Sheldon McClellan

Texas’ 2011 recruiting class started six strong and was expected to return the program to prominence. Instead, only one member of the class, Jonathan Holmes, remains at Texas as the group enters what would have been its junior year. Here is a breakdown of where the highly touted recruiting class ended up, and how it happened.

Myck Kabongo
Class of 2011
PG

Kabongo, a five-star recruit in the 2011 class, never quite gelled at Texas. His freshman year, Barnes was often hard on the first-year point guard, but Kabongo ultimately came back to Texas for his sophomore season. However, in a long, drawn-out saga, the NCAA suspended Kabongo for the team’s first 23 games because he had received improper benefits. After the season ended, Kabongo declared for the NBA draft but was not selected. Kabongo signed a deal to play for the Miami Heat’s summer league team.

 

Sheldon McClellan
Class of 2011
SG

McClellan, the Longhorns’ most potent offensive player while Kabongo served his suspension, also had his issues with Barnes. The shooting guard often found himself benched for long stretches, even during key games, for an apparent lack of effort. After Kabongo returned, Barnes further slashed McClellan’s playing time. After the season, McClellan declared his intention to transfer and will join Miami.

 

Julien Lewis
Class of 2011
SG

Lewis, an unheralded member of the Longhorns’ 2011 class, was often Texas’ best pure shooter in 2012. The 6-foot-3-inch guard averaged 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds last season, often hitting big shots for Texas. However, like many other members of his class, Lewis elected to transfer after the season and is headed to Fresno State. 

 

Jaylen Bond
Class of 2011
PF

Bond did not hit his stride in 2012. The projected starter at the four spot, Bond missed all but one of the Longhorns’ first 12 games. After he came back, Bond never quite looked in rhythm, averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds a game. Like four other members of his recruiting class Bond elected to transfer and is headed to Temple after the season.

 

Sterling Gibbs
Class of 2011
PG

Gibbs did not wait until the 2012 season to transfer. Gibbs left UT following his freshman year citing personal reasons and transferred to Seton Hall. 

Where did the class of 2011 go?

Texas’ 2011 recruiting class started six strong and was expected to return the program to prominence. Instead, only one member of the class remains at Texas as the group enters what would have been its junior year.

Myck Kabongo (PG)

Kabongo, a five-star recruit in the 2011 class, never quite gelled at Texas. His freshman year, Barnes was often hard on the first-year point guard, but Kabongo ultimately came back to Texas for his sophomore season. However, in a long, drawn-out saga, the NCAA suspended Kabongo for the team’s first 23 games because he had received improper benefits. After the season ended, Kabongo declared for the NBA draft but was not selected. Kabongo signed a deal to play for the Miami Heat’s summer league team.

Sheldon McClellan (SG)

McClellan, the Longhorns’ most potent offensive player while Kabongo served his suspension, also had his issues with Barnes. The shooting guard often found himself benched for long stretches, even during key games, for an apparent lack of effort. After Kabongo returned, Barnes further slashed McClellan’s playing time. After the season, McClellan declared his intention to transfer and will join Miami.

Julien Lewis (SG)

Lewis, an unheralded member of the Longhorns’ 2011 class, was often Texas’ best pure shooter in 2012. The 6-foot-3-inch guard averaged 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds last season, often hitting big shots for Texas. However, like many other members of his class, Lewis elected to transfer after the season and is headed to Fresno State. 

Jaylen Bond (PF)

Bond did not hit his stride in 2012. The projected starter at the four spot, Bond missed all but one of the Longhorns’ first 12 games. After he came back, Bond never quite looked in rhythm, averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds a game. Like four other members of his recruiting class Bond elected to transfer and is headed to Temple after the season.

Sterling Gibbs (PG)

Gibbs did not wait until the 2012 season to transfer. Gibbs left UT following his freshman year citing personal reasons and transferred to Seton Hall.

Julien Lewis would be the Longhorns’ leading returning scorer if he decides to stay in Austin for his junior season.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

With three departures already this offseason, Texas has gone from a young but more experienced team back to a young team with almost no experience. A five-man 2011 recruiting class has dwindled down to two players, which could get even smaller if one them transfers.

