Men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes is already on the hunt for recruits for the class of 2012. Here’s a look at some of the potential future Longhorns.
Cameron Ridley — C, 6’10”, 245 lbs. (Fort Bend Bush HS, Richmond)
The only verbal commitment so far in the 2012 class is this five-star big man from Houston. Although Texas has drawn some top recruits over the past three seasons, the team hasn’t attracted a 6-foot-10 player of this caliber since LaMarcus Aldridge in 2004. Ridley, the nation’s No. 14 overall recruit according to Rivals.com, is considered a strong verbal commit to the program and an even stronger boost to the team’s fledgling class. He’s known for his offensive skill set in the low post and has a high ceiling with all of his physical gifts; a few seasons with Barnes and the Longhorn coaching staff, including strength guru Todd Wright, could turn Ridley into a beast on the block.
L.J. Rose — CG, 6’3”, 175 lbs. (Westbury Christian HS, Houston)
Rose is currently considering a number of schools and has received offers from Texas, Arizona, Memphis, Kentucky and Kansas. That’s quite a mouthful, especially considering that two of his AAU teammates have already committed (Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke) or are very close to doing so (J-Mychal Reese, Kansas). Rose is a sharp-shooting perimeter guard who may or may not play point at the next level. Regardless, he’s considered a superb ball handler and a creator on offense. Texas will heavily pursue him as current players Jordan Hamilton and Cory Joseph could possibly leave this summer or next.
Marcus Smart — G/F, 6’4”, 200 lbs. (Flower Mound HS, Flower Mound)
Smart’s commitment is still up in the air, having shown interest in most Big 12 teams. This season’s Texas Gatorade Player of the Year is listed as a small forward but might not be big enough to play that position in college. The last thing you need to worry about with him is tenacity, as Smart is regarded as a knock-down, team-first player who will do whatever it takes to win. He’s a slightly atypical guard but possesses a strong enough outside shot and defensive skills to allow him to work as a third perimeter player or backup swingman. The biggest upsides to Smart are his work ethic and sheer athleticism — for evidence of this, try doing a search on YouTube for “Marcus Smart rebound dunk.” Basketball fans can start salivating now.