Kabongo Still Loves the Horns

The Texas Longhorns got their 2011 recruiting class off on the right foot with the commitment of St. Benedict's star point guard Myck Kabongo on January 12. The 6-2, 165-pound jet considered offers from Florida, Villanova, and Kansas before eventually picking the Longhorns because of his relationship with Rick Barnes and having the chance to play with his best friend, Tristan Thompson, at Texas.

Since committing, the floor general with 6'6" wingspan has had his ups and downs with Thompson leaving the St. Benedict's program and enrolling at Findlay Prep. Kabongo went from a point guard that wasn't hard pressed to score to a player that had to change his game and become more of a scorer to help a Gray Bees team that had to adjust without their best player on the fly in the middle of the season.

Kabongo used his quickness and ability to change speeds with the occasional jumper to average 14 points, six assists and 3.5 rebounds on the season scoring more than 20 twice after Thompson had left the program.

He scored 14 points in the Gray Bees (24-3) second round loss to Oak Hill in the National High Invitational, which was won by Findlay Prep (Avery Bradley and Tristan Thompson).

On Monday night, Kabongo reflected back on his sophomore season with Burnt Orange Beat.

"It was an okay season with everything that happened," said Kabongo. "Our goal was to be #1, but it was tough after Tristan left. I played okay, but I could have shot better from long range. After Tristan left, my scoring picked up. People say I can't score, but I can when I have to. My job is to run the team, get all of my teammates involved and play defense and pressure the ball. I proved I can score though."

Showing improvement in a number of areas is what the likely top 25 prospect in the 2011 class was after in the 2008-09 season. The competitive point guard thinks he showed improvement in a lot of areas, but has a clear goal in mind for the spring and summer on the AAU circuit.

"This year, I improved my shooting a little bit. People know I can run a team, defend, push the ball and get my teammates involved, but I also have to score a little more. I need to do more of that now, so people have to respect that I can score. My goal is to show people that I can be the #1 point guard in my class. I know it's going to be a lot of work, but nothing great comes without a lot of work," Kabongo said.

Kabongo and his Grassroots Canada team played in the "Real Deal on the Rock" last weekend in Little Rock, AR to kick off their spring and summer AAU campaign. After shaking off the rust, Grassroots Canada made a decent showing according to their leader.

"Last weekend was our first tournament together. I played okay, but it was fun to play with Tristan and Corey Joseph again. We were a little rusty, but did okay. We lost on Sunday morning and I don't know what place we got, but we didn't win it," Kabongo said.

On the recruiting front, several Big East schools and one national power in the south continue to recruit Kabongo, but he is all Texas.

"Schools come by the school gym. Some coaches ask if I'm sure I'm going to Texas. Memphis and some Big East schools keep asking, but I'm going to Texas for sure. I'm 100% committed to Texas," Kabongo said.

Kabongo says the relationships with the coaching staff at Texas that led him to commit to the Longhorns has only strengthened since he committed and he makes it a point to call a coach on a near daily basis.

"Every day. I try to talk to a coach from Texas every day. I call the Texas coaches and just try to keep up with the team and how everybody is doing. After we get off the phone, I'm going to call Coach Barnes and see how things are going," Kabongo said.

Like everybody else that has seen Avery Bradley play in April, Kabongo has come away impressed to the point of nicknaming ball pressure defense after the future Longhorn guard.

"Avery's become one of my good friends since I committed. I always talk to him. His defense is crazy. Tristan and I joke around about putting the "AB" defense on people now. He goes hard on both ends of the floor and that is hard to find these days. He makes me want to be a better defender. I thought Jordan (Hamilton) looked good in the Jordan game for a guy that hadn't played all year. They are both great players," Kabongo said.

Grassroots Canada will take some time off before playing in the Bob Gibbons Tournament in May.

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