Texas Basketball: Projecting Horns starting 5 a month from tip-off

Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Max Abmas, Texas basketball
Max Abmas. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

Point guard: Max Abmas

The most impactful transfer addition for Terry and the Longhorns this offseason was the former Oral Roberts senior guard Max Abmas. The two-time Summit League Player of the Year committed to Texas as a graduate transfer over the Kansas State Wildcats during the spring.

Abmas was the No. 4 transfer in ESPN’s men’s college hoops transfer rankings this offseason.

What Abmas brings to the Longhorns is a high-level volume scorer who does so efficiently. You rarely get a guard like Abmas, who scores 20+ points per game while shooting better than 38 percent from deep and over 50 percent from two-point range.

In recent memory, Abmas is one of the best scoring guards in college basketball. He led the nation in points per game during the 2020-21 season at a clip of 24.5 points per game.

Abmas can shoot the ball from deep, drive the lane and finish at the hoop, and draw contact to get to the charity stripe. He’s an insanely efficient free-throw shooter, hitting his looks from the stripe at a clip of nearly 92 percent last season.

Scoring is not Abmas’ only skill on the offensive end, though. He is an efficient primary ball-handler and playmaker at the one. Abmas averaged a career-best four assists per game last season as Oral Roberts’ facilitator and primary scorer. And he did that while only averaging two turnovers per game.

Given his efficient assist-to-turnover ratios the last few seasons at Oral Roberts, he should effectively facilitate the Texas offense as the primary ball-handler.

The biggest liability for Abmas is his defense. At best, I would expect Abmas to be a net-neutral presence on the defensive end of the floor.

Backing up Abmas at the one will most likely be true freshman combo guard Chris Johnson. The former Kansas Jayhawks commit and high-four-star recruit out of Montverde Academy has shown out in camp and summer workouts since arriving on campus a few months ago.

Also, expect Terry and the Longhorns to rotate Abmas and junior guard Tyrese Hunter for the primary ball-handling duties when the other is on the bench.

Reserve point guard: Chris Johnson