Last week, the Chris Beard era got off to a fast start as the Texas Longhorns added three transfers and guards Andrew Jones and Jase Febres both announced that they will return for another season in Austin.
In addition to Jones and Febres, guard Brock Cunningham is also returning. Former Texas Tech guard/forward signee Jaylon Tyson has joined the three transfers in signing Athletic Scholarship Agreements with the Longhorns, so there are currently seven spots taken on the 13-man roster.
On Tuesday, Dustin McComas of Orangebloods reported that guard Courtney Ramey intends to return for his senior season, which Ramey confirmed in late April.
As Beard and his coaching staff await official word forward Greg Brown III, and forward Jericho Sims, the Longhorns have been in contact with a handful of players in the NCAA transfer portal with the one-time transfer waiver now approved and non-graduate transfers who have not transferred previously eligible immediately.
It’s an unprecedented situation and one that will remain fluid over the coming weeks.
Here’s the list of players Texas has contacted with updates as necessary.
Texas Tech transfer guard Mac McClung
The 2020-21 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year averaged 15.5 points per game under Beard after transferring from Georgetown. Last week, McClung declared for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent while also entering the transfer portal. Texas was one of a handful of teams initially in contact with McClung, a group that also included Kentucky and Gonzaga.
If McClung does decide to remain in college and Ramey returns to Texas, playing another season for Beard is probably not the most appealing destination for McClung, especially with ball-dominant Utah forward Timmy Allen added to the roster in Austin. There’s buzz that McClung is strongly considering Kentucky.
[4/22 3:30 p.m Central]
Have learned that Texas Tech star guard Mac McClung has withdrawn his name from the transfer portal— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) April 22, 2021
If McClung is out of the portal, he’s either returning to Texas Tech or turning pro and the latter option seems more likely.
Oklahoma guard De’Vion Harmon
A sophomore from Denton who was recruited by Beard at Texas Tech, Harmon averaged 12.9 points per game last season at Oklahoma and, like McClung, also entered his name into the NBA Draft, although he’s more likely to return to college than McClung.
[4/23 10:05 p.m. Central]
Oklahoma transfer De’Vion Harmon has committed to Oregon, he tells @247Sports.— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) April 24, 2021
Will continue the NBA Draft process but if he returns to the NCAA it will be in Eugene. || Story: https://t.co/Q4DJDuIwZH pic.twitter.com/hLElQ8Wx6G
Coastal Carolina guard Devante’ Jones
The Sun Belt Player of the Year instantly became one of the most coveted players in the transfer portal when he entered his name on Tuesday after declaring for the NBA Draft two weeks ago. A 6’1, 200-pounder, Jones averaged 19.3 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, and 2.8 steals per game last season, so he’s a unique talent who can shoot, he’s a high-level scorer, he rebounds bigger than his size, and he’s an excellent defender.
So it’s no surprise that Beard and his staff were quickly in contact with Jones, along with Baylor, Memphis, and Michigan. It’s going to be an extended process for Jones, as he doesn’t intend to make a decision about his future until the deadline to withdraw on July 19.
“I love what they’re doing with the program and the people they brought in like the point guard from Kentucky,” Jones told 247Sports. “I feel like Askew and I can play alongside each other with one having the ball in hand while the other being that creator. I feel like that could be a good spot for me if I did decide to come back to college. They’re doing something big over there so I can definitely see Texas being in my final three, final five, or whatever the case may be.”
[4/27 11:20 p.m. Central]
[5/2 11:35 a.m. Central]
UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton
A big-time scorer who averaged 17.9 points per game last season for the Runnin’ Rebels, Hamilton is another highly-coveted player. Texas has made contact with him, as of 11 days ago, but there hasn’t been any buzz connecting Hamilton and the Longhorns since then.
Couple more schools in contact with UNLV transfer Bryce Hamilton, per source: Arkansas, TCU, Oregon State, Georgetown. https://t.co/f2vvT3POSP— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 9, 2021
UTEP forward Bryson Williams
Texas has deep connections to the 6’8, 228-pounder, as Williams played for assistant Rodney Terry at Fresno State and then followed him to UTEP when Terry took the job in El Paso in 2018.
