Following the Wednesday morning news that Kevin Thomas failed to qualify academically and an all-around rough offseason that saw what could have been high hopes for the coming season come crashing down, Texas basketball fans needed some good news. It came hours later on Wednesday afternoon when the school announced that recent 2012 commit Jaylen Bond was released from his letter or intent to play at Pittsburgh, becoming the ninth (and final) scholarship basketball player for the Longhorns this season and bolstering a thin frontcourt.
It's not always a formality for a school to release a player, especially if there aren't extenuating circumstances, as there were not in Bond's case -- he simply changed his mind, likely embracing the opportunity for guaranteed playing time at Texas. While it wouldn't have benefited the Panthers to be oppositional, as Bond is already enrolled at Texas and started classes Wednesday, the news is worthy of a sigh of relief for the burnt orange faithful.
Considered a better immediate option in post defense than Thomas by Hookem.com analyst Gerry Hamilton, Bond is not be as advanced offensively -- there's a tradeoff there, but it's one that Rick Barnes and his staff will have to live with. Warm bodies are welcome at this point. And Bond is a program player who will bring some athleticism and rebounding to the table, along with the ability to get out and run the court to use his leaping ability to finish around the rim. Those skills make him a solid pairing with heralded point guard Myck Kabongo, fitting the up-tempo style projected for the 'Horns this season.