The Texas men’s team badly needed another explosive scorer, no matter who’s coaching on the sideline.
Shaka Smart thought 6-foot-6 Tevin Mack was good enough to play at Virginia Commonwealth. Now, Mack’s following Smart to Austin. The Columbia, S.C., native announced Tuesday he’ll be a Longhorn this fall.
Mack averaged almost 30 points per game last season while leading his high school team to playoffs. Recruiting website 247sports considers Mack the ninth-best small forward in the nation and 54th-best player overall.
Mack originally committed to VCU under Smart and signed a letter of intent. However, VCU released Mack from that commitment when Smart left for Texas. That has become customary when coaches leave for other jobs.
Free to look elsewhere, Mack made it clear he wanted to visit other places to see what felt comfortable. He visited Georgia the weekend of May 2, and then followed that with a trip to Austin.
On his recruiting visit, Mack met football coach Charlie Strong and watched Smart throw out the first pitch at a UT softball game. He told 247sports that VCU felt like a brotherhood. “I kind of want to see if those guys (at Texas) act the same way with that family feel,” he said earlier this month.
In recent days, Mack’s mother told The State newspaper in South Carolina that she had been in contact with Texas, Kansas, Georgia and Clemson.
The Longhorns have two scholarship spots available for the 2015-16 season having lost senior Jon Holmes and freshman Myles Turner to the NBA draft. The final scholarship slot could go unused this season. Smart and his staff are aggressively chasing recruits slotted for 2016 and 2017.
Last season, the Horns could have used another athletic scorer. Texas finished eighth in the Big 12 in scoring (67.4 points) and seventh in shooting (43.3 percent). There were times the offense was painful to watch.
The offense could look completely different with Smart’s up-tempo style. Kendal Yancy showed flashes at times. Jordan Barnett was a prolific scorer in high school but never got out of former coach Rick Barnes’ doghouse. Adding Mack to the mix gives the Horns another threat.
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