Karen Aston previews Texas Tip-Off and upcoming season

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Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Texas basketball starts the 2018-19 basketball season this Wednesday with the fourth annual Texas Tip-Off, a free event at Gregory Gym with admission to the first 3,000 fans.

This year, for the first time, Texas Tip-Off will include the Longhorn women’s team. Late Monday morning, women’s head coach Karen Aston took the podium to preview the event.  

“When I asked (athletic director Chris Del Conte) a few weeks ago if there was a chance we could just be a part of it, his answer was, ‘That’s a no-brainer,’” Aston said.

While the festival outside of Gregory Gym will include a plethora of fan-inclusive activities, including interactive basketball games and a truck housing video games, the players inside will participate in an all-star game-style setup, encompassing three-point and dunk contests as well as a scrimmage.  

This will be the first action in an orange and white uniform for Danni Williams, a Texas A&M graduate transfer, as well as the freshman class, nicknamed the “fabulous five,” minus the injured Sedona Prince. 

Prince, a five-star, 6-foot-7-inch center from Liberty Hill, won’t participate in the Texas Tip-Off after suffering a broken leg while representing the U.S. in the FIBA Under 18 Basketball Championship in Mexico City over the summer.  

While Prince was initially ruled out for the 2018-19 season, Aston called her a “beacon of light” regarding her approach to rehab and praised her positive approach, adding that “she hasn’t been written off for this year.”

In addition to the injured Prince, Aston also mentioned a timetable hasn’t been established for the return of forward Joyner Holmes, who sustained an undisclosed ankle injury last Monday during practice.

Holmes successfully underwent surgery to repair her injury Thursday.  

“It’s her mental and physical capacity,” Aston said about establishing a timetable for Holmes’ return.  

Aston also said senior forward Olamide Aborowa has missed some time with an undisclosed injury, but has returned to practice. 

A young, largely inexperienced team will feel the absence of Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins early on as they look to find their identity.   

“This team will have to find their identity more than once, and we haven’t even found it one time yet,” Aston said. “The finished product of this team will be different.”

With Aston unable to herd together three of her frontcourt players due to injuries, she said, “I’m losing sleep over rebounding right now.”

Following the Texas Tip-Off on Wednesday, the Longhorns will scrimmage another Division I  opponent this weekend before playing West Texas A&M in an exhibition match Oct. 28.  

As her availability concluded, one final unrelated question for Aston squeaked in as she headed toward the doors.  

“Is Texas back?” one reporter asked.

She replied, “I don’t think Tom (Herman) would want me to say 1-0, right?”