What Texas is getting in Indiana St transfer G Julian Larry

Julian Larry
Julian Larry / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

A massive day for Texas basketball and head coach Rodney Terry in the NCAA Transfer Portal on April 14 was capped by a commitment from former Indiana State Sycamores redshirt junior guard Julian Larry.

Texas basketball gets two-way standout guard Julian Larry from the portal

Larry is returning home to the state where he's from to play the final year of his collegiate eligibility. He is a native of Frisco, TX, and attended iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy for high school.

The announcement of Larry's commitment to the Longhorns marked the third portal addition for Terry and staff in the span of just a few hours on April 14. Terry has certainly proven that he can close the deal as an elite recruiter when top portal targets are visiting Austin.

Larry joins former Arkansas Razorbacks senior guard Tramon Mark and Indiana State redshirt junior forward Jayson Kent among Texas's portal commitments as Terry made significant strides to rebuilding the roster over the weekend.

Terry and the Longhorns also got big news over the weekend with confirmation that redshirt junior center Kadin Shedrick will return to Texas for the final year of his collegiate eligibility in 2024-25.

The three portal additions, along with two remaining incoming signees from the 2024 cycle brings the picture of what Texas's rotation will look like next season into much clearer focus. Add in the three returning players from last year's squad, and Texas is up to eight scholarship players in the rotation.

Texas could have as many as 10 scholarship players for next year's projected roster, if junior guard Tyrese Hunter and sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell return to school for another season.

More importantly, Texas has added proven experience at key spots in the rotation that were lacking consistent production last season. Texas got three proven scorers that play at different spots in the lineup who can all score and handle the basketball. That's not to mention that Texas got some solid defenders to help upgrade on that end of the floor next season too.

Larry gives Texas a true primary facilitator and floor general in the SEC next season

Texas filled a big gap in the backcourt rotation with the addition of Larry over the weekend. The fourth-year guard is a proven facilitator and scorer, leading Indiana State last season with five assists per game while scoring a career high 11.0 points.

This helps Texas replace its assists leader, senior guard Max Abmas, who exhausted his eligibility this offseason. It is also uncertain if Texas's other top distributor from last season, Hunter, will return for a third year with the Longhorns in 2024-25.

Larry is not only a productive primary facilitator and distributor of the basketball on offense, but he is also an efficient decision-maker. He was the quarterback that led a machine on the offensive end of the floor at Indiana State last season that ranked top 10 nationally in offensive rating and assists per game.

Among eligible players, Larry led the Missouri Valley Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.35) last season and was third in the conference in assists per game.

Another elite part of Larry's game is his outside shooting ability. The 6-foot-3 and 185-pound guard was one of the top sharpshooters in the MVC in the last couple of years. He shot over 46 percent from beyond the arc in each of the last two seasons at Indiana State.

Terry knew he had to replace some of his top outside scorers this offseason, losing outside shooting threats like Abmas, senior big man Dylan Disu, and senior forward Brock Cunningham from last year's squad.

Combine Larry's three-point field goal percentage last season with Mark and Kent's, and you get nearly 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc that the Longhorns are adding to the rotation entering next season.

We can't talk about the wholesome impact Larry has on the Longhorns' backcourt unit without mentioning his defensive chops. Larry is a two-time MVC All-Defensive Team selection. He was one of the best on-ball perimeter defenders in the MVC in the early-to-mid 2020s.

Larry brings something that Texas was lacking with its defense in the backcourt unit last season, consistency and length. If you want to talk about overall impact on the defensive end, it doesn't get much better or more consistent in the last couple of years in the MVC than Larry.

He ranked in the top 10 in defensive box plus/minus and steal percentage in all four seasons at Indiana State.

Larry's length and on-ball defending will help elevate a Texas team that struggled with perimeter defense for much of last season. Texas ranked dead last in the Big 12 in opponent three-point field goal percentage and third-to-last in defensive rating in conference play last season.

Texas's inability to consistently defend the perimeter on the wing cost them against some of the better offensive teams in the Big 12.

This is important for Texas to upgrade its defensive ability entering the SEC next season. The Big 12 is more of a gauntlet where you have to grind night in and night out to win in conference play.

The SEC features more up-tempo offensive teams that beat you with quick transition scoring and free-flowing ball movement. Adding these lengthy guards and wings that can be more disruptive and get out and run in transition fits Terry's system and helps the team thrive entering the first year of competition in the SEC in 2024-25.

Texas is already looking like a more complete team with more depth up and down the rotation entering the 2024-25 season. There is still some work left to do for Terry and staff to upgrade the rotation entering the SEC next season, but last weekend was a huge step in the right direction with the three portal additions.

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