• Sophomore Julien Lewis to transfer from Texas

    Sophomore Julien Lewis was granted a release and will transfer from the program Texas announced through Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

    Lewis is the fourth Longhorn to leave Texas this semester. Sophomores Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond announced their intents to transfer in March and Sophomore Myck Kabongo declared for the NBA draft last month.

    The Longhorns finished this past season with a record of 16-18 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time under Texas head coach Rick Barnes.

    Lewis started in 21 games for the Longhorns this past season averaging 11.2 points per game. The sophomore from Galveston, TX shot .398 from the field and .351 beyond the 3-point arc this past season. 

  • Texas blanks Texas Southern in doubleheader

    The Longhorns blanked Texas Southern in a doubleheader sweep Saturday. The Texas pitching staff combined for a no-hitter in a 4-0 Game 1 victory before the offense took over in a 12-0 Game 2 victory later in the afternoon.

    Sophomore Parker French started on the mound in Game 1 and threw three innings before freshman Travis Duke came in with two innings of relief. Junior Corey Knebel recorded his ninth save with four strikeouts across two innings in the shortened seven inning game. Texas gave up no hits across seven innings.

    The Texas offense registered 11 hits with four runs in the first game of the doubleheader. Four Longhorns each registered two hits on the afternoon with junior Ty Marlow going 1-for-2 with two RBI.

    The Longhorns continued in game two with 12 hits highlighted by a seven run second inning. Seven runs is the most runs scored in a single inning so far this season for the Longhorns.  Freshman Taylor Stell headlined with two RBI and a 3-for-4 effort. Brooks Marlow, Mark Payton and Jeremy Montalbano each contributed two RBI to the Longhorn’s offensive production.

    On the mound, the Texas pitching staff surrendered only one hit across the nine inning game. Dillon Peters threw three as the starter with only one it. Nathan Thornhill threw four in relief before Josh Urban came in to close in the eighth.

    The Longhorns head to TCU on Thursday for a three game series to conclude the 2013 season. Currently the Longhorns are sitting last in the Big 12. With a sweep of TCU this weekend, the Longhorns would move to 9-15 in conference play with a chance to qualify for the Big 12 tournament at the end of May in Oklahoma City. 

  • Houston Texans NFL Draft analysis: Was WR DeAndre Hopkins the right pick at No. 27?

    First Round: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

    In last week’s blog I made a case for Terrance Williams as a better candidate for the wide receiver role in Houston than Hopkins. It was a minority opinion, but I still stand by it. However, that does not mean Hopkins was a bad selection. Hopkins was a great selection.

    The Texans needed a wide receiver to fill the role left open by the release of Kevin Walter, and DeAndre Hopkins should be able to exceed it. As one of the most dynamic receivers from the ACC, Hopkins will be expected to become the complimentary threat to Andre Johnson that Lestar Jean and DeVier Posey have so far failed to become.

    If Hopkins can fulfill those expectations, the Houston Texans will have their most effective wide receiver core in their short history. Keshawn Martin would be dedicated primarily as a third/slot receiver; and if Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels can remain healthy, Matt Schaub will have plenty of options.

    Second Round: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina

    It would have been a wasted opportunity if Houston did not draft a safety to back up Ed Reed. Not only did they need depth at the position, but a team does not always have a future hall of famer on their roster to mentor those at his position. Houston took the opportunity by drafting Swearinger.

    I don’t know what it is about Houston and drafting defensive backs from South Carolina (Dunta Robinson, Fred Bennett), but it has worked out so far. With two interceptions in the 2012 season, including a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown against Arkansas, Swearinger has playmaking ability. Known for his physical play, that should help him translate into Wade Phillips’ man coverage defensive schemes.

    Swearinger probably won’t show up on the starting depth chart for a few seasons, but he could become an impactful nickelback in the meantime.

    Third Round: Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina / Sam Montgomery, OLB, LSU

    The Texans offensive line was both outstanding and struggling. The whole left side of the line was elected to the Pro Bowl. The right side struggled for consistency with the injury of right tackle Derek Newton and the shuffle at right guard between Ben Jones and Antoine Caldwell.

    Brennan Williams will be expected to strengthen that right side, providing Schaub more consistent protection and less reliance to run to the left side of the ball.

    With the injury to Brian Cushing last season, the Texans found they needed some depth. By selecting Montgomery (and even Trevardo Williams in the fourth round) the Texans now have an option of moving Brooks Reed to the inside. Montgomery will have a similar role to Whitney Mercilus’ last season. But in the future, if Montgomery can fulfill expectations, he will be able to take over Reed’s position and allow the move.

