3 new additions that could lead Texas basketball to the Final Four

Tyrese Hunter, Texas Basketball (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
Tyrese Hunter, Texas Basketball (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images) /
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Jabari Rice, Texas Basketball
Jabari Rice, Texas Basketball /

This was a much quieter offseason thus far for head coach Chris Beard and the Texas basketball program than we saw last year on the Forty Acres. Texas was one of the NCAA Transfer Portal’s most active teams in the entire country last offseason. The same could not be said for the current offseason.

Beard and the Longhorns have only added two players by way of the transfer portal this offseason, despite multiple losses via the transfer market. Texas lost the likes of senior guard Courtney Ramey (Arizona), sophomore guard Devin Askew (Cal), and center Tre Mitchell (West Virginia). Other experienced players such as redshirt senior shooting guard/wing Andrew Jones and senior sharpshooting guard Jase Febres also won’t be returning for the Longhorns next season.

The losses from last season’s team aren’t hampering the expectations for Beard and the Longhorns heading into next season, though. After raking in the first NCAA Tournament win since 2014, Texas is looking to build on the postseason success with a magical run in 2023.

Texas will probably be facing expectations of at least being a team that makes it to the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight next season.

New faces for Texas basketball that could take this team to the Final Four

And with that in mind, here’s a look at three new additions for the Longhorns that could lead this team to the Final Four in 2023.

Jabari Rice, SG

Texas is getting a bit of a do-it-all shooting guard that also has some versatility to swing over and play at the three in the former New Mexico State Aggies senior Jabari Rice. The three-time All-WAC shooting guard Rice will likely be coming to Texas as a one-year graduate transfer that can make a big splash for this team on both ends of the floor.

What Rice can do for the Longhorns on the offensive end of the floor is provide a sneaky good secondary facilitator and a pretty solid open shotmaker on the outside. Rice is a smart player off-ball that can set screens and find his way open in gaps in opposing defenses.

Some of the numbers that Rice posted last season can be a bit deceiving. He shot just over 34 percent from beyond the arc. But if you average his three-point shooting numbers from the last three seasons, Rice is around a 36 percent shooter from deep. He also hit his open looks from three-point range last season at a clip of better than 36.5 percent.

If you get Rice open from beyond the arc, good things will happen more often than not.

Rice also proved how much of an improved facilitator he is last season by averaging a career-best 3.1 assists per game and a stellar 18.5 assist percentage.

Moreover, Rice is an extremely gritty two-guard that can do a little bit of everything as a perimeter defender. Some of his per-game stats don’t really do his defensive impact justice. While he averaged around just 0.5 steals per game and 0.3 blocks last season, Rice was still a pretty disruptive defender.

He is self-sufficient on the perimeter and is very switchable between the one and the three. Rice also proved himself to be a very capable defender for the Aggies in WAC play last season, posting a defensive rating of around 96, good for top three on the team among eligible players.

Rice is the type of versatile and experienced player that can do exactly what’s needed come postseason time. He also proved himself as part of that upset-minded 13-seed New Mexico State team that upset the four-seed UConn Huskies in the Round of 64 last season.