Big 12 men’s basketball coaches picked Texas to finish third in the annual preseason poll, the league office announced on Thursday.
Kansas swept all nine first-place votes, and West Virginia was second. League coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Kansas coach Bill Self voted for Iowa State.
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Overall, Iowa State and Baylor were picked fourth and fifth, respectively. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State and TCU were ranked sixth through 10th.
The Longhorns reloaded after losing seven scholarship players from last season. Five seniors graduated, guard Isaiah Taylor left early to play professional basketball and Jordan Barnett transferred out midseason.
“I don’t really like the word rebuilding,” UT coach Shaka Smart said, “because that makes it sound like you took everything and threw it in the trash and now you’re starting from scratch.”
Guards Eric Davis, Kerwin Roach and Kendal Yancy return, as does forward Shaq Cleare. But the Horns will have plenty of new faces, including freshmen forwards Jarrett Allen and James Banks.
“Don’t sleep on us,” Davis said. “First thing that comes to mind is, ‘Oh, they’re young. Lack of experience.’ That doesn’t mean anything to me. We’ve got a lot of talent, a great coaching staff in my opinion and we’re getting better. We definitely have a growth mindset. So don’t sleep on us.”
Texas will hold an open scrimmage at Gregory Gym at 6 p.m. on Oct. 20. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free. UT will host Angelo State for a preseason exhibition game is Nov. 2. The season opener is against Incarnate Word on Nov. 11.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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