Texas prepares for last game before Myck Kabongo's return as Oklahoma State visits the Erwin Center
Myck Kabongo's comeback is near.
And with all the talk surrounding the suspended point guard's return next Wednesday against Iowa State, you'd think the Longhorns had forgotten about tomorrow's crucial matchup against Oklahoma State, who bring a 16-5 record to the Erwin Center, having won five out of its last six.
"We're taking it one game at a time," guard Julien Lewis said Friday. "Javan [Felix]'s our point guard right now and we'll be ready for Myck next week when he steps in."
Head coach Rick Barnes spoke about the possibility of playing both of the point-guards when Kabongo returns, emphasizing that Javan Felix could become more of a defensive force with Kabongo taking control of the offense. According to Julien Lewis, both guards haven't had much playing time together, as Felix plays with the starters and Kabongo runs the practice squad. Lewis thinks they can play together, though, saying it "would be fun to see." For Felix, Kabongo's return will naturally affect the role he has with the team, but he was adamant that the thought of Kabongo coming back wasn't taking away from his preparation for tomorrow's game, and whatever role Barnes has in store for him he would embrace
"As long as we win, I'll be alright," Felix said.
As for Oklahoma State, both the players and coach Barnes said that Texas' recent success against this team wont be a factor, even as both teams are going in different directions.
"I don't think our guys think about the past too much, they stay present," Barnes said, "It's not going to be on their minds."
Felix echoed Barnes, saying it hasn't affected their preparation at all. Much of the talk of the Cowboys centered around the freshman combo of Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, who Felix called "good players" — Forte being a "knock-down shooter" while Smart "makes everything go." Lewis agreed, but cautioned that Smart is prone to charging, and that would be something to focus on while on the defensive end.
"All of these games are must-win now," Barnes said.
Even though a "new season," according to Lewis, starts next week when Kabongo is back in the starting lineup, it may not make much of a difference in the long run if Texas doesn't win tomorrow and keep its slim chances of an NCAA tournament berth alive for at least another week.