On Monday, Texas Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart revealed during his weekly press conference that sophomore guard Tevin Mack, who was suspended indefinitely more than six weeks ago, will be granted his release from the program.
“It’s my job as the head coach to always do the right thing for our program and for the guys within our program. The guys that we have out there playing – that’s who we need to have in the game,” Smart said in January.
“Tevin is a very talented player. He’s got a lot going for him, but right now the guys that are wearing a Texas uniform are the guys that need to be wearing a Texas uniform.”
Unsurprisingly, Smart and Mack have decided that the talented wing will not put on that uniform again.
The eventual transfer of the 6’7, 220-pounder will mark the end of a tumultuous stretch since Mack originally signed with VCU in December of 2014. Released from his National Letter of Intent, Mack followed Smart to Austin in 2015 and scored 5.1 points per game as a freshman.
During Mack’s sophomore season, he took a big leap offensively and defensively, drawing the assignment of the best perimeter player and leading the team in scoring at the time of his suspensions at 14.8 points per game.
His three-point shooting and unshakeable confidence were both major assets for a team struggling in both of those areas.
However, his suspension in January was the second this season — Mack missed the start of the season due to a violation of team rules — and his relationship with Smart clearly frayed.
Mack’s departure will put more pressure on 2017 signee Jericho Sims to fill his role on the wing, perhaps augmented by the shooting ability of another signee, Royce Hamm.
Overall, it will be hard for Smart to fully replace Mack’s skill set, which is significant enough that he should have plenty of options after leaving Texas, but the risk that he posed to team chemistry and the core values that Smart preaches was too great to keep him around.