Austin, TX – The Texas Longhorns bounced back from the worst loss of head coach Shaka Smart’s career over the weekend by doing what they haven’t done all season; shoot with confidence. Coming in as the worst three point shooting team in the Big 12 conference, junior guard Kerwin Roach II set the tone early sinking three quick treys within the first five minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the opposing Iowa State Cyclones, sticking to the scouting report and giving the Longhorns space only dug them in a deeper hole as seemingly every player in orange was locked in from deep as the game went on. The nine point halftime lead for Texas got down to five at one point in the second half, but projected lottery pick Mo Bamba took matters into his own hands and became a force on both ends securing the 73-57 win.
Finishing with 24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals, standout freshman Bamba played mean from the tip and it was clear he was still upset from the 35-point loss at the hands of West Virginia. Showcasing more and more of his game as the season goes on, he looked much more comfortable in the offense tonight. His activity was a constant for the Longhorns and five of his six offensive rebounds he was able to put back up and convert amongst several of the Cyclones’ big bodies. While his back to the basket game is still being polished, he has committed to use his left hand making moves to the rim and he has improved his ability to turn over both shoulders and make a baby hook off the glass. On the perimeter, he looked great in making himself available and getting his feet set ready to shoot; he is a decent three point shooter with time and space. He drained two threes from the top of the key in this game.
Other key performers for the Longhorns were Dylan Osetkowski and the previously mentioned Roach II. Osetkowski was active early in the game and made two solid drop-step spin moves in the post for dunks. His inside-out versatility is valuable to the team when Bamba is out of the game. His old school style post game consistently seems to throw off the timing of defenders by biting on shot fakes and up-and-unders. He isn’t a great finisher driving off the dribble but if he can’t make a full move to the basket he has a good knack for utilizing his pivot foot effectively and creating contact to get to the foul line. For Roach, he needs to carry over energy on offense to the defensive end. He has a sound three point shot and his athleticism helps him finish at the basket but his laziness really hurts him. His three turnovers led the team and every single one was a very lackadaisical pass in half-court offense that led to a break-away layup. He has potential as an on-ball defender but he doesn’t seem committed to that end.
For the Cyclones, freshman forward Cameron Lard was impressive even as his team played from behind for the duration of the game. His 6-9 athletic build and length were crucial as he matched up with the taller Bamba for a good portion of the game. He ended with three blocks to complement his 12 points and 12 rebounds. An above average face-up jump shot and running hook were intriguing to see and his overall coordination is sound for a young kid. His defensive work rate was great in this game as he had his hands full with the Texas bigs but he showed his competitiveness. He went for every rebound and got mixed in a number of loose balls while looking like he was hardly breaking a sweat. He was still going strong towards the end of the game and possibly has NBA potential after a few years with his mature work ethic.
Other notable players for ISU were Nick Weiler-Babb and Lindell Wigginton who both scored 15 points. Wigginton showed a lightning quick first step and hit big three pointers as the Cyclones tried for a mid-half run while Weiler-Babb paced the team early with some smooth pull-up jumpers in the first half of play. Weiler-Babb’s size is good at 6-5 and he has great lateral quickness guarding the ball.
This article was written by Keaton Davis, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.