Texas basketball has high hopes after last year’s successful regular season, but things will be very different in 2022. First and foremost, they will be without head coach Shaka Smart. His future was uncertain, and he decided to leave and take another job before things were finalized. Instead, the Longhorns will be led by Chris Beard.
Beard has been coaching in the Big 12 since 2016 with Texas Tech. In that time, he’s won a regular-season conference title, led the Red Raiders to three straight NCAA Tournaments and carried Texas Tech to the championship game against Virginia. Beard’s first job with Texas was to recruit. Not only did he have to secure his own recruiting class, but he had to retain the talent on the roster.
A big name coming back is Courtney Ramey. He declared for the NBA Draft while retaining his college eligibility. He’s now decided to return to college and play for the Longhorns for at least one more season.
What will his return mean for the Texas Longhorns? Can they win a title?
What Ramey Brings to the Table
First and foremost, Courtney Ramey has experience in the conference. He will be a senior in 2022, and he has started in 79% of his 97 career games with the Texas Longhorns. With three full years as a starter, he knows what to expect over the course of an intense season. He’s played in big moments, and he’s lived up to the hype.
Ramey has also improved every year since joining the Longhorns. Last season, he shot over 40% from three and took over 4.5 attempts a game. He’s gotten better at shooting free throws, and he set a career-high in both points and assists per game. If Ramey finds another gear, he can be the primary player on a solid team in the Big 12. He was third in scoring last year for Texas, but he could shoot up the leaderboards if he can continue to improve his efficiency in the paint.
Retaining a three-year starter is a big deal for any team. With Texas looking to improve with a new coach, his return is absolutely vital. Still, what will Texas look like this season? Ramey’s a big deal, but he’s not the only player on the roster.
The Texas Longhorns had a solid Big 12 campaign last year, but it all fell apart in the NCAA Tournament. They lost in the first round, which is part of the reason why they’ll have a new head coach to start this year. Beard is proven in the Big 12, but it will take time for him to rebuild this program. Still, he retains the two biggest players in the backcourt. He utilized the transfer portal and landed solid recruits out of high school. This will help them in the long run, but he should rely on his returning players at the start of the season.
The Big 12 will have plenty of solid teams. Baylor looks to retain their title. OU has high hopes. Kansas will always be in contention. Still, Texas wants to be in the top tier of the conference and potentially make it to the Final Four. What can we expect this season?
What to Expect From Texas With Ramey
Courtney Ramey will bring consistency and raise the floor of the Texas Longhorns. If he takes another step forward, Texas has a chance to win the Big 12. If not, they will fail to reach all of their goals. Regardless of the new coaching staff and roster, a lot of this year will fall on Ramey’s shoulders. He’s a huge player to bring back, but he alone won’t flip the scales for the Longhorns.
The Longhorns have +1400 odds to win the NCAA Tournament in 2022. There’s value there at this point in the season, but they’ll have to prove that they can avoid an early upset in the first few rounds. Ramey will be motivated to make it past the first round after last year’s exit, and expect him to help the Longhorns live up to the hype. Still, I don’t see them making it past the Sweet 16 this year.