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Notes and takeaways from Texas basketball practice

The Longhorns are getting comfortable in their new digs at the Moody Center.

Wescott Eberts

After hosting concerts for three months, the Moody Center is now the site of basketball practices for the Texas Longhorns as head coach Chris Beard’s team prepares for its inaugural season at the Erwin Center’s replacement.

The media was able to watch a portion of Wednesday’s practice and then met with Beard and several players afterwards. Here are some notes and takeaways from the first look at the 2022-23 Longhorns.

  • Super senior forward Timmy Allen did not participate in practice. He said he suffered a minor foot injury on Tuesday, but doesn’t expect to miss any more time. There was some talk during the offseason about the career 26.7-percent shooter from three taking more long-distance attempts, but with Allen out there wasn’t a chance to see if he’s improved since last season. Allen did say that his primary focus this offseason has been improving his leadership ability.
  • Senior forward Brock Cunningham won a shooting drill against redshirt freshman guard Gavin Perryman. Unlike previous seasons when Cunningham’s mechanics produced some side spin on the ball, he was getting consistent backspin, the result of some tweaking of his mechanics during work with Casey Perrin, the director of player development.
  • Senior forward Dylan Disu said he isn’t thinking about his knee any more and benefited from a full offseason, including going through the NBA Draft process before returning to school. The confidence in his knee showed, too, as Disu looked more explosive than last season, including catching and finishing a lob from super senior guard Marcus Carr during a short five-on-five session. Disu also won a three-point shooting contest against graduate manager Drake LaMont, who played at Western Michigan. At times, Disu’s shooting motion looks too mechanical, and he fell behind LaMont early before really finding his rhythm and hitting a number of threes in a row.
  • Sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter looked like one of the team’s better shooters in drills and while it was only a portion of an early practice, it was enough for me to believe that he’ll improve on his 27..4-percent shooting from his freshman season, perhaps substantially. Defensively, his lateral quickness stands out as an elite trait.
  • Carr praised the freshmen for their lack of egos and willingness to ask questions of the older players. He also mentioned that the team wants to play faster this season, an area where players like Hunter, freshman forward Dillon Mitchell, and freshman guard Arterio Morris should provide a significant boost.
  • Asked about the scoring droughts last season, Allen said he thought that the effort level lagged offensively when the team struggled to get stops on defense.
  • Hunter and super senior guard Jabari Rice were the two top targets for Texas in the NCAA transfer portal, according to Beard. “It’s almost like we were in the lottery and we got the first pick and the second pick — that’s how strongly we feel about it,” Beard said.
  • Beard called Mitchell a positionless player who can defend one through five and play four positions on offense. “His athleticism doesn’t define him — he’s a really good basketball player, too,” Beard said. “He loves the game. He’s one of those guys who is always in a good mood. He’s got a scary ceiling.”
  • Morris is still trying to grow defensively, but Beard said he’s an explosive athlete and a shotmaker.
  • Freshman guard Rowan Brumbaugh may get some early playing time, but he’s really a more developmental take with a high basketball IQ and a
  • While freshman forward Alex Anamekwe is undersized at 6’5, he played on a winning team in high school, is an elite athlete, according to Beard, and flashed during five-on-five play with an offensive rebound and a putback. His shot looks like a work in progress, so the second-chance basket is the type of effort play he’ll have to make regularly to receive playing time early in his career.