the 2015 NBA

Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor led the Longhorns in points per game and assists per game last season and will be leading the charge for Shaka Smart’s new offensive and defensive schemes.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Shaka Smart’s to-do list got a little shorter Saturday night.

After weeks of speculation surrounding sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor’s future plans, Taylor announced late Saturday that he will return for his junior year and remain a key part of the Longhorns’ roster for Smart’s inaugural season.

“Glad to be a Longhorn! Feels good. Looking to get this new era started. Love the guys on the team. Spending another year with my teammates and coaching staff is a great feeling,” Taylor posted on his Instagram account Saturday.

Taylor continued working out with teammates and participating in team activities after the Longhorns’ season ended last month, even as rumors swirled that he would declare for the NBA Draft like his former teammate, Myles Turner. 

Taylor said his new relationship with Smart helped keep him in Austin. The 6-foot-1 guard had multiple conversations about his future with Smart after Texas’ season ended in March against Butler. Eventually, he decided staying another season was his best choice.

“When it all came down to it, I didn’t want to leave my teammates and not be a part of something I feel can be special,” Taylor said in a statement. 

Underclassmen had until the 10:59 p.m. Sunday to make their final choice on declaring for the draft. Taylor said he received a late first- or early second-round draft grade from NBA evaluators. He is also listed as the No. 27-ranked sophomore on DraftExpress. 

Taylor began the 2014-15 season with high hopes, but a wrist injury at the beginning of the year derailed his production. Despite the adversity, Taylor finished his sophomore campaign with a team-leading 13.1 points per game and 4.6 assists per game.

“Really excited about the opportunity to coach Isaiah next season,” Smart said in a statement. “We’ve had the chance to work out on the court several times over the past few weeks, and his commitment to improvement has been terrific. We are looking forward to Isaiah being a tremendous leader for our team!”

Texas forward Myles Turner announced Monday that he will declare for the 2015 NBA draft. Turner averaged 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes per game during his freshman year at Texas.
Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Texas freshman forward Myles Turner announced early Monday through Twitter and a YouTube video that he will be entering his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“My name is Myles Turner, UT alum, and I’ve decided to forgo my education and enter my name into the 2015 NBA draft,” Turner said in the video.

Turner, who was as a one-and-done candidate as soon as he put on his burnt orange bucket hat and committed to the University of Texas last spring, is a projected lottery pick.

“It’s really hard to say goodbye, but this is a decision I had to make,” Turner said. “I will forever be indebted to the Longhorns fans and the University of Texas.”

Turner, who came to Texas as a five-star prospect, never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him so early in his career, despite earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and finding a spot on the All-Big 12 third team.

He averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just 22.2 minutes per game, with most of his big games coming against weaker competition, such as St. Francis and Lipscomb, in which he scored 25 and 26, respectively.

Turner led the Big 12 in blocks, and he was consistent throughout the season with his quick, face-up, high-release jumper from the post.  

“I love the University, love the atmosphere here,” Turner said in the video. “Great education, great people, great basketball program and facilities — given everything I need to succeed.”

Turner turned 19 years old last week after playing the full season at age 18. His announcement came a day after head coach Rick Barnes officially left the program after 17 years.