For a second straight year, head coach Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 by the conference’s coaches despite possessing Smart’s most talented roster since arriving in Austin.
It’s the first time that coaches have picked Baylor to finish first in the conference in the preseason poll and the first time since 2011-12 that Kansas was not selected as the frontrunner. Last season, the Bears finished conference play in second place for the first time in school history.
Texas will have a chance to compete with the Bears, Jayhawks, and Mountaineers thanks to a roster that features four players who earned All-Big 12 recognition, led by senior guard Matt Coleman, who was one of six players selected for the Preseason All-Big 12 team.
Now a 1,000-point scorer for the Longhorns, Coleman has started 101 out of 102 possible games during his career. During the shortened 2019-20 season, Coleman led the team in scoring (12.7 ppg), assists (3.4 apg), steals (40), and minutes (33.6 mpg) while converting 39.5 percent (45-114) from three-point range.
Three other players also received honorable mention recognition — senior forward Jericho Sims, junior guard Courtney Ramey, and freshman forward Greg Brown III.
After a wrist injury caused some struggles for Ramey early in his sophomore season, he finished the year strong, averaging 15.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game while hitting 41.7 percent from three-point range (10-24) during the team’s late-season five-game win streak.
Sims missed a large portion of Big 12 play due to a stress fracture in his back, but had previously emerged as one of the team’s most reliable options, especially off the glass. The Minnesota native led the team in rebounding (8.2 rpg) while ranking second in blocks (29) and fourth in scoring (9.7 ppg). As scorer, Sims was efficient, converting 65.8 percent (102-155) from the floor in 27.2 minutes per game as a junior.
A high flyer, Brown is one of the most electric recruits landed by the Longhorns in the modern era of recruiting, ranking No. 9 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings after a decorated high school career that included McDonald’s All-American honors thanks to per-game averages of 26.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, and 2.1 assists.
Texas opens the season at home against UTRGV on Nov. 25.