Julien Lewis was expected to become a major piece of the team as a sophomore. Instead, he joined fellow guard Sheldon McClellan in Rick Barnes’ doghouse, conveniently located on the bench, for much of the season. McClellan has already made the decision to transfer, along with forward Jaylen Bond, and there is a chance that Lewis may not be far behind. So the only acceptable question regarding Lewis’ future is this: is he better off sticking it out, or should he move on to a fresh start?

Despite losing a starting spot to a bunch of freshmen midway through the season, Lewis was still counted on by Barnes and the rest of the team to make big contributions. Late in games against Iowa State and Oklahoma, Lewis came off the bench to make crucial three-pointers. Some of Texas’ late-season wins would not have come if Lewis doesn’t hit important shots down the stretch. But the fact remains that he was relegated to a supporting role, and the question over what his role will be heading into next season is looming over his head.

There were times this past season when he and McClellan lacked the effort and conviction that Barnes wanted from them and they seemed disconnected from the offense. Both seemed to settle for shots far from the basket, rather than taking the ball to the rim.

If he has a chance to become a starter and primary contributor on another roster, then he may have to consider a change. A change in location could reenergize him and drive him to do what he needs to do to be successful.

Or he could stick it out in Austin and use this demotion as motivation for next season. On a roster devoid of experience, Lewis and rising junior Jonathan Holmes could become leaders on the team.

Lewis came to Texas for a reason. Out of all the other offers he had and places he could have gone, he chose to come to Texas and to play for Barnes. Is that still a good enough reason to suit up for the Longhorns? Does he still want to play for Texas? For Barnes? 

Lewis has to decide if the same thing that drew him to Austin two years ago is still driving him now. If it isn’t, then he may join McClellan and Bond in their exodus out of Texas. But if there is still something there that brought him here originally, then staying and beating this situation may be the best answer. Only he can decide.

Sheldon McClellan (1) goes up for a shot.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Texas sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan plans to transfer, a Texas spokesman confirmed to The Daily Texan on Wednesday.

McClellan led the Longhorns with 13.5 points per game last season and becomes the second Texas player to transfer in as many weeks. Sophomore forward Jaylen Bond announced his intentions to transfer last Monday.

McClellan was in and out of head coach Rick Barnes’ doghouse all year long. Three times he was held scoreless while playing fewer than 10 minutes, responding with big games each time. McClellan averaged 20.7 points per game during a three-game winning streak earlier this month but scored just five points in a loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament and six points on 2-for-13 shooting from the floor in a season-ending, 73-72 defeat to Houston in the first round of the CBI last Wednesday.

McClellan has filed the paperwork to request his release from the team and is waiting on Texas to grant it. A Texas spokesman said he doesn’t foresee any issues in processing the paperwork and making the transfer official soon.

The Houston native averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman two seasons ago. He was a 44.8 percent shooter that season, connecting on 31 percent of his three-point attempts that year, but McClellan shot just 38.2 percent from the floor this past season and 27.3 percent from beyond the arc. 

“When he’s dialed in, there’s no doubt he’s a guy that can go get points in a lot of different ways,” Barnes said of McClellan last month. “When he’s lazy and floating around, people are there and he’s not set. He’s not ready. That’s when he struggles.”

In the game after being held scoreless in just seven minutes of a 78-65 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater on March 2, McClellan scored 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting while knocking down three three-pointers in a 79-70 win over Baylor on senior night. In three contests after not scoring a single point, McClellan averaged 18.7 points and shot 57.1 percent from the floor.

“I don’t really think about it,” McClellan said of being benched after the victory over the Bears. “I just move on to the next game and try to help my team to get the win. I just try to stay positive. It is not about me. It is about the team.”

Bond and McClellan could be joined by sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo in leaving Texas soon. Kabongo, a projected second-round pick by DraftExpress, averaged 14.6 points in the 11 games he played after serving a 23-game suspension.

Texas finished this past season with a record of 16-18, by far, the worst under Barnes, who led the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament in his first 14 years on the job before missing out this season.

Report: Longhorns’ leading scorer Sheldon McClellan to transfer

Texas sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan will transfer, according to a report by ESPN.

McClellan led the Longhorns with 13.5 points per game last season and becomes the second Texas player to transfer this month. Sophomore forward Jaylen Bond announced his intentions to transfer last Monday.

McClellan was in and out of head coach Rick Barnes’ doghouse all year long. Three times he played fewer than 10 minutes and was held scoreless, responding with big games each time. McClellan averaged 20.7 points per game during a three-game winning streak earlier this month but scored just five points in a loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament and six points in a season-ending, 73-72 defeat to Houston last Wednesday.

