The abrupt end to the 2019-20 season for the Texas basketball program could be put in the past more so if they landed transfer wing Landers Nolley II.
There seems to be at least one grand prize that enters the NCAA Transfer Portal in college basketball and football each passing offseason at this point. The transfer portal has essentially become the free agency of college sports. And the Texas basketball programs sits among those teams that should milk the transfer portal as the 2019-20 season came to an abrupt end before it got good.
The name that really sticks out that the Texas Longhorns basketball program should be going after is the Virginia Tech Hokies rising redshirt sophomore shooting guard/wing Landers Nolley II. By far the most talented and potent talent in the transfer portal in the college basketball landscape at the moment is Nolley.
Texas does have a talented rotation projected to return from the 2020-21 season, but who knows what will transpire during the offseason.
The report that Nolley would be entering the transfer portal in the first place came from Stadium’s college basketball insider Jeff Goodman on Twitter back on March 16. The reasoning for Nolley putting his name in the transfer portal and leaving the Virginia Tech program is apparently that he wants to play wing more often than they will allow in Blacksburg.
Considered by most to be an NBA level talent that could’ve been selected in the two rounds of the 2020 draft, Nolley is an unusual hot commodity that surfaces in the transfer portal. Any power conference program that has the chance to land him this offseason should reach out immediately. The Longhorns should be in that group.
Texas doesn’t have the best 2020 recruiting class shaping up so far. Less than a month out from the original basketball National Signing Day (though it might be adjusted to some degree thanks to the outbreak of novel coronavirus), Texas doesn’t have a single commit/signee in their 2020 recruiting class.
Although, head coach Shaka Smart can make up for that void in incoming talent by hitting the transfer portal. Nolley will still technically have three years of eligibility left if he is immediately ready to play at his next landing spot.
He’s a former four-star recruit that has an NBA future and could fill a depth need on the wing for the Longhorns moving forward. Even he just sticks around for another year or two, getting a potentially elite scorer to the Forty Acres would make a huge impact.
Last season in 32 games played with Virginia Tech, Nolley averaged 15.5 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 0.8 steals. He did all that while shooting 37.0 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 78.0 percent from the charity stripe.
Nolley did have one of the higher usage rates in the ACC last season, at 33.9 percent. But he made good use of that with a 1.3 box plus/minus rating and an assist rate of roughly 19 percent. Mainly the upward trajectory that a volume scoring wing like Nolley brings to the table for a team that needs a lot of offensive help like Smart’s Longhorns is a big possible get.
This would be a no-brainer pursuit if there was any traction between Nolley and the Longhorns. He could fill a depth need on the wing and help allocated the floor spacing skill set of to-be senior small forward/shooting guard Jase Febres from here on out.
Texas could have a very solid trio in the backcourt and on the wing next season between to-be junior Courtney Ramey, senior Matt Coleman, and Nolley. The 6-foot-7 and 195 pound wing would be a natural fit in this rotation that needs offensive help.