Texas guard J'Covan Brown torched Rhode Island yesterday. The junior guard had 6 assists and 0 turnovers to go along with a career-high 35 points, but yet he still seemed not to be happy with his performance. Why you ask, because he missed two free-throws. That type of leadership, being a perfectionist, will have to come from Brown because the Longhorns lost every starter off of last year's team. Brown averaged 10.4 points per game last season as the team's 6th man, but this year his role has drastically changed. Six of the nine scholarship players on the Texas roster this season are freshman; they'll need Brown to be more than just a scorer if they have any chance to make a tournament run.â†µ
Can Brown be a leader, that remains to be seen, but one thing we do know is he can score in bunches. Brown scored 28 points with 8 assists and just 1 turnover in their only other game against Boston University on Sunday. He'll need to be their Mr. Everything, their Kemba Walker, for Texas to win this year. In addition to all the freshman, this years Texas team only has one player taller than 6-7, that's senior Clint Chapman. Barnes typically gets the most out of his team on the defensive end, but because of his personal, that might not be much. The Longhorns will need to outscore teams to win and that starts with Brown knocking down shots and getting teammates involved. I'm not completely sold on his play-making yet, but I think he's got a great chance to lead the nation in scoring.
The season is very young still, Texas is 2-0, and Brown has been great. It's a long season though, and this much responsibility is a lot to ask from one player who happens to be a starter for the first time. Brown will have to score, distribute, and defend, all while not getting completely worn down by the increase in minutes. It's a tall task, and he'll need his young teammates to grow up in a hurry. If Texas can make a Sweet-16 run it'll likely be because Barnes coached better than he ever has and because his new leader is a National Player of the Year candidate.â†µ
Even if they pull it off, they'll still finish behind Kansas and Baylor. My hope and their goal should be 22+ wins, top 4 in the conference, and 1 tournament win. Can they do more, maybe, but I think what I just laid out would be considered a successful season.