How Texas could address final scholarship vacancy

Texas has a few big men targets from the portal in mind as the 2024 offseason progresses.
JT Toppin
JT Toppin / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Keba Keita
Keba Keita / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Keba Keita, PF/C

Former Utah Utes sophomore big man Keba Keita was one of the intriguing late-cycle portal entries that the Longhorns have followed early in the month of May.

The 6-foot-7 and 230-pound center from Mali who attended Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, UT, for high school spent two seasons at Utah. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

On Texas Football's Gerry Hamilton reported on May 3 (premium content) that Keita is "on the radar" for Terry and the Longhorns staff in the portal late this spring.

Texas recruited Keita as a three-star center prospect out of high school in the 2022 class. But the Longhorns reportedly never made a big push for Keita during his high school recruitment.

The time could be right for the Longhorns and Keita to be a good fit for the rotation this offseason. Keita is an ultra-efficient big man on both ends of the floor. Texas needs a big man who can rebound the basketball and provide some low-post defense and rim protection.

He's a monster on the glass, ranking second in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounding percentage and fifth in total rebounding percentage in 2023-24. Keita could theoretically help a Texas frontcourt that ranked in the bottom five in the Big 12 in offensive rebounding last season.

On the defensive end, Keita could instantly upgrade a Texas frontcourt unit that needs more staunch low-post defenders. Last season, Keita ranked in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in defensive box plus/minus (4.1) and blocks (38).

As it stands now, Keita is probably the second or third-best option among frontcourt portal targets for the Longhorns. If Texas pushes for a visit in the near future, that's a good sign that things are heating up between the Longhorns and Keita in the portal late this spring.