Bond and McClellan could be joined by sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo in leaving Texas. Kabongo averaged 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the 11 games he played in after serving a 23-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits over the offseason.

Three reasons why Texas will win the Big 12 tournament

Texas, the No. 7 seed in this year's Big 12 tournament, took down TCU for the third time this year Wednesday night in Kansas City. It was the first of four wins at the Big 12 tournament the Longhorns will need to reach the Big Dance for the 15th straight season. Here are three reasons why Texas will get those other three wins and earn that NCAA Tournament spot:

1. Texas is playing its best basketball of the year

The Longhorns are 6-3 since Myck Kabongo returned from a 23-game suspension, when they were 10-13. Half of their wins with Kabongo on the floor have come in overtime after going 0-3 in overtime games without him. Those numbers don't lie. Texas is winning games it would not have won without Kabongo, who had 16 points and six assists in a 70-57 win over TCU in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday night. The Longhorns had no trouble sweeping the Horned Frogs in the regular season without Kabongo but with him back in the lineup they're a different, much improved team.

2. McClellan and Lewis coming off the bench, coming up big

It's not just Kabongo's return that has Texas playing so well but the strides sophomores Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis have made over the last couple weeks. Since returning from a concussion he suffered in a loss to Kansas State on Feb. 23, Lewis has hit at least three three-pointers and scored at least 15 points three times in four games. That's something he did only twice in his first 27 games this season. Meanwhile, McClellan, since playing only seven minutes and being held scoreless in a home loss to Oklahoma State on Mar. 2, is averaging 20.7 points on 52.8 percent shooting from the floor while connecting on 40 percent of his three-point attempts and 90 percent of his free-throw tries. Both are coming off the bench -- Texas has used the same starting lineup every game since Kabongo's season debut -- and have been extremely effective recently.

"We've got 11 starters," head coach Rick Barnes said. "Every guy I started at some point in time because of different circumstances throughout the year. But I do think that we're figuring some things out with a full rotation... They're starting to understand more of a rotation that we may have to go to."


3. It's March -- the most wonderful, most unpredictable time of the year

You can have Christmas. I'll take March Madness. Anything can happen. If Liberty and Western Kentucky can win their conference tournaments, the Longhorns can win theirs. The only way they can get to the Big Dance for the 15th straight year is to run the table in Kansas City. And, as good as they're playing, that makes them a team you don't want to see right now.


"They're a dangerous team right now," TCU head coach Trent Johnson said. "If anybody's capable of winning three more, they're it."

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Three reasons why Texas won't win the Big 12 tournament

 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

KANSAS CITY – Sophomores Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan came up big off the bench for the Longhorns in their 70-57 win over TCU in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday night. 

Lewis led the Longhorns with 19 points, hitting four three-pointers. McClellan scored 12 points and hit seven of eight attempts from the free throw line.

“I think we’re coming out with a lot of confidence,” Lewis said. “[Head] coach [Rick Barnes] asked us to be aggressive when we come in. We gotta go in and do our jobs.

The Longhorns struggled in the first half, leading last-place TCU by two going into the locker room with a score of 28-26 at halftime. Kabongo led Texas in scoring with eight points in the first 20 minutes. The Longhorns jumped out to a 10-2 lead but allowed a surge by the Horned Frogs to bring the score to within two.

A 3-pointer by TCU’s Nate Butler Lind gave the Horned Frogs’ their first lead of the game, making it 22-21 with 2:49 left in the half, but Lewis responded with his own three-pointer on the next possession to put Texas back out front.

The Longhorns defense held TCU to 33.3 percent shooting in the first half, but allowed several key three-pointers that kept the game close.

“At the start of the game, I thought our defense was outstanding. We really came out and create some offense,” Barnes said. “Our defense got stymied on offense a little, on the offensive end. We knew it was going to be a hard fought game from the beginning.”

Throughout the second half, the Longhorns stayed aggressive to maintain the lead. The Horned frogs kept it close at first, posting a 39-27 lead at 14:49, but the Longhorns bounced back and played smart, extending the lead to 13 points.

“Being aggressive, that’s all it is, is being aggressive and staying in attack mode and knowing that when we’re in the bonus, just take care of the ball and trying to be aggressive,” Kabongo, who scored 16 points and had six assists, said. “Just being aggressive.”

