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.
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.
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
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