Texas Assembling Terrific Class

The Texas Longhorn basketball program has been on a serious recruiting roll for well over a year now including four impressive commits in the 2011 class. Burnt Orange Beat takes a look at the foursome of pledges with a big man left to fill out the class.

The Texas Longhorns have received four commitments in the 2011 class led by and started by St. Benedict's point guard Myck Kabongo. Following the commit of the elite level point guard Kabongo, the Longhorns went after the pieces to fit perfectly around the floor general.

The second commit in the class was Houston Bellaire guard Sheldon McClellan. The 6-5, 180-pounder is yet another skilled wing player the Longhorns have recruited in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 classes with the ability to shoot the three, attack off the bounce and make plays for teammates.

La Marque virtual unknown Julien Lewis was the third prospect to commit to Texas after a sensational performance at Texas Elite camp. The 6-3, 190-pound guard has flown under the radar due to sophomore year transfer and not playing the spring AAU circuit for one of the top traveling teams.

The latest prospect to pick the Longhorns was California forward DeAndre Daniels on July 2. The 6-7.5, 185-pounder picked his dream school over an impressive offer list including Kentucky, Memphis, Alabama, Washington, USC and UNLV among others.

With four on board and likely one spot left, it's an all out hunt for the top interior prospect the Longhorns can find. Texas needs a true interior presence to complete what would be a complete recruiting class.

Myck Kabongo

Kabongo, the #18 prospect in the 2011 class, committed to Texas on January 12, 2009. While it was known behind the scenes for a while that Kabongo would very likely join teammate and good friend Tristan Thompson at Texas, he waited until his birthday to make it official.

On January 12, the 6-1.5, 165-pound jet said the connection he felt with head coach Rick Barnes was big in his decision to commit to the Longhorns.

"I've been thinking about it and I was leaning to Texas for a while," Kabongo said. "Speaking to other coaches, I didn't feel the connection as much as I did with Coach Barnes. We're real tight and those other coaches, I didn't feel like we had that. I wanted that relationship with my coach and the point guard has to have that relationship with his coach," Kabongo said.

Myck Kabongo Scouting Report

Kabongo is a jet simply put. At 6-1, 165-pounds with a 6'6" wingspan, he is both fast and quick with the ability to accelerate in the open court as well as in the half court. His strength of offense is blowing by defenders and getting into the lane to make plays for teammates or finish around the rim.

In transition, Kabongo sees the floor extremely well and the majority of the time makes the smart, correct play. He does a very good job of knowing where his shooters are and getting them clean looks in transition.

Because of his elite speed and quickness, he hasn't had to rely on a jump shot. While he will knock down the occasional three or mid-range jumper, that is an area he is working hard to improve knowing he will need to be able to catch and shoot as well as pull up in the mid-range at the next level and beyond. He also has a tendency to dribble to deep and commit player control fouls at times.

Defensively, Kabongo uses his tremendous length and quickness to cause fits for opposing guards. When beaten, Kabongo has the quickness and speed to recover and get back into a play or race to the passing lane and make a steal.

Sheldon McClellan

McClellan, the #27 prospect in the 2011 class, is yet another big guard the Longhorns have targeted in recent classes. McClellan is versatile enough to have the ball in his hands and create for teammates, but brings scoring and the ability to get his own shot to the wing position.

McClellan committed to Texas on May 4, days after a third unofficial visit to Austin. He said the third visit, in which he was accompanied by his mother, put the Longhorns over the top.

"I thought it was a very good time to commit to Texas," said McClellan. "I liked the first two visits, but the third one was the one that led me to commit. The whole process of seeing the campus, talking to the academic people and speaking with the coaching staff put Texas over the top. I also felt like I'm cool with the players and that made me feel comfortable."

Sheldon McClellan Scouting Report

McClellan is a silky smooth 6-5 guard that possesses an advanced skill level off the bounce and a quickly improving three-point jumper. As a freshman, the long armed guard spent time at the point before moving to the wing for the most part as a sophomore. Right handed with an impressive pace, McClellan does a good job of changing speeds thus creating driving opportunities. He can finish in the paint or make plays for teammates.

