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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Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball
Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports /

Power forward: Dillon Mitchell

Starting at the four for the Longhorns is the former elite five-star recruit out of Montverde Academy and sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell. The lengthy and uber-athletic 6-foot-8 and 205-pound forward got plenty of starts as a true freshman, starting all 38 games he played last season.

While Mitchell started every game for the Longhorns last season, his impact on the floor was often limited due to limited minutes. He averaged 17.5 minutes per game last season, the fewest among all regular starters for Texas.

Expect that to change this season with Mitchell getting a full offseason and another year in the system under Terry to improve his game and consistency on both ends.

Mitchell needs to become a more effective floor spacer and mature defender in his second year at Texas. Despite showing solid shooting fundamentals at Montverde Academy, he didn’t attempt a single three-pointer last season.

The hype during the offseason was that Mitchell improved his shooting from deep. That will be a welcome addition to the Texas frontcourt if Mitchell is a more legitimate threat from deep this season.

We know the type of impact Mitchell has on the defensive end and the boards. Mitchell is an incredible vertical athlete who can live above the rim and get plenty of contested rebounds. He’s also one of the most talented and switchable defenders at the forward position in the Big 12.

I expect Mitchell’s defense to be even more impactful for the Longhorns this season than during his true freshman campaign last year.

The former UTEP Miners junior power forward Ze’Rik Onyema will likely command most of the minutes at the four coming off the bench. Onyema is an energetic and powerful inside force on both ends. He’ll help Texas get the edge in the battle on the boards and block more shots when the reserves are on the floor.

Reserve power forward: Ze’Rik Onyema