Texas Men’s Basketball Tips Off Season With New Faces
By Jason Kinander
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – The University of Texas men’s basketball team began its season with a dominant 88-56 win over Incarnate Word on Monday night.
This year’s Texas team looks a lot different than the team that took the court in the NCAA Tournament last March. Two starters from that team are now in the NBA while a third plays professionally in Greece. Sir’Jabari Rice is with the San Antonio Spurs, Timmy Allen netted a multi-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, and Marcus Carr signed a contract with Aris Thessaloniki in the Greek Basket League.
Five incoming transfers and two freshmen aim to fill the void left by outgoing players. A number of these new faces made big impressions in their Texas debuts.
The most highly-touted of the newcomers is fifth-year senior Max Abmas. Abmas spent the past four seasons at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, where he scored 2,562 points, which is the most of any active Division-1 player. Abmas scored 12 points on 50% shooting Monday night, also chipping in five assists.
“It’s just the expectation to win here,” Abmas said. “Being able to win the last few years, win a couple of [Summit League Conference] championships, it’s something I want to be a part of where the new expectation is to win.”
A pair of other high-profile transfers had big debuts as well. Central Florida transfer Ithiel Horton led Texas with 17 points while former Virginia Cavalier Kadin Shedrick put up 12 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench. Coaches are easing Shedrick into the lineup after offseason foot surgery.
The final two transfers don’t come in with the accomplished resumes of the other three, but will have just as much of an opportunity to carve out legacies in Austin.
UTEP transfer Ze’Rik Onyema started in place of Shedrick on Monday. With two years of eligibility remaining, head coach Rodney Terry said Onyema could etch his name in the Longhorns future starting five before long, especially with more performances like the 11 points and seven rebounds he contributed on Monday.
“I’m a guy that dunks everything, I don’t take layups, I’m dunking everything, grabbing rebounds … .bringing energy to the court,” Onyema said of his playing style.
UT-Arlington transfer Chendall Weaver arrived with just one year of collegiate experience, but electrified the crowd with a highlight put-back dunk in the second half.
“I’m the fun guy. I’ve always got a smile on my face,” Weaver said.
The Longhorns will be back in action against Delaware State on Friday night at the Moody Center.