Chris Beard previews 22-23 Texas basketball season with Jon Rothstein

Chris Beard, Texas Basketball Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Beard, Texas Basketball Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

As we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2022-23 Texas basketball season, we are receiving more news and notes from head coach Chris Beard about his program.

On Monday, Beard joined CBS Sports College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein’s podcast, College Hoops Today, to discuss many things, including the upcoming season. Let’s look at some of the nuggets I pulled from the interview.

Chris Beard talks expectations ahead of the 2022-23 Texas basketball season

Coach Beard noted something he called the “seven, seven model”. This relates to the current construction of the Texas roster. The group is filled with seven veterans, five of whom played at Texas last year, and seven younger players, four of whom made up Beard’s 2022 high school recruiting class.

Coach Beard has proven to be a masterful recruiter of the transfer portal, but it seems as if he prefers the balance of bringing in high school talent to mix with his veterans.

When talking about one of those transfers, last season’s Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyrese Hunter, the defensive side of the ball was at the forefront of the conversation.

"“On the defensive end, he’s as good as any guard in college basketball on the ball. We’ve really challenged him to make some strides off the ball, and he’s really done that in his short time in Austin so far. So, I think in my opinion, I know there’s a lot of great players in our league defensively, but he’s a guy that has a real chance to be on the All-Big 12 Defensive team.”"

Hunter will pair with Marcus Carr in what looks to be one of the most talented backcourts in the country. Coach Beard hangs his hat on the defensive side of the ball and will challenge Hunter to fill Courtney Ramey’s shoes when it comes to guarding the opposition’s best perimeter player.

When discussing the four-man freshman class he brought in during his first full cycle at Texas, it was impossible to not hear the excitement Coach Beard has in his young players.

As Beard talked about consensus five-star Dillion Mitchell, one quote stood out to me.

"“The length and athleticism is undeniable, but that’s not what defines him. I think Dillion Mitchell is a Division 1 player at this level if he’s 6’3″. He’s calm on offense, he doesn’t get sped up. He knows who he is. He is working extremely hard on his skill level, shooting the ball really well right now.”"

These tidbits were some of the most telling of the whole interview. On a team filled with players with proven success a the college level, the ceiling of this team may be defined by Mitchell’s play.

Time and time again we have seen lottery picks struggle to lead Texas to on-court success. Mitchell needs to understand his role and fall into place in what will be a veteran-led squad, and it seems like he has done that in fall camp.

The last nugget of note came when discussing the potential issue of rim protection for the 2022-23 Longhorns. It was a problem that reared its ugly head at many points last season, including during the Horns’ Round of 32 loss to Purdue.

A healthy Dylan Disu seems to be Coach Beard’s biggest reason for optimism.

"“I think a healthy Dylan Disu is almost like a different player. Confidence continues to come back on a day-to-day basis. He obviously helps will rim protection because he’s a long, athletic guy.”"

Beard went on to mention the likes of Christian Bishop and the aforementioned Dillon Mitchell as guys who will help this team protect the rim, but it seems as if he was most bullish on Disu.

Disu did not have the 2021-22 season he envisioned, but people tend to forget what a process it was for him to come back from a knee injury. He missed all of the 2021 off-season condition programs and was held on a minutes restriction for most of last season.

During his sophomore season at Vanderbilt, Disu averaged 15.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. A fully healthy Disu has a chance to be a real difference-maker on this year’s Texas team.

Listen to Chris Beard’s full interview with Jon Rothstein.

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Texas finished up last season with a record of 22-12 (10-8 Big 12), making it to the Round of 32 for the first time in nearly a decade. Beard and the Longhorns will open up the 2022-23 regular season at the shiny new Moody Center in Austin on Nov. 7 against the UTEP Miners.