1997 Team Report
Frontcourt: After an up-and-down freshman season, Gabe Muoneke showed
what kind of powerful inside force he can be in the NCAA Tournament, scoring
19 points with 12 rebounds in the season-ending loss to Louisville. He played
at 230 pounds last season and will play at 245 this season. Filling in around
Muoneke is less certain, although coach Tom Penders has high hopes for 7-footer
Chris Mihm (Texas' tallest recruit in 10 years) and his high school teammate Luke
Axtell. Freshman Lamar Wright likely will get time behind Muoneke. JC transfer
Marlon Drakes is an above-average defensive center.
Backcourt: Speaking of defense, Kris Clack was the only sophmore named to
the Big 12 All-Defense Team last year. Though only 6-5, he led the Longhorns
in blocks and was second in rebounding. Penders will give Clack time at off-guard,
but depending on his outside touch, Clack could also see time at forward. The
backcourt could be loaded and quick enough to allow Texas to get back to its
running, pressing style. Anthony Goode should take over at the point, but he
could be challenged by recruit Bernard Smith. Either should allow DeJuan Vasquez
to move from the point, giving Texas a strong defensive backcourt combination.
It also would allow Brandy Perryman to return to his designated-guner role.
Keys to success: The Longhorns need their young men, especially Mihm, to grow
up quickly. If they do, and the greyhounds do the rest, Texas will challenge
Oklahoma for the division crown.
Outlook: Penders will have to mix in his best recruiting class quickly, and
likely will rely on Mihm in the middle. But with either Goode or Smith at the point,
Penders can begin trapping and pressing again. That would enable the Longhorns to
more easily make up for Reggie Freeman's departure.
Coach: Tom Penders(194-93, 9 years;
464-302 overall, 26 years; 12-9 NCAA
1996-1997 record:18-12. Big 12 South:
10-6/T1st. Lost to Louisville in NCAA
Starters lost(2): Reggie Freeman, G
(21.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.8spg, 76.9
FT%, 38.4 mpg); Dennis Jordan, C (5.9 ppg,
3.8 rpg, 53.8 FG%, 22.1 mpg).
Others lost: Al Coleman, G (8.7 ppg,
73.3 FT%, 39.1 3-pt%, 19.3 mpg);
Sheldon Quarles, C (4.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg,
Starters returning(3): Kris Clack, G/F,
6-5/Jr. (12.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.6spg, 1.0 bpg,
27.6 mpg); Gabe Muoneke, F, 6-7/Soph.
(5.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 53.6 FG%, 15.2 mpg);
Dejuan Vasquez, G, 6-4/Jr. (4.5 ppg, 20.0 mpg).
Top newcomers: Luke Axtell, F, 6-9/Fr.;
Wendell Carter, G/F, 6-9/Jr (JC); Marlon
Drakes, F/C, 6-8/Jr. (JC); Chris Mihm, C,
7-0/Fr.; Bernard Smith, G, 6-3/Fr.; Lamar
Wright, F, 6-8/Fr.
Last League title: 1995 (tie,SWC).
Last time didn't make NCAA field: 1993.
Home court: Erwin Center (16,042).