Add these 4 to Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and USC and you’ve got 8 Power-5 schools hoping to snag the services of UTEP grad transfer Bryson Williams. https://t.co/6OFbzrZbBU— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) April 19, 2021
Williams averaged 15.1 points per game last season, along with 7.4 rebounds per game. And unlike the other forwards and centers linked to the Longhorns, and unlike transfer forwards Timmy Allen and Christian Bishop, Williams does have some three-point shooting ability, hitting at 35.6 percent in 2019-20, although he regressed to 27.9 percent last season.
[5/2 11:35 a.m. Central]
Texas is still in pursuit of Williams.
I had a chance to do a zoom call with Coach Adams @TexasTechMBB and Coach Beard at @TexasMBB last week. Great insight on both programs, It be interesting to learn more about these other programs this week. #ProveEmWrong— Bryson Williams (@Bwillington11) May 2, 2021
DePaul center Nick Ongenda
Texas is one of three finalists for the 6’11, 210-pound sophomore, along with DePaul and Oklahoma State.
When the no-middle defense is at its best, Beard has a high-level rim protector to block shots and Ongenda fits that mold, ranking No. 33 nationally with a 9.2 percent block percentage last season. Like Creighton transfer Christian Bishop, Ongenda is also an efficient scorer, making 59.7 percent of his shots last season.
It’s not clear when Ongenda plans on making a decision, but Texas will likely wait for Sims to decide about his future before taking another player at the position. Sims is almost certainly a better perimeter defender than Ongenda, but his shot-blocking ability isn’t nearly as good — the block rate for Sims last season was 4.5 percent.
[4/27 1:25 p.m. Central]
Ongenda is staying at DePaul.
Oklahoma center Kur Kuath
Texas is one of the schools in contact with the 6’10, 220-pounder from Sudan.
Kuath is an even better shot blocker than Ongenda with a 9.4 block percentage last season, is strong on the offensive glass, and is an efficient offensive player.
[4/25 2:46 p.m. Central]
Kuath is headed to Marquette to play for Shaka Smart.
110 percent committed. Only up from here! pic.twitter.com/MPh2I6LhdE— RichKur (@RichHomieKur) April 26, 2021
Vanderbilt forward Dylan Disu
[4/21 6:05 p.m. Central]
The Pflugerville product entered the transfer portal on Wednesday and while it’s still too early to know if Texas plans on contacting the 6’9, 220-pounder, this makes a lot of sense for both sides.
Fairly modestly recruited and ranked out of Hendrickson, Disu was ranked as the No. 132 prospect nationally in the 2019 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he’s already overachieved with a big leap from his freshman to his sophomore season. During the 2020-21 season, Disu averaged 15.0 points per game with 9.2 rebounds per game. He was a strong rebounder on both ends and a decent shot blocker, but his ability to hit 36.9 percent from three-point range makes him extremely appealing with some spacing questions arising with the current roster construction.
[4/21 6:50 p.m. Central]
This one may move quickly.
I would be shocked if this doesn't happen. https://t.co/9snbkN8PnQ— Robbie Weinstein (@rwweinstein) April 21, 2021
[4/26 5:11 p.m. Central]
Georgia point guard Sahvir Wheeler
[4/26 2:43 p.m. Central]
Georgia transfer point guard Sahvir Wheeler told me he has cut his list to Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Gonzaga, Michigan, LSU, Oregon State, Stanford and Wichita State.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 26, 2021
Can be a program-changing point guard. Wants to go somewhere where he can play in the Final Four.
Wheeler averaged 14.0 points per game and 7.4 assists per game as he made a significant leap for the Bulldogs as a sophomore. The three-point percentage from Wheeler took a big drop (from 32 percent to 22.5 percent) and he’s small at 5’10, but he is from Houston and his assist rate of 37.8 percent ranked No. 11 nationally, so he’s a fantastic playmaker for his teammates. Even if Texas doesn’t end up being the right fit for Wheeler, it makes sense to pursue him.
Beard and his staff have been aggressive contacting some of the best players in the transfer portal after landing three of the top 22 in ESPN’s rankings. With those pieces already in place, it’s going to get a little bit more difficult to convince players like McClung, Harmon, or Jones to join the program, but the worst-case scenario is that Texas simply moves down its list.
But Beard is optimistic about convincing at least one of Coleman, Brown, and Sims to return — Sims is the most likely — so Texas should be able to field a competitive team next season with Sims added to the current nucleus even if the Longhorns miss on some of the top remaining transfers.