The No. 7 seed Longhorns will turn around and face No. 2 seed Kansas State on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Longhorns dropped both regular season contests to the Wildcats by double digits.

“Well I’m not sure they’re not the best team, one of the best teams in the country,” Barnes said of Kansas State. “They don’t give you anything easy.” 

Texas' Julien Lewis (14) makes the game-winning basket over Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett (30) in an NCAA college basketball game in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Ever since Myck Kabongo returned, Texas has used the same starting lineup every game: Connor Lammert, Ioannis Papapetrou, Jonathan Holmes, Demarcus Holland and Kabongo.

It was no different in the Longhorns' regular season finale against Texas Tech. They trotted out the same starting five but it was a pair of sophomores that came off the bench -- Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis -- who they had to thank for their 71-69 triumph over the Red Raiders in Lubbock on Saturday afternoon.

"I told the guys, 'You know, we haven't won two games since December,'" head coach Rick Barnes said. "It's not like they've had a great year. I think it got down to competing and they out-competed us. We got down and we fought back and won the game."

McClellan, the team's leading scorer who has been in and out of head coach Rick Barnes' doghouse all year long, scored a career-high 27 points in the win. Since being held scoreless and playing only seven minutes during a 78-65 loss to Oklahoma State last weekend, McClellan is averaging 25 points per game.

"It doesn't really affect us," McClellan said of him and Lewis not starting. "We've been starting and not starting all season and even last year. Whenever our names get called we just go into the game and try to help our team out."

Lewis scored 15 points off the bench on an unimpressive 4-for-12 shooting from the floor but he came up big when it mattered most. After hitting a pair of three-pointers in the final minutes of regulation, Lewis broke a 69-69 tie by hitting a jumper with 1.7 seconds left in overtime.

"Coach [Barnes] really wanted to get the ball moving a little bit," Lewis said. "He really wanted to get Josh Gray away from the top so one of us could go one-on-one with one of their other players. I waited out until like five seconds and made sure I had enough time to see if I could make the best shot I can. I just took it to my advantage and I went at them."

The bucket allowed Texas to pass West Virginia in the Big 12 standings and earn the No. 7 seed in the Big 12 tournament next week. The Longhorns will face No. 10 seed TCU on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Texas swept the Horned Frogs during the regular season, beating them, 60-43, in Austin on Feb. 2 and again, 68-59, on Feb. 19 in its only road victory of the season until Saturday's triumph in Lubbock.

If Texas beats TCU again Wednesday night in Kansas City, it will face No. 2 seed Kansas State on Thursday.

"We showed heart at the end, McClellan said. "We didn't play hard the whole 40 minutes but we will definitely play harder next time. We came off with the win and that is what we wanted to do."

On Saturday, the Longhorns won their third straight overtime game since Kabongo's return from his 23-game suspension. They were 0-3 in overtime contests before he came back. Kabongo struggled shooting, going 0-for-12 from the floor.

With three seconds left in regulation and Texas trailing by one point, Kabongo was fouled and given a chance to put the Longhorns on top. Instead, he missed the first of two free throws and hit the second to send the game to overtime. Kabongo scored seven points, grabbed nine rounds, dished out four assists and recorded three steals while committing five turnovers in the win.

Texas improved to 5-3 with Kabongo on the floor despite trailing by as many 17 points in the first half. The Longhorns, down 34-17 with 5:29 to go in the first half, went on a 22-5 run over the next 10 minutes, holding the Red Raiders to 1-for-11 shooting and forcing five turnovers during that stretch. But they didn't take a lead until after regulation.

"We were not very effective in the first half," Barnes said. "They drove the ball at will and they went by anybody and everybody they wanted to go by... But we fought back and the press definitely helped us. There is no doubt about that."

Texas shot just 33.9 percent from the floor but outrebounded Texas Tech, 40-29, and was helped by the Raiders missing 17 free throws. The Longhorns, who beat Baylor, 79-70, in their last home game of the year Monday night, will look to extend their winning streak to three games next Wednesday. They haven't won three games in a row since victories over Mississippi State (Nov. 21), Sam Houston State (Nov. 27) and UT-Arlington (Dec. 1).

Texas will have to win the Big 12 tournament, which would mean extending that streak to six games, to earn a 15th straight NCAA Tournament berth.

