“I’ve said it over and over, it’s fun building a program.” - Vic Schaefer
Let’s be honest — there isn’t going to be a whole lot of building left to do here with Texas women’s basketball. If anything, there might just be a little bit of remodeling to do.
Let me just say that there are a mountain of reasons to believe that this Texas team is going to contend immediately next season. About 6’5 of that mountain already stands with Charli Collier. When you look at the championship-caliber teams that Vic Schaefer has produced, it was predominately centered around tough interior offense and suffocating defense. When you have a double-double machine like Collier, it makes installing that offense and defense a heck of a lot easier. Collier, whose style of play is eerily similar to Teaira McCowan, will thrive under Schaefer. You also have to look at the freshman star Celeste Taylor to contribute in a big way, giving Schaefer some stability at the ever-so-crucial guard position next season.
In addition to the talent already on the roster, Schaefer also has some reinforcements arriving at the guard position in talented four-stars Ashley Chevalier and Shay Holle, which are also both ESPN Top 100 players. Texas also adds two post players, one of which the No. 12-ranked Elyssa Coleman. Three of four of the girls signing on hail from the state of Texas, which also happens to be a favorite recruiting ground for Schaefer. In his eight years at Mississippi State, Schaefer recruited six players from Texas.
With signing day already behind us, you also have to look beyond just next season. As I alluded to earlier, I would expect Schaefer, and potentially Johnnie Harris, to hit Texas’ fertile recruiting grounds hard. There are three big 2021 Texas names to watch and they all make sense for Vic Schaefer:
Rori Harmon, G:
If you have followed Schaefer throughout his career, you know he has an affinity for undersized guards. 5’5 Morgan William ran Schaefer’s offense during multiple NCAA tournament runs and prior to joining Texas, he had 5’6 Myah Taylor. At 5’6 and the highest-rated player out of Texas, there might not be a better player for Schaefer than Rori Harmon. Harmon is the No. 20 player and the No. 6-ranked guard in next year’s class. Harmon’s fancy handles and determination to go to the rim make her a top prospect for Schaefer to go after.
Kyndall Hunter, G:
Look, Vic Schaefer loves players like this. Kyndall is 5’7 and rebounds the heck out of the ball. She shoots incredibly well and drives the ball to the rim too. She is superb off the dribble. She also happens to be the No. 32 overall player in 2021 and the No. 9-ranked guard. She is at Cypress Creek High School in Houston and makes so much sense for Schaefer.
Jada Malone, F/C:
Every Vic Schaefer-coached team has to has to have a double-double machine at the F/C spots. Jada Malone is a glass cleaner, but she also is very agile and is quite active in the transition game. She would be an excellent player who adds a lot of dimension into the offense. Pairing her with Charli Collier would make this team hard to stop in the years to come. Malone is the No. 3-rated F/C in the class of 2021 and the No. 36 player in the country.
Another crucial part of success will lie in the transfer portal. Chloe Bibby, who is transferring from Mississippi State, might be a player to watch in the coming days if Schaefer wants to upgrade the forward position. Schaefer recruited Bibby from Australia and the two had a strong relationship. Another Australian forward entered the transfer portal in 6’5 forward Lucy Cochrane and she makes a lot of sense for the Horns. Schaefer will look to add size and can do that with a solid contributor on a stacked Oregon Ducks team. Destiny Slocum announced she was transferring from Oregon State earlier this week, and she also can be a big name that makes sense. Slocum’s announcement came as a shock to many and she averaged 15.1 points per game along with 4.8 assist this past season. Trinity Baptiste from Virginia Tech and Holly Winterburn from Oregon could also be on Schaefer’s radar. While I cannot confirm any interest from Schaefer in these players, it would be a safe bet that Texas pursues two or three transfers before the start of next season.
With a good foundation in place, a solid recruiting class coming in, and the implantation of Schaefer’s playbook and culture, the future of Texas basketball is brighter than ever. He might not get to build it, but fully expect him to make it his own.