    Fourth-Sixth Rounds: Trevardo Williams, DE, UConn / David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose State / Alan Bonner, WR, Jax State / Christopher Jones, DT, Bowling Green / Ryan Griffin, TE, UConn

    Trough the rest of the draft, the Texans reiterated their needs at wide receiver, offensive line and outside linebacker. But with the selection of Christopher Jones, Houston also gave some support to the nose tackle position.

    Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell have played adequate roles in the line’s center. NFL teams do not strive for adequacy. Since it was not a large issue, a nose tackle was not selected in the earlier rounds. As MAC Defensive Player of the Year with 12.5 sacks last season, Jones just may be a steal for the Texans.

  • Longhorns sign guard Martez Walker, giving them four Class of 2013 signees

    The Longhorns signed Pershing (Detroit, Mich.) guard Martez Walker to a letter of intent, Texas announced Thursday.

    Walker, a three-star prospect, according to rivals.com becomes the fourth player to sign with the Longhorns this year, joining fellow guards Demarcus Croaker, Isaiah Taylor and Kendal Yancy. Walker averaged 20.4 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior last season, earning a spot on the Detroit Free Press Class A All-State First Team. Pershing went 46-4 over the past two seasons, including a 22-0 record in conference play and a 25-1 mark last year, when Walker led the Doughboys to the Michigan Class A state quarterfinals.

    "Martez is an unorthodox player who has a knack for scoring," head coach Rick Barnes said. "The thing that gives him a chance to be really good at our level is his competitive nature. Like most young guys, he'll have to get stronger. When he does, his ability to score the basketball along with his mental toughness and passion to compete will allow him to be very successful."

    Three of Texas' five sophomores from last season have since left the program, with Myck Kabongo declaring for the NBA Draft and Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond electing to transfer. Jonathan Holmes and Julien Lewis, who also contemplated transferring, are the only two rising juniors on the Longhorns' roster, which included six freshmen on scholarship last season. Texas will be a young team again next season and may need some of its four freshmen (Walker, Croaker, Taylor and Yancy) to contribute immediately.

    "When you take a look at this four-player class as a whole, we obviously made a concerted effort to improve our skill and athleticism on the perimeter," Barnes said. "We also believe we've added some natural scoring ability to our team. Our staff is excited to begin working with these four young men on campus this summer and see them mesh with our returning players, who have really worked hard and improved this spring."

  • NBA Playoffs: Warriors working their postseason magic once again

    External, unseen forces aren’t usually at work during NBA basketball games, but the Golden State Warriors appear to have become the exception to that.

    The days of Sleepy Floyd putting up 50 points against Magic Johnson and the Lakers are far behind us. The RUN TMC era that Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullen created is pretty far removed from us as well. Even the Warriors' last magical run in the playoffs when they beat top-seeded Dallas Mavericks as an eighth seeded team happened in 2007. Though your memory might tell you otherwise, that series was actually seven years ago.

    But the Warriors are back, and it looks like they brought some of that playoff magic with them.

    And as crazy as it seems for assuming the Warriors have some sort of playoff aura around them, it’s kind of hard to argue with the way history looks.

    Don’t get me wrong, Stephen Curry is on an incredible streak and may be cementing himself as one of the best players in the league, and at the very least, he’s proven he is the best shooter in the game of basketball. But, I don’t want to be the one to deny that some sort of playoff magic is helping the Warriors. And this has been going on for years.

    This isn’t simply an acknowledgement of a few major events in playoff history. The Warriors only title was in 1975 when a Rick Barry-led squad swept the Washington Bullets. What shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, however, is that the '75 Warriors were considered heavily as the underdogs. Many people in the basketball world actually believe the '75 Warriors performed the biggest upset in NBA history. This isn’t a new occurrence, this is just who the Golden State Warriors are.

    And that brings us back to this team. The Stephen Curry led Warriors are one home game away from advancing to the second round and they’ve already made sure to leave a few lasting memories. 

    Stephen Curry did his best impersonation of Davidson Stephen Curry and threw in 22 points in the third quarter of game four against the Nuggets. And in game five the Warriors almost came back from a 27 point deficit.

    The way history has shaped already, it’s looking fairly grim for the Denver Nuggets to make it out of the first round. With a notably weaker team after the loss of Danilo Gallinari as well, the stage looks perfectly set for the Golden State Warriors to add another chapter to their compilation of playoff stories. 

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