Freshman guard Avery Bradley is going to be a one-and-done player at Texas, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Bradley, who has not yet hired an agent, nevertheless will some time in the next few days announce that he will leave his name in consideration for the NBA Draft unless something drastic happens to change his mind, the source said. Bradley and others who submitted their names for early entry have until Saturday to either opt out or stay in.
How will this affect the Longhorns next season? Well, it would have been nice to have him, but my feeling is just not that much. Personally, though I appreciated some of his talent, I failed to see why so many thought he was the No.1 high school senior in the country a year ago. Sure, he could play defense -- sometimes. But I thought he was a timid offensive player most of the season and had no talent whatsoever to make an acceptable entry pass.
A good kid. Hard worker. Not a franchise player. And not a lottery pick. He would do better to play another year and he may know that, but has too many people whispering in his ear otherwise.
Bradley’s loss I believe will more than be compensated for, and I have several reasons to believe that.
First, the signing of Cory Joseph. Rick Barnes believes that Joseph -- a point guard who has demonstrated the ability to both shoot and score the ball -- is also an innate leader. The fact that he has played with incoming 6-foot-9 forward Tristan Thompson is another huge boost because he knows how to get the ball to Thompson where he can do the most with it.
Texas is also in the running for Georgia’s Mr. Basketball, and McDonald’s and ESPN/Rise All-American 6-foot-8 forward Marcus J. Thornton, who originally committed to Clemson but received his release after Oliver Purnell took the job at DePaul.
The return of injured guard Varez Ward and good-for-depth-and-defense Dogus Balbay is also a plus, as could be the advancement of injured freshman Shawn Williams -- though I’m taking a wait-and-see on that.But the spring that mercurial freshman Jordan Hamilton is having could have an impact equal to Joseph’s signing. Hamilton, surprising to some I’d guess, never had the fantasy that he was NBA ready -- which should tell you something. And Barnes is overjoyed at Hamilton’s transformation this spring. Barnes judges Hamilton the most impressive player on his roster right now. Barnes also says post Alexis Wangmene, who in my mind has always been his own worst enemy, is also making strides.
J’Covan Brown? Talented, basically a good person. But he reminds me a little of Willie Warren -- it’s always come too easy for him despite his commendable perseverance to get academically qualified. Because of Texas’ backcourt problems that began with the loss of Ward, Barnes had to play him last season. He won’t have to next season if things progress as expected. And if Brown doesn’t figure that out, he’ll have plenty of time to sit on the bench and contemplate. In Austin or maybe somewhere else.
-- Mike Jones