While Texas Longhorns head football coach Charlie Strong received an assist from head basketball coach Shaka Smart and his team on Saturday in a 76-63 win over the Oklahoma Sooners with recruits in town for the Junior Day, Smart also helped out his own cause, as numerous key targets for the basketball program were in attendance, according to Horns247.
None were more important for the program's immediate future than Austin St. Stephens power forward, Jarrett Allen, a consensus five-star prospect and the No. 22 player overall, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. As BON's own Cody Daniels framed it several weeks ago, Allen could be the final key piece to the 2016 Texas recruiting class that already features ascendant Irving Macarthur combo guard Andrew Jones, who also happened to be in the building Saturday.
There's some serious momentum for the 'Horns in Allen's recruitment, too, as the last eight predictions in his 247Sports Crystal Ball are all for Texas in the wake of at least three other unofficial visits prior to Saturday since the middle of January. With Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh, and Connor Lammert all departing, Shaq Cleare and 2016 signee James Banks are the only two other frontcourt players the Longhorns are currently set to have on campus next fall.
So Allen could make a big impact early given the current roster situation and his talent, which he will put on display at the McDonald's All-American game on March 30 at the United Center in Chicago.
Longer-term targets in attendance were 2017 Houston Victory Prep small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, another consensus five-star prospect, 2017 Katy Cinco Ranch shooting guard Jay Jay Chandler, and 2018 Cypress Falls small forward Deshang Williams-Weaver, a top-10 player in his class by 247Sports. Kentucky is considered a major contender for Vanderbilt, while Chandler's recruitment is seen as much more open.
Given Smart's ability to build relationships and the trajectory of the current team in Smart's first season, the Longhorns look poised to become a recruiting juggernaut capable of keeping top players in the state of Texas. And Allen could become the tipping point.