The 2021-22 Texas Longhorns are the most talented team in college basketball for specific one reason; the transfer portal. For years college coaches have grinded the recruiting trails when taking a new job, but Chris Beard took a different approach.
Beard, in his first season as head coach of the Longhorns put together the most talented team on paper through bringing in 8 transfers.
Texas has potential to dominate college basketball, which would force coaches across the country to reassess their process. Yes, teams already use the transfer portal to fill out their rosters, but Beard turned the process up a notch.
Most media outlets have predicted the Texas starting five to include Marcus Carr, Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, Timmy Allen, and Tre Mitchell. Carr, a point guard from Minnesota, was widely considered the best transfer available, and the other four players have been stars for their respective teams in previous years.
Texas might have the best starting five in college basketball, but their depth is the strength of the team.
With these five in the starting lineup, that leaves Dillon Disu, Devin Askew, Christian Bishop, Jase Febres, and Brock Cunningham coming off the bench. The bench includes a first team all SEC player (Disu), a five star recruit (Askew), and a starter on a sweet 16 team last season (Bishop). This bench rivals any team in recent history for the wealth of talent at the hands of Chris Beard.
Then there’s Jaylon Tyson, a highly touted recruit who likely won’t see much of the floor this season. His lack of playing time has nothing to do with his talent, and a whole lot to do with the players in front of him. On most teams Tyson would start and become a go-to scoring option, but the Longhorns aren’t any other team
The Right Coach
The obvious rebuttal to the wealth of talent on the roster comes with the fact that a ton of egos must come together for the team to have success. There’s only one ball and a lot of players that want the ball in their hands.
Yet, Chris Beard seems to be the one coach who thrives in bringing together a group of misfits. His teams at Texas Tech and Arkansas Little Rock consisted of several transfers that bonded by season’s end.
However, Beard has never put together a roster with this much talent, or this many transfers. The season will test his ability to manage egos and keep the roster in check. He knows better than anyone that the modern day college basketball player is willing to transfer on a moment’s notice if they don’t feel wanted at their current school.
One-and-Done vs. Transfers
The next question comes from the idea of why transfers are superior to building a team full of freshmen. In short, transfers are not freshmen.
Texas will be among the most experienced teams in college basketball this season. As seen from almost every national champion in recent memory, experience wins in college basketball. Of course, the team needs to be talented, but countless instances of experience prevailing over talent lead coaches like Chris Beard to lean heavily on talented transfers to take teams to the top of the mountain.
The goal for Texas is simple, to win a national championship. The combination of talent, experience, and coaching leads me to believe the Texas Longhorns will achieve that goal this season in Chris Beard’s first go-around in Austin.