Eric Davis

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Isaiah Taylor has got until Sunday to figure out if he’s as ready for the NBA as Johnny Manziel was for the NFL. There’s no question in my mind: Taylor should stay for his junior year, further develop his skills and delay entering the NBA draft.

Taylor is a 6-foot-1-inch tall point guard who is astonishingly quick, has a unique ability to drive the ball and is a feisty ball defender. But he lacks a consistent jump shot and weighs a mere 170 pounds.

If Taylor chooses to stay at Texas, he’d be the driving force for head coach Shaka Smart’s new offensive and defensive scheme.

Taylor was already the head of the snake whenever the Longhorns decided to press opponents last season. He only averaged one steal per game in 2014–2015, but Smart’s “havoc” system will increase that number — Smart’s system demonstrably produces steals.

Since Taylor flourishes in the open court, the up-tempo pace Smart employs on offense will allow Taylor to drive the ball and have the defense on its heels.

Furthermore, with Taylor breaking down defenses as a result of his driving, he’ll be able to produce shots not just for himself, but also for his teammates. Texas’ two incoming recruits, Eric Davis and Kerwin Roach, are both players who can shoot and attack.

When Taylor blows by his man, it will force the next defender to help on the drive, if that defender helps off someone such as Davis, Roach, rising senior guard Javan Felix or any other player Texas has that can shoot (sorry, Demarcus Holland). From there, they’ll have fairly open looks at the basket.

Taylor’s drives will have the defenses scrambling from all of the team’s help and the knowledge that Texas has shooters on the perimeter. It’s often not the first drive that hurts the most — it’s the second drive. If Davis, Roach or Felix can drive the ball after getting a kick out pass from Taylor, then that will put even more pressure on the defense.

In order for Taylor to be as effective as possible, he will have to develop a jump shot. Without a jump shot, the chain of events that he causes as a result of his drives are unlikely to happen because Taylor’s defender could simply play off him. A consistent jump shot would make Taylor the best point guard in the nation because of all the threats he would pose. It’d be hard to guard someone with his quickness and a consistent jump shot.

The jump shot wouldn’t just elevate Isaiah’s game to a whole other echelon, but it would improve his draft stock. A former Arizona State point guard told me that when he would go up against point guard Avery Johnson, he would play off him because Johnson didn’t have a consistent jump shot.

Taylor would be guarded similarly, but his unique skill set merits something different. He should stay at UT and develop those skills further.

Texas basketball lands four-star recruit

It was quite the eventful birthday for Kerwin Roach on Oct. 24th. Roach, the four-star guard from North Shore high school in Houston celebrated his birthday in style, verbally committing to play for the Longhorns, becoming the second high school player to do so in the Class of 2015. 

Along with guard Eric Davis from Saginaw Arthur Hill high school in Saginaw, Michigan, Roach is the Longhorns second commit from the Class of 2015. Both players are listed as shooting guards, but according to most scouts, Roach is a versatile combo guard, who will be seeing a lot of time at point guard. According to Roach, he has often drawn comparisons to current NBA point guards Russell Westbrook and Derek Rose, both of whom are viewed as some of the top athletes in the league. 

“Roach is an combination guard that is a terrific athlete,” ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. “He is a quick first step slasher to the rim not only on the break but from the top and wing in the half-court set as well.” 

This athleticism and ability to attack the basket will make Roach a very nice compliment to Davis, who is known as one of the premier three-point shooters in the Class of 2015.

Landing Roach was key for the Longhorns in their recruitment of the Class of 2015, as Roach chose to play for the Longhorns over Big 12 rivals Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Within the Longhorn program, it is always stressed that in the recruiting sphere, head coach Rick Barnes and his staff must “seal the borders” and land all possible prospects from the state of Texas. With the addition of Roach, Barnes and his staff did just that. 

"It's so close to home,” Roach said following a visit with his family to the University on Oct. 17th. “It's good to have a powerhouse school in the state, where your family can go see you play.”

Roach is the 34th ranked player in the nation per rivals.com, and along with Davis provides the Longhorns with two top tier, four-star guards. The Longhorns will still look to the forward position to solidify the front line in their continued recruitment of the Class of 2015, but via the commitments of Roach and Davis, the Longhorns backcourt looks to be one of the strongest in the nation for years to come. 

Texas basketball claims first 2015 commit

Coming off a year in which Texas secured McDonald’s All American Myles Turner, as well as top twenty five recruit Jordan Barnett, the Longhorns basketball program now has its first basketball commitment for the Class of 2015.

Eric Davis, a guard from Saginaw, Michigan, announced his decision to attend Texas and play for the Longhorns in a press conference on Tuesday, September 16, at his high school, Saginaw Arthur Hill.

Davis, the No. 41 ranked player in the nation according to the ESPN 100, will bring a much needed spark to the Longhorns offense, an offense that finished 84th in the NCAA last season in points per game and 238th overall in field goal percentage. At 6-foot-3, Davis is thought to be one of the best scoring guards in the country.

"I think that Davis' biggest strength is that he is a pure scorer," Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi said. “He has a high skill level, can put the ball on the floor to create his offense and is a good enough shooter from deep to keep defenders guessing”. 

This ability to score off the dribble as well as shoot from outside has many comparing Davis to current NBA guards James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Monta Ellis of the Dallas Mavericks. Davis earned All-State honors as a sophomore at Saginaw Arthur Hill, but truly began to shine during his junior year in which he averaged 27 points per game and led Saginaw Arthur Hill to a league championship while being awarded the Michigan Class A Player of the Year award. 

Despite the Michigan product receiving offers from in-state powers Michigan and Michigan State -- as well as out of state programs LSU, UCLA, and UNLV -- Davis chose Texas, mainly due to his relationship with head coach Rick Barnes.  

"Me and Coach Barnes have a great relationship that we developed over time and on my visit," Davis said in his press conference. "I just felt really comfortable. I felt like I was on the team when I was on my visit."

In a conference that has produced 20 first round draft picks in the past five years, recruiting top rate talent is essential. With the additions of Myles Turner and Jordan Barnett in the Class of 2014, and now Eric Davis in the Class of 2015, the Longhorns are once again acquiring top tier high school talent, and look to be one of the preeminent programs in the Big 12 once again.