Texas Basketball: 3 Longhorns find landing spots after 2023 NBA Draft

Marcus Carr, Sir'Jabari Rice, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Carr, Sir'Jabari Rice, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas basketball has sneakily been one of the country’s most fruitful programs for producing NBA players. The Longhorns had ten players on 2022/23 NBA opening day rosters, trailing only Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, and North Carolina for the highest number of alums in the league.

Thursday night was NBA Draft night, and although no Texas Longhorn heard their name called, three former players were signed immediately upon the conclusion of the 60-pick Draft.

Timmy Allen, Marcus Carr, and Sir’Jabari Rice were all priority undrafted free-agent pickups that found new homes on Thursday. Allen (Memphis), Carr (Phoenix), and Rice (San Antonio) will get their NBA careers started in the Summer League with the ultimate goal of sticking on a 15-man active NBA roster.

For those that only follow college hoops and are surprised to see such productive collegiate players like Allen, Carr, and Rice go undrafted – don’t be. The NBA largely drafts based on tools and projected upside rather than what you have accomplished at the collegiate level.

Take a look at some other notable players who went undrafted on Thursday night:

The one thing Allen, Carr, and Rice share is a lot of experience, and though their age may have been a deterrent for teams looking to draft them, it will pay dividends when they step on the court this summer. All three played five collegiate seasons at multiple universities and have shown the ability to adapt to different situations.

Let’s examine how the three Texas exes will fit in with their new teams.

How Texas basketball’s Allen, Carr, and Rice fit in today’s NBA.

Timmy Allen – Memphis Grizzlies

Timmy Allen’s versatility is one of the major draws that led the Grizzlies to sign him to a Summer League deal. Allen was the leader of the Longhorns over the last two seasons and has strengths that bode well for him at the next level.

He fits the mold of a modern NBA slasher who works well on and off the ball. Allen has shown he is an elite cutter on the offensive end and always ends up in advantageous spots on the court. The major drawback when projecting his NBA future is his lack of a three-point shot. Allen knocked down just seven of the 35 three’s he attempted as a Longhorn (20%). Although a lethal three-point shot is not required to carve out a niche at the next level, it is undoubtedly a shortfall he must overcome.

As for his fit in Memphis, Allen will have to impress in Summer League if he wants to earn an opening-day roster spot. The Grizzlies currently have eight players under contract for next season and four more with team options that will likely be picked up. They have a lot of young, intriguing prospects that Allen will have to prove himself against. All he has done over his basketball career is prove the doubters wrong.

Marcus Carr – Phoenix Suns

On the surface, one might think Phoenix is not a good landing spot for Marcus Carr, given the star-powered trio of Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant. That said, the Suns are looking to fill out their roster with minimum-level contracts, and a 24-year-old scoring guard like Carr would be a perfect fit off the bench.

Carr had over 2300 points and 700 assists in college. He has proven himself to be a very versatile offensive player capable of scoring from all three levels. The isolation scoring ability Carr possesses is a valuable skill in the NBA and gives him an opportunity to carve out a niche in the league.

The Suns have just five players on the books for the 2023/24 season, meaning they will be looking to find value in the Summer League to build their bench. Carr has the experience to dominate an event like Summer League. I would not be surprised if he works his way onto the Suns’ 15-man roster for the 2023/24 season.

Sir’Jabari Rice – San Antonio Spurs

Going into the 2023 NBA Draft, Sir’Jabari Rice had the best chance of any Longhorn to be drafted. After not hearing his name called on Thursday night, the 2022/23 Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year was quickly scooped up by the San Antonio Spurs on a Two-Way contract. All things considered, this is an ideal spot for the Houston native.

Rice’s versatility on both ends of the floor makes him a very intriguing prospect that could flourish professionally if put in the right system. He will now be under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich, widely regarded as one of the great NBA minds of this century.

Next. 3 immediate impact summer hoops enrollees for Texas. dark

The Spurs are beginning a rebuild centered around 2023 No. 1 pick Victor Wembenyama. While all the eyes will be on “Wemby” during Spurs Summer League action, do not be surprised if Rice earns a roster spot with a strong showing. All he seems to do is overachieve.