Sophomore Sheldon McClellan goes up for a shot past a Baylor defendor during Texas’ Monday night win. McClellan scored 23 points off the bench for the Longhorns as the struggling Texas team celebrated Senior Night on its last home game of the season. 

 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Baylor was the team that desperately needed a win. Texas, with no hope of earning a NCAA Tournament at-large bid, was the team with nothing to lose. 

But on Senior Night, it was the Longhorns who came out on top. For the first time this year, they had three players score more than 15 points in a game, as beating Baylor, 79-70, at the Frank Erwin Center on Monday night. 

Was it the Longhorns’ best performance this year?

“From a team standpoint, mentally and physically, no doubt,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “They never flinched. That’s the way we want to play.” 

The Longhorns are now 4-3 since Myck Kabongo’s return. He scored 19 points and had eight assists, while committing just one turnover.

Sheldon McClellan played just seven minutes and was held scoreless in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State, marking the third time McClellan played fewer than 10 minutes this year and didn’t score.

McClellan scored at least 15 points in each of the last two games following contests where we was held scoreless. On Monday he scored 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including a 3-for-6 mark from beyond the arc. 

“I don’t really think about it,” McClellan said of being benched. “I just move on to the next game and help my team get a win.”

Ioannis Papapetrou scored a career-high 18 points Monday, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and knocking down a pair of three-pointers, none bigger than the one he drilled with 4:13 to play in the second half. 

On a night the Longhorns honored their two lone seniors, Andrew Dick and Dean Melchionni, both former walk-ons, it was a pair of freshmen who combined for the play of the game. 

With Texas holding a one-point lead, Papapetrou missed a layup, but Cameron Ridley tipped out the rebound to Papapetrou, who calmly knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to give the Longhorns a 61-57 lead. Texas never trailed again. 

“We knew we had a mismatch with me playing forward and a bigger guy guarding me, so I was trying to drive and get a layup,” Papapetrou said. “When Cam was getting the rebound, I was going out. When he passed me the ball, I was open. I didn’t hesitate.”

The Longhorns still need to win the Big 12 tournament to reach their 15th straight NCAA Tournament.

But for now, they can celebrate what may have been the decisive blow to Baylor’s chances of playing in the Big Dance.

“There will probably be two or three teams that you haven’t talked about that are going to do something that’s not expected,” Barnes said. “It happens every year. Are we capable of doing that? No question.”

Why Texas Won-  Myck Kabongo rebounded from an off-game and turned the Longhorns’ offense up a notch. His eight assists helped spread out the Baylor defense and as his teammates knocked down shots, Kabongo also continued to penetrate the lane and score at will. Sheldon McClellan didn’t start the game, but his 23 points off the bench set the tone for Texas offensively. Ioannis Papapetrou’s career-high 18 points gave the Longhorns the scoring punch they have been searching for all year.

 

First Half- Kabongo and McClellan combined to score 20 of the Longhorns’ 36 first-half points. Cameron Ridley came out of his shell, making strong moves around the basket that led to eight free throw attempts. While he only hit four of those attempts, Ridley was in the center of the action and showed some signs of promise with the offseason looming. Baylor’s Pierre Jackson led all scorers at the break with 13 points, as the Bears ended the half down two points.

 

Second Half- McClellan and Papapetrou scored 27 combined second-half points as the Longhorns retained better possession of the ball on offense. Texas coughed the ball up just twice in the second half and continued making shots when it needed them. Ridley made a couple of huge plays late in the game, including a nasty one-handed stuff in Isaiah Austin’s face. Austin scored 15 points for the Bears and Jackson finished with 22. 

 

Stock Up-

Ridley- The freshman’s final line of eight points and five rebounds doesn’t jump off the page, but his hustle is what made a difference in the game. Ridley’s four offensive rebounds were a game high and he seemed to thrive around the rim, even making a dive for a ball heading out of bounds before he tipped it to Papapetrou for a big three-pointer.  

 

By the numbers-

7-3 The Longhorns’ record when McClellan and Papapetrou both reach double-figure scoring. Their 41 combined points Monday are the most by the pair this season.

8- The lowest turnover total for Texas this year. Their previous low came Feb. 19 at TCU with nine turnovers.  

4- Minutes played for freshman Javan Felix, a season low. 

 

What’s Next- The Longhorns will land in Lubbock this weekend for their final conference game of the regular season. A win against the Red Raiders would lift the Longhorns’ record to just a game below .500, likely increasing their seed in the Big 12 Tournament.