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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Ithiel Horton, Texas basketball
Ithiel Horton /

Small forward: Ithiel Horton

There are multiple schools of thought in the Longhorns fan base and the media regarding who Terry and the staff should start on the wing. Many Texas fans would like Terry and the Longhorns to go big in the starting five this season by starting senior big man Dylan Disu at the five and junior Kadin Shedrick at the four.

That would leave sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell starting at the three, giving Texas three players who are all at least 6-foot-9 starting at the three tallest positions this season.

But that lineup would decrease Texas’ floor spacing and clog the lanes on offense this season with a frontcourt lineup featuring Disu-Shedrick-Mitchell. That’s why starting the former UCF Knights senior transfer two-guard/wing Ithiel Horton at the three makes more sense for the Longhorns.

Horton is an experienced and capable off-ball scorer who shot nearly 37 percent from deep on catch-and-shoot attempts at UCF last season. He brings great energy on both ends of the floor and more versatility to the lineup with his defensive switchability, rebounding ability, and length at 6-foot-4.5.

It’s noteworthy that Horton played over 60 percent of his minutes at the three for UCF in the second half of last season (per Kenpom).

Backing up Horton and the three in this projected lineup for the Longhorns heading into the 2023-24 season is sixth-year forward Brock Cunningham. We know what type of grit and energy Cunningham brings off the bench on both ends of the floor. But the floor spacing he has brought to Texas in the last few seasons is the big extra-value add for the Longhorns this campaign.

Reserve wing: Brock Cunningham