The Longhorns will have high expectations for the 2017–18 season, coming into the year ranked No. 6 in the nation per the AP Poll. Here are the top four storylines from Texas’ offseason following head coach Karen Aston’s remarks to the media on Monday.
Freshman trio will have an impact on the team
The five-star freshman trio of Destiny Littleton, Rellah Boothe and Chasity Patterson have put on a show since arriving on campus. The three players were all among the top 50 high school players in the nation, with the latter two within the top five. Patterson, a point guard, was already named the Big 12’s preseason freshman of the year. Aston has already taken notice of the trio’s talents.
“They’re very gifted. Each one of them in their own ways can bring a lot to the table, especially offensively because they just have a lot of skill,” Aston said. “The key for them is just to continue to try to learn and process everything because it’s a lot for a freshman. But if they’ll take each day seriously and try to improve, I think they will help our team.”
Holmes not eligible for a return until December
Sophomore Joyner Holmes has participated in the team’s fall activities but is not eligible to return to the team until December due to a University violation. The former All-Big 12 first-teamer and conference freshman of the year would have been in the discussion for multiple preseason honors, but Holmes won’t be able to meet that challenge again until Dec. 23 when she is reinstated.
“I am firmly convinced that (Holmes) will learn and grow through this process,” Aston said. “We will welcome her back with open arms when she returns in December.”
White will finally have her shot
South Carolina transfer Jatarie White will at long last be able to compete for the Longhorns. The 6-foot-4 junior and Big 12 preseason newcomer of the year sat out last season due to transfer rules, but White is now eligible to step foot on the court for the team this fall.
“(Jatarie) has maturity,” Aston said. “She has played at this level before and been in our program for a year, so she definitely knows what to expect every day. … I do think that she is a low-post presence that we haven’t had in awhile.”
Atkins, McCarty lead Texas
The No. 6 Longhorns are headed by two of the most dynamic players in the nation in seniors Ariel Atkins and Brooke McCarty. Both women were All-Big 12 selections last year, while McCarty also won Big 12 player of the year.
The two are the heartbeat of the Longhorns and the main reasons that Texas has earned a No. 6 ranking. When asked who the team’s leaders were, Aston answered without hesitation that they were “clear-cut Ariel and Brooke.”
Expect a big year out of both of these women as they will try to not only bring a Big 12 title back to Austin, but also make another run at the national championship in their final season with the burnt orange.