Texas basketball ranks No. 24 in updated ESPN “Way too Early Top 25”

Tyrese Hunter, Rodney Terry, Texas basketball
Tyrese Hunter, Rodney Terry, Texas basketball /

We have learned this offseason that the college basketball news cycle runs 365 days a year, as Texas basketball has been at the forefront of many significant headlines since their Elite Eight loss to Miami.

Rodney Terry traded in the interim tag and inked a five-year deal as the 26th head coach of Texas basketball. The Horns saw players like Arterio Morris and Rowan Brumbaugh hit the transfer portal but were able to bring in a top-ten-ranked transfer class led by Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas. On top of the transfer additions, Coach Terry was able to keep Dylan Disu, Tyrese Hunter, and Dillon Mitchell out of the 2023 NBA Draft.

Rodney Terry and Texas basketball sit at No. 24 in ESPN’s updated top 25 for the 2023-24 season

The combination of returning production and transfer talent has the Longhorns poised for another solid year on the hardwood.

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello updated his “Way-Too-Early Top 25” earlier this week. To the surprise of many, the Horns sit at No. 24 in Borzello’s rankings.

Borzello wrote:

"“Rodney Terry did an incredible job taking over for Chris Beard last season, guiding the Longhorns to 29 wins, a Big 12 conference tournament title, and an Elite Eight appearance. But now comes the reloading process. Texas brings back Tyrese Hunter at point guard and landed Oral Roberts transfer Max Abmas, one of the premier scorers in college basketball. Dillon Mitchell taking a step forward will be the key, although top-50 recruit and former Kansas commit Chris Johnson provides another option.”"

Borzello is spot on with his evaluation. Hunter and Abmas will be the engine that makes Texas basketball run, and an offensive improvement from Mitchell would drastically raise this team’s ceiling. I do not know how he can look at this roster and slot them at No. 24 in the country.

The backcourt has a chance to be one of the best in the country and will be supplemented with proven transfers Chendall Weaver and Ithiel Horton. High four-star prospect Chris Johnson adds an athletic, high-ceiling guard to a rotation that does not lack flair.

Disu returns after averaging 16.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in his last eight games last season. Virginia transfer Kadin Shedrick is an elite rim-runner in the middle, and players like Brock Cunningham, Ze’Rik Onyema, and Alex Anamekwe will fill spots around the edges.

Sure, the Horns have a glaring weakness on the wing and will be forced into running lineups that either run small or big. Still, the continuity of five scholarship returners paired with the infusion of five talented transfers has me believing this is a team with both a high ceiling and a high floor.

Next. 3 immediate impact summer ernollees for Texas basketball. dark

Texas does not deserve to be mentioned in the preseason top five with teams like Kansas, Duke, or Purdue, but they are certainly a top-15 roster with a chance to once again make a deep NCAA Tournament run.