Longhorns look for first 2013 hoops commit


Rick Barnes and the Longhorn men’s basketball coaching staff are still searching for their first verbal commitment for the class of 2013. Though recruiting has typically been one of Barnes’ strengths, having pulled in elite talent such as Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, and D.J. Augustin, this recruiting cycle marks the first time since at least 2002 that Barnes has failed to secure a commitment before November. With National Signing Day not until late April, however, there’s still time for Barnes to sign a quality class. Even so, getting commitments from the players listed below would be a good way to start.

Demarcus Croaker, a four-star prospect, according to rivals.com, from Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., named Texas as one of his finalists along with Florida State and Murray State. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Croaker is listed by rivals.com as the 101st-best recruit in the class of 2013, and would provide a solid offensive punch to the class. The versatile scorer loves to dunk, but he also has touch from the outside and can take defenders off the dribble.

Another swingman, five-star prospect Keith Frazier from Kimball High School in Dallas, is rated as the nation’s 21st-best player according to rivals.com. Frazier has tremendous size and length for a perimeter player at 6-foot-5, 185 pounds. He too has narrowed his list down to three potential schools: Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Frazier, a gifted passer, possesses a game with more than a little flash to it, but his most impressive attribute his soft outside shooting stroke. His shots take a high-arching approach to the rim before settling neatly through the nylon.

The 2013 class’ biggest target, however, is Plano Prestonwood’s Julius Randle, ranked as the second-best player in the nation by rivals.com, and his offer sheet backs it up. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward has been offered a scholarship by nearly every major program in the nation, and has narrowed his list down to Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Texas. Though he is not expected to commit until the spring, Kentucky is likely Randle’s leader. He has already taken an official visit to Lexington, and is close friends with Texas twin guards Andrew and Aaron Henderson, who have committed to UK. Whoever lands Randle, they’ll be thrilled to have a player whose size belies his superior ball handling ability and athleticism. Though he still needs to develop a better low post game, there’s simply no denying his talent level and potential.