In late April, the Texas Longhorns added the final piece to head coach Shaka Smart’s recruiting class — point guard Courtney Ramey, a top-50 player nationally and the highest-rated commit of the cycle.
With the sanctions at the University of Louisville involving formerly known head coach Rick Pitino and consistent pursuit on the recruiting trail, the Longhorns ended up snatching Courtney Ramey late in the recruiting process to complete a top-10 class. The 6’3 170-pound guard from St. Louis (Miss.) was a vital addition for this program.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Courtney Ramey to our basketball program,” Smart said when Ramey signed. “He’s a terrific player with high competitive character that makes people around him better. We value the fact that Courtney is about relationships and winning. His playmaking ability and leadership tie together an already talented class.”
Smart and the rest of the Longhorns staff won Ramey over Louisville and Oklahoma State by maintaining a strong long-standing relationship with him.
“Coach Smart of the University of Texas and his staff has recruited me the longest and has always made me a top priority,” Ramey said in his announcement.
Ramey was the final piece to the puzzle from Texas’ 2018 recruiting class. He joined Gerald Liddell, Brock Cunningham, Jaxson Hayes, and Kamaka Hepa after announcing his decision in late April. Ramey was the highest-ranked signee from the class — ranking No. 43 nationally according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The coveted freshman has opened up the eyes of many heading into the season, including Smart — “His future is really bright. He’s a gamer. He’s a guy that has a real chip on his shoulder and I love that he brings that to our team.”
Entering his first year, the now 6’4 185-pound combo guard is bound to be a key contributor from the start. He brings in an efficient shooting touch, the ability to score and get to the rim, and a balanced skill set for an ideal college guard.
Ramey was the all-time leading scorer at Webster Groves high school after totaling 1,838 points. Along with his remarkable scoring ability, Ramey’s point-guard facilitating skills are notable as he was the school’s all-time leader in assists with 521. These impressive numbers further back up why he’s such a key addition.
Finding consistency from beyond the three-point line has been an annual problem during Smart’s tenure at Texas. Ramey brings an outside shot to the table that can solve that problem. In his senior season, he eclipsed 39-percent shooting from beyond three-point mark last season. Despite possessing a quality shot already, he’s continued to work at becoming a better shooter entering his freshman season.
“He worked on his shooting and his game as much as anybody. He had a lot of success this summer with the way that he played and the progress he made,” Smart said.
While Ramey brings in a special skill set at the guard position, it’s more about the little things that he’ll have to work on. Smart noted, “his biggest adjustment is just going to be handling the twists and turns of the college game and being able to always respond by focusing on the next most important thing.”
It remains unclear what Ramey’s role will be in the rotation as he’ll be playing alongside guards Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones, Elijah Mitrou-Long, and Kerwin Roach Jr. The most likely destination will be as the backup point guard to Coleman. Either way, the number of ball handlers and skilled guards on their roster this season is a luxury for Texas. Expect Smart to utilize this guard depth to an advantage in terms of being more aggressive on the defensive end.
Ramey is a not-so typical all-around player this program desperately needed for life after Kerwin Roach and Andrew Jones. Let’s see what the talented guard can do playing alongside of them this season.