Wednesday could bring some interesting surprises for Texas men’s coach Shaka Smart. The Longhorns could sign one or two players who were completely unexpected.
Smart said Tuesday that he feels good about keeping the two recruits who signed national letters of intent with former coach Rick Barnes.
Guard Kerwin Roach from Galena Park North Shore has insisted for weeks he is sticking with Texas despite the coaching change. Guard Eric Davis from Michigan hasn’t spoken publicly, although Roach told the Statesman that he and Davis have talked about staying with the Horns.
“I’ve met with both of those guys,” Smart said. “They’ve been terrific, and they’re excited about Texas. That’s the indication I’ve gotten from them.”
Could the Longhorns sign someone else? Possibly Tevin Mack, a 6-foot-6 forward from Columbia, S.C.?
“Possibly. We’re working on it,” said Smart, who by NCAA rule cannot comment about recruits who have not signed with a school.
Mack was one of three recruits who signed with Virginia Commonwealth when Smart was the team’s coach. All three high school athletes were granted a full release, meaning they can look elsewhere for scholarship opportunities. That has become standard protocol for recruits during a coaching change.
Mack chose VCU over South Carolina, Georgia and Connecticut. Mack’s mother told The State newspaper in South Carolina that Texas is now in the mix. “That’s mainly one of his options,” Paula Mack told The State. “He wants to weigh out the rest. To sit down and see what’s best for him.”
The Longhorns have two scholarship slots available. Senior Jon Holmes has exhausted his eligibility, and freshman Myles Turner is entering the NBA draft.
What about Taylor? The huge question involving the Texas roster still is whether point guard Isaiah Taylor will enter the draft as well.
Taylor, a sophomore who averaged 13.1 points last season, is still attending classes and participating in offseason workouts. Underclassmen have until 11:59 p.m. April 26 to declare for the draft, per league rules.
“He’s a neat kid. He’s got a lot of great qualities as a person, even outside of basketball,” Smart said of Taylor. “He’s doing a nice job in school. He’s doing a good job with his teammates.
“My stance with him, really from the first chance I had to talk with him, was we want to support you and help you make the best decision for you and your future. So that’s the way we’ve looked at it.”
Several current players have said they were giving Taylor his space to make his decision.
“He’s still processing everything,” Smart said.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957.