Listen to Austin 360 Radio

After massive growth spurt, transfer Christian Bishop looking to grow his game at Texas

On transferring from Creighton to Texas, Bishop said, ‘I felt like for a lot of people, you’ve just got to switch up the scenery.’

Creighton Bluejays forward Christian Bishop (13) blocks Ohio Bobcats guard Jason Preston (0) during the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 22, 2021, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

First order of business when dealing with anyone from Kansas City is getting their opinion on the best local barbeque. 

“Gates Bar-B-Q,” Christian Bishop said with no hesitation.

Those are fighting words to Joe’s, Arthur Bryant’s and Jack Stack fans. 

The new 6-foot-7 Texas forward should know. Bishop grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a southeastern suburb of Kansas City. Quite literally, in fact. 

“As a freshman, I was about 5-9, 5-10 and just slow, little, nothing too crazy,” Bishop said. “Sophomore year, I grew to about 6-3 and that’s when I was on the JV. 

“My junior year, I came back to school, and I was just way taller than everybody,” he added. “They’re looking at me crazy, but I grew to 6-7, and it just helped my game. Athleticism came too, and that’s why I was late in recruiting.”

Bishop was indeed a late bloomer. He was rated a three-star high school prospect and considered the nation’s 139th-ranked prospect, according to 247Sports.

Meet the Horns: With an eye on the NBA, Toronto’s Marcus Carr continues his journey at Texas

Meet the Horns:Memory of Timmy Allen’s mother fueled his passion at Utah, now at Texas

Meet the Horns:With an eye on the NBA, Toronto’s Marcus Carr continues his journey at Texas

Super-sized schools like Texas probably wouldn’t have signed Bishop straight out of Lee’s Summit West simply because he wasn’t a meat-and-potatoes blue chip recruit. He was courted by Missouri, Kansas State and Wichita State but signed with Creighton because “they had a lot of love and care.”

Bishop, who listed his favorite meal as “steak and potatoes and vegetables,” was definitely cooking in the Big East. He started 31 games as a sophomore at Creighton and averaged 8.6 points per game. Then last season, Bishop shot Big East-high 68.1% and averaged 11 points for a team that went 22-9.

Bishop averaged 13 points in three NCAA Tournament games as the Blue Jays reached the Sweet 16. 

Once Bishop chose to go into the transfer portal, Kansas put on a full-court press. But he ultimately chose the Longhorns.

Creighton Bluejays forward Christian Bishop (13) celebrates the teams win over Ohio during the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 22, 2021, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

“I felt like for a lot of people, you’ve just got to switch up the scenery,” Bishop said. “I think it’s a great spot down here in Austin. Good people, and we love to win down here. So it’s an easy decision to make.”

Bishop sharpened his game with the help of Victor Williams, who played at Oklahoma State and coached Bishop in AAU summer play. Williams wanted Bishop to be the player who initiated contact and went head-first into battles for loose balls.

“We tried to change his approach to the way he thought about basketball,” Williams told the Omaha World-Herald in March. “I told him, let your skill set complement your competitive spirit — instead of the other way around.”

Texas coach Chris Beard remembers how Bishop had nine points and eight rebounds against Beard’s former team, Texas Tech, on Nov. 29, 2019. 

One-on-one with Chris Beard: Texas coach talks recruiting, defense and energizing fans

“These guys beat us in Las Vegas, so I was familiar with Christian,” Beard said. “Basketball wise, I think he’s a position-less player. I think he can do a lot of things around the basket. He’s a versatile player, a high character guy. We believe in Christian.”

It’s unclear what kind of minutes Bishop will get with the Horns, a team with seven new transfers, four returning players and two freshmen. “Right now, no decisions have been made,” Beard said. “And we told the guys in recruiting, this is the way."

Bishop, like many of the older transfers, has bought into putting winning over individual accolades. 

“It’s been easy, honestly,” Bishop said. “We all live together. Seeing each other every single day, spending a lot of time with each other. Blood, sweat and tears, it’s all just helping us get closer.”

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.