Kerwin Roach II’s time at Texas isn’t over just yet.
On Thursday morning, the Houston native announced that he will withdraw from the 2018 NBA Draft and return to Texas for his senior season.
As expected, this is a considerable development for Shaka Smart and the 2018-19 Longhorns. Since the end of the 2017-18 season, shooting guard Eric Davis Jr. elected to pursue a pro opportunity and shooting guard Jacob Young has transferred to Rutgers, so Roach’s return provides Texas with much-needed depth, veteran leadership, and a proven scorer on the outside.
“After getting as much information directly from NBA personnel and talking with my family and my coaches, I’ve decided to return for my senior season at Texas,” Roach said in a statement. “I’m hungry for the opportunity to make a career in the NBA, but I realize I have to improve in so many areas on the court. I’m also on pace to earn my degree, and that is a big deal for me and my family. I’m really excited to get back to work with my returning teammates and a great group of freshmen.”
Last season, Roach averaged a career-high 12.3 points per game, along with 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest. More notably, he emerged as a confident and clutch scoring threat down the stretch. After missing two games in January with a hand injury, Roach increased his scoring output to 14.3 points per game behind six 20-plus-point performances, including a 26-point display in the Longhorns tournament loss to Nevada.
To an extent, it was Roach who largely allowed Texas to even get to that point in the Big Dance. In what was a must-win game for both, Texas and Oklahoma State in hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid, Roach’s last-second layup lifted the Longhorns to a 65-64 victory.
The following Saturday, with No. 20 West Virginia in town, Roach tied what was then his season high with 22 points in 43 minutes in an 87-79 overtime win over the Mountaineers, which essentially sealed Texas’ trip to the tournament.
Along the way, Roach’s NBA stock slowly rose to the point that it made sense to test the waters, but after working through the process and receiving feedback, he’s set to serve as a headliner of Smart’s 2018-19 rotation.
With Roach remaining at Texas, the Longhorns return four starters from last season’s NCAA Tournament team, as the senior joins sophomore Matt Coleman, sophomore Jase Febres, and senior Dylan Osetkowski.
This story will be updated.