Though no Longhorns heard their name called on NBA Draft night, four former Texas talents will get the opportunity to grind their way to the NBA. The NBA summer league announced today that four former Longhorns will play in the 11-day tournament in Las Vegas.
Isaiah Taylor (Houston), Prince Ibeh (Milwaukee) and Cameron Ridley (Chicago) all played under Shaka Smart this year, while Jonathan Holmes (Memphis) started his professional career last season.
Ibeh may be the most likely former Longhorn to crack the starting lineup, which would've been unbelievable to hear only a year ago. Ibeh flourished under Shaka Smart, as he earned the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year this season, and averaged 4.6 blocks per 40 minutes. Ibeh could play a pivotal role as a defensive specialist for the Bucks, who ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency last season.
Ridley was ranked as the 7th best center in the class of 2012 out of high school. However, his first round potential was marred by a broken foot eleven games into his senior season. If he can stay healthy, he will have the opportunity to contribute to a rebuilding Bulls team that just traded Derrick Rose to the Knicks.
As the lone Texas non-senior to enter, Taylor was a bit of a surprise to enter the NBA draft. As expected, the speedy point guard went undrafted, but now Taylor is hungry strive for an NBA roster spot. Houston will be a good fit for Taylor, but he will need to develop his shot. The junior was only 31.1% from 3-point range in his final year in Austin.
Hello Houston !— Isaiah Taylor (@Zay_Ctmd11) June 24, 2016
Holmes is still striving to crack an NBA roster after going undrafted last season. Holmes played for the Celtics in last year's summer league, and averaged 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds a game. Holmes was later signed to the Lakers, but released before ever appearing in a regular season game.
It's hard to believe that Texas basketball has had only had one player drafted since 2011 (Myles Turner in 2015). That said, there is an abundance of skill between the four former Longhorns in the summer league. The undrafted road is the bumpiest path a pro can travel, but there's plenty of potential in these Texas standouts if the NBA just takes a chance on them.