The Texas basketball program has a lot on the line for head coach Shaka Smart heading into his sixth year, and it all starts next week with workouts.
A very unusual finish to the 2019-20 season for head coach Shaka Smart and the Texas basketball program puts the team in an even more peculiar spot this offseason. The Longhorns, along with every other college hoops program around the country, saw a potentially hopeful finish to the 2019-20 season in the NCAA Tournament (and a lot of conference tourneys) cancelled out in the midst of the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
That meant that the Longhorns finished up the 2019-20 season with a record of 19-12 (9-9 Big 12). And their final game of the year was the regular season finale loss at home at the Frank Erwin Center at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys by a sizable margin of more than 20 points. That loss to Oklahoma State looked like it might be the final push for Smart to have his coaching tenure end on the Forty Acres.
But Texas was not even able to take part in their first game of the Big 12 Tournament, which was supposed to come back in mid-March against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. That led to Smart having to wait at least another year to get the Longhorns back into the NCAA Tournament.
With Longhorn football players already back on campus for summer workouts (albeit with some major adjustments), the men’s basketball program was sure to come soon thereafter. According to the Texas Sports Insider for the week of June 30, Texas athletic director Chris del Conte expects men’s and women’s basketball program athletes back on campus along with the volleyball players between July 5-12.
Before too long, a promising group of talented players for the Longhorns basketball team will be back on campus and taking part in voluntary workouts for an important 2020-21 college hoops season.
Here’s a look into the three most important Longhorn basketball players to watch for voluntary summer workouts early next month.