3 bigs Texas is targeting in the portal in early May

JT Toppin is Texas's top portal target among big men entering the month of May.
JT Toppin
JT Toppin / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Berke Buyuktuncel, PF

Former UCLA Bruins true freshman power forward Berke Buyuktuncel is a possible transfer target for the Longhorns who could add frontcourt depth and long-term upside.

Buyuktuncel played one season at UCLA before entering his name into the transfer portal on April 30. He's got three years of eligibility remaining.

There is an obvious connection between the Longhorns and Buyuktuncel. Second-year Texas staffer and former Longhorns point guard Dogus Balbay hails from Turkey, the same country Buyuktuncel is from.

The 6-foot-9 and 245-pound big man Buyuktuncel was a reserve power forward for head coach Mick Cronin and the Bruins for most of his true freshman campaign. He averaged 16 minutes per game over 26 games played in 2023-24, including eight starts.

Buyuktuncel averaged 4.5 points per game, 2.5 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.2 steals, and 0.3 blocks.

He started the season as a regular in UCLA's starting five. Buyuktuncel started eight of the first 15 games he played in 2023-24. But his minutes dwindled in the second half of Pac-12 play after Cronin moved him to the bench for the rest of the season.

If Texas does pursue Buyuktuncel in the portal late this spring, he could add floor spacing, a high motor, and athleticism to a Longhorns' frontcourt that desperately needs more depth pieces entering next season. Buyuktuncel is a high-energy player who has a natural fundamental shooting stroke, a fluid stride, and the ability to put the ball on the court and get to the rim.

Buyuktuncel is also a high-IQ player on both ends of the floor off-ball. He knows where to be and how to set screens on the offensive end. Defensively, Buyuktuncel is a good help defender and a solid rebounder.

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