At this time last year, the Horns' starting lineup had Gary Johnson, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Dogus Balbay, and Jordan Hamilton. Their team defense suffocated the opposition to the tune of 62.2 points per game. They made the Big 12 Conference Championship Game and lost to eventual NCAA #1 seed Kansas (per usual). Coming into 2011-12, Texas doesn't have any starters returning. Production has to come from somewhere.
Luckily, the Horns have six talented freshman coming in and one of them is 6-foot-4 guard Sheldon McClellan. I was fortunate enough to be at his high school's first game of last season. That night, McClellan went off for 56 points and the packed gym hollered every time one of his shots went through the net. After five-star recruit Myck Kabongo, McClellan is arguably Texas' most prized recruit and he will be counted on to be productive while trying to replace NBA rookie Jordan Hamilton.
The expectations are high, no doubt. But he will certainly take his lumps. The entire Texas Longhorns basketball team will take their lumps this year. With their tough non-conference and extended Big 12 schedules, the Horns will be tested on many occasions. Hopefully they can hunker down and make this another NCAA Tournament year, which would be nice for Rick Barnes' consecutive tournament streak.