Courtesy of Texas athletics
As expected, both of the prospects in the 2015 Texas Longhorns basketball class inked their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, so Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill guard Eric Davis and Galena Park North Shore guard Kerwin Roach will be members of the 2015-16 team.
"Our entire staff is pleased to welcome both Eric and Kerwin into our program," head coach Rick Barnes said in a release from a school. "We wanted to add to our overall skill level and playmaking in the backcourt, and we needed to add length and athleticism to our backcourt. We also wanted to improve our perimeter scoring and shooting. And we needed to make sure we found individuals with high character, toughness and confidence. We accomplished all of those with the additions of Eric and Kerwin."
And it happened relatively quickly -- the Horns had struggled to gain commitments in the 2015 class until Davis committed in the middle of September, followed by Roach in late October.
Overall, the class came together slowly and at a late time, but the Horns were ultimately able to sign two impact guards to fill significant needs in the class.
Davis (6'3, 172), a combo guard who plays under head coach Greg McMath, is ranked as the No. 41 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN, No. 42 by 247Sports and No. 53 by Rivals.com.
During his recruitment, he held a host of offers -- Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, Florida, Georgetown, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oregon, and UCLA were all among the many schools in pursuit of his services.
Davis narrowed his list to Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C. State, Texas, UCLA and UNLV back in August and then took official visits to UNLV and Texas, while also tripping unofficially to Kentucky, which never offered.
He averaged 27 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals per game in his junior season while leading Arthur Hill to the Saginaw Valley League championship. He earned Michigan Class A Player of the Year honors as a junior. Davis claimed all-state honors as a sophomore and was the first freshman to start for McMath in progam history.
"Eric will bring scoring, playmaking and competitiveness to our program," Barnes said. "He has a scoring mentality along with a skill set and basketball IQ that will allow him to also function as a primary ball handler. Eric has the reputation of being a true gym rat."
Roach (6'3, 160) plays under head coach David Green and is ranked as the No. 35 overall prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 71 by 247Sports.
During his recruitment, he held offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Boston College, California, Cornell, Houston, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Oklahoma State, Rice, and Temple and could have held more had his stock not taken off so late in the process -- it wasn't until he joined an AAU club called the Houston Rockstarz that he saw his stock soar because of his diverse skill set.
Last fall, he averaged a team-best 16.1 points per game as a junior while leading North Shore to a 33-3 overall record and the Class 5A state title. Roach also claimed a 5A state championship in the triple jump last May in Austin.
"Kerwin has the mindset and IQ of a point guard along with the athleticism and scoring ability to operate effectively on the wing," Barnes said. "He loves to compete and has a tremendous work ethic."
As the above video shows, Roach is a player with long arms and excellent leaping ability. The vertical explosiveness translates off the bounce, as the rising prospect has a strong first step that allows him to attack the rim aggressively and effectively.
As a shooter, he appears to be be effective from distance, though he doesn't have the developed mid-range game of Davis, his fellow 2015 signee.
Defensively, Roach has a reputation as a stopper because of his length, athleticism, and effort. His ability to successfully translate that skill to college will determine how much he plays early to a larger extent than his offensive ability, especially after current stopper Demarcus Holland leaves.
Courtesy of Horns Sports