The line to leave the Longhorns basketball program has been so crowded this spring that it’s a wonder nobody got hurt trying to squeeze through the door.
Guard Julien Lewis is the latest to bolt. Lewis, a sophomore guard last season, will transfer to another school, a team spokesman said Tuesday. Lewis was granted a release in April, but he took some time to make a decision, the spokesman said.
With Lewis gone, only forward Jonathan Holmes remains from coach Rick Barnes’ six-player recruiting class that began the 2011-2012 season as freshmen.
Sterling Gibbs transferred to Seton Hall after his freshman season. Lewis, Jaylen Bond and Sheldon McClellan are in the process of transferring. Myck Kabongo entered the NBA draft.
The Longhorns have lost their top three scorers from a team that finished 16-18, missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Barnes’ 15 seasons as coach.
Kabongo averaged 14.6 points, albeit in only 11 games because of an NCAA-imposed suspension. McClellan averaged 13.5 points per game, Lewis 11.2.
Lewis led the team with 53 three-point baskets while starting 21 of the 33 games he played in. He showed some promise down the stretch by matching a career high of 19 points and then setting a new one with 25 in two of his final three games.
If nobody else bolts, Barnes will have seven returning players – Holmes, now a junior, and six sophomores. Barnes added four recruits, all guards, during the spring signing period.
Lewis could have been a go-to guy of sorts as the team’s starting shooting guard next season. With Lewis gone, Demarcus Holland is the only returning shooting guard, a bit of a misnomer. Holland, a frisky defender, shot 34.4 percent from the field. He converted only 8 of 46 three-point attempts – 17.4 percent.
Two of the four recruits are shooting guards — Demarcus Croaker from Orlando, Fla., and Martez Walker from Detroit. Kendal Yancy from Richardson Berkner could play the point or shooting guard.
Croaker told the American-Statesman recently that he had yet to qualify academically but did not anticipate a problem reaching the standard.
The loss of players comes as a time when other Big 12 schools have gained, or maintained, strength.
Kansas has an excellent freshman class that the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country, forward Andrew Wiggins, joined on Tuesday. Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, a possible top-five draft pick had he left for the NBA, elected to remain in school while Baylor forwards Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson also opted to stay in school instead of leaving for the NBA.
With Julien Lewis’ departure, only forward Jonathan Holmes remains from Longhorns coach Rick Barnes’ six-player recruiting class that began the 2011-2012 season as freshmen.
Jaylen Bond: transferring to be closer to his home in Philadelphia.
Sterling Gibbs: transferred to Seton Hall after his freshman season.
Jonathan Holmes: remains with the Longhorns.
Julien Lewis: will transfer.
Myck Kabongo: has entered NBA draft.
Sheldon McClellan: will transfer.