilton on October 9. The 6-7, 215-pound scoring machine and improving defender was a lean to the Longhorns for over a year before making his choice known nationally by slipping on a white Texas hat with the Burnt Orange Longhorn.
Hamilton, ranked #13, has been one of the more talked about prospects in the 2009 class for the better part of three years after bursting onto the scene as a dominant scorer with a strong body. Being a known commodity at a young age, Hamilton endured the recruiting process for longer than most and was heavily recruited from coast to coast considering offers from Connecticut, USC, Syracuse, Kansas, California, N.C. State and many others before picking the Longhorns.
Dave Telep says Texas fans can expect plenty of scoring from Hamilton, who has been compared to a young Paul Pierce by some.
"Slice him open and out spills the DNA of a scorer. He's got size and a nose for the bottom of the cup. Everyone has their role and you recruit a guy like this to unleash him going to the basket. Like him a lot from mid-range as well." Telep said.