Texas center Prince Ibeh dunks against Kansas State in the first half during his junior season on March 7, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Men's Basketball

Senior salute: Football standout Prince Ibeh grew into a Texas shot blocker

Garland native will finish as one of four Texas players with more than 200 career blocks

Posted February 28th, 2016

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Growing up, Prince Ibeh thought he would be the next Randy Moss. The key word there is growing.

“If I had just stopped growing,’ Ibeh said with a sigh.

Texas' Prince Ibeh shouts after a massive dunk against Vanderbilt during second half action. Texas played host to Vanderbilt Saturday January 30, 2016 at the Erwin Center for the Big 12 SEC Challenge weekend winning 72-58. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas’ Prince Ibeh shouts after a massive dunk against Vanderbilt on January 30, 2016 at the Erwin Center.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Ibeh was one of the best athletes in Garland. He played football as a freshman in high school. After a four-inch growth spurt, though, it was all basketball. His gangly legs and arms continued expanding into the muscular 6-foot-11-inch frame Texas fans see today.

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Ibeh never really saw extended playing time under former Longhorns coach Rick Barnes. He averaged somewhere between 10 to 13 minutes per game the past three years while coming off the bench for Cam Ridley.

“Some of it had to do with the fouls; some of it had to do with my consistency,” Ibeh said. “And I was playing behind a really good player. After not playing for so long, it was hard to stay motivated at times. I was going through my own little mental issues. I just felt like I couldn’t improve my situation at all. It’s hard to play basketball like that.

“The coaching change gave me a breath of life, and I approached things differently.”

Ridley’s foot injury forced Ibeh into a bigger role in January and February. He posted double-doubles against TCU and Vanderbilt and will finish as one of only four players in school history with more than 200 blocks.

Texas coach Shaka Smart believes it’s all about confidence. “He just has to show himself and everyone else around him how much he cares, how much he’s engaged,” Smart said.

Forget about his career scoring and rebounding totals, though. NBA scouts are watching Ibeh because of his frame and wingspan alone.

“Every team out there thinks they develop big men,” said a Western Conference scout. “Is he worth taking a risk? Absolutely.”

Prince Ibeh at Texas

SeasonG/GSMin.FG pct.3-pt. FGFT pct.Pts.Reb.
2012-1334/410.4.588.000.3752.22.6
2013-1435/013.6.505.000.5173.53.4
2014-1534/210.6.592.000.3752.12.5
2015-1628/1817.6.618.000.4244.15.0
Totals131/2412.9.569.000.4242.53.3
Best game at Texas: Scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had five blocks in a 71-54 win over TCU on Jan. 26, 2016.

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