As the sophomore gets stronger, his release will move up and he will be a more consistent long-range shooter. Because he has an impressive feel for the game and the ability to put the ball on the floor, he creates space for a mid-range or long-range jumper with ease.

Julien Lewis

The 6-3, 190-pound guard put on a show at the Texas Elite Camp quickly receiving an offer from head coach Rick Barnes. While Lewis immediately knew he was going to Texas, he returned home to talk to his mother and grandmother before making the news official that he was committing to Texas.

Growing up in Galveston, the guards from the Houston area that went on to great success at Texas were one of the reasons Lewis picked Texas.

"I started liking Texas when I was in the 5th or 6th grade watching T.J. Ford and Daniel Gibson play. They had success at Texas and now the NBA. I really, really started watching Texas closely when Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin came through. Kevin was awesome and is going to be one of the best players in the NBA. D.J. Augustin is one of the best point guards I've ever seen and I think he'll be one of the best in the NBA," Lewis said.

Lewis was the 24-4A district MVP in 2008 after averaging 18.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists playing both guard spots for the Cougars.

Julien Lewis Scouting Report

Lewis is a legit 6-3 guard and maybe a shade over. He weighs 185-190-pounds with a near perfect guard body type (think Justin Mason body type and athletic ability). Lewis has an elite level hoops IQ on both the offensive and defensive end.

On offense, he makes every pass with velocity and a high percentage of the time with the outside hand. Lewis has terrific pace, changes speeds and has very impressive feet and balance that he uses to make tight spin moves. He's a throw back player that will back his defender down to the mid-range post and then go to a fall away or up and under while looking for an open teammate. Lewis has the ability to go right or left and is quickly developing a step back jumper. He reads the ball screen game well and is an adept passer advancing the ball down the floor seemingly always making the correct, easy pass.

Defensively, Lewis is one of the rare high school players that relishes getting in a defensive stance and guarding the ball. He does a good job of reading and anticipating his opponents move off the bounce and often times beats the offensive player to the spot. He's also active as a team defender and will make the sneaky athletic play.

DeAndre Daniels

Daniels was the latest in the 2011 class to commit to Texas on July 2. Daniels, the #36 prospect in the class, also made his mark at the Texas Elite Camp earning the dream offer after previously receiving offers from Memphis, UNLV, USC, Washington, Rhode Island and Utah.

After leaving Austin on June 19, the forward, accompanied by his father, took unofficial trips to Alabama (June 20) and Kentucky (June 21) receiving offers from both.

The Woodland Hills Taft rising junior-to-be knew the Longhorns were going to be his pick even thought Kentucky head coach John Calipari did a great job selling Kentucky basketball and his vision for the program.

The decision simply came down to having the chance to go to put on the uniform Daniels has always desired to wear.

"I started liking Texas when Kevin Durant went there. Since then, Texas has always been my favorite," said Daniels, who was 13 when Durant played for the Longhorns.

DeAndre Daniels Scouting Report

Daniels is a long armed combo forward that will likely play a face-up, four-man role on the next level. Daniels has only been playing the game for roughly three years, but has made a steady progression skill wise.

On the offensive end, Daniels can put the ball on the floor and drive a big man. In time, he will be able to put the ball on the floor against bigger wing defenders with more success as he works to get his inside shoulder lower. Daniels doesn't shy away from putting the ball on the deck. The near 6-8 forward runs the floor well with the ability to finish above the rim. For a player that hasn't played the game his entire life, he has good footwork. Daniels can knock down the three as well as the mid-range jumper. Daniels has soft hands and often times will make the tough catch and go up in one motion.

Defensively, Daniels isn't afraid to throw his body around diving for loose balls or defending on the catch in the post. He has long arms and uses his length to bat post entry passes away or disrupt timing. After the catch, Daniels isn't developed enough physically to hold position and defend for long, but he isn't afraid of contact and physical play.

Daniels' key over the next two years will be physical development, continuing to work using his length on defense and jump shot mechanics.

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