In a 12-hour span Tuesday, Texas changed the trajectory of its 2021-22 season.
New coach Chris Beard and the Longhorns landed commitments from Utah transfer Timmy Allen and Kentucky transfer Devin Askew, while junior guard Andrew Jones also announced he will return to Austin for another season.
Allen was the big coup. A 6-foot-6 playmaking forward from Arizona, he was one of the best transfers in the portal this spring. He earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors after averaging 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He had eight games of 20 or more points, had four double-doubles and dished out 10 assists in a game against Washington in January.
Askew, a 6-foot-3 point guard from California, started 20 games as a freshman at Kentucky this past season. He was a five-star prospect in the 2020 class, reclassifying from 2021 shortly after committing to the Wildcats. He averaged 6.5 points and 2.9 assists but struggled to make shots from the perimeter and had issues taking care of the ball on a consistent basis.
Jones’ decision to return to Austin gives Beard some continuity within the program. Jones will be entering his sixth year, having missed most of two seasons due to being diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018 and undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
“After thoughtful consideration with my family, God and the new coaching staff, I’m back for another year,” Jones wrote on Twitter.
Jones averaged 14.6 points and 4.5 rebounds last season, starting all 26 games for the Longhorns.
On Monday, senior guard Jase Fabres announced he was planning to take advantage of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility and return to Texas for another season. An effective outside shooter, Fabres averaged 5.2 points and shot 39.2% from 3 in 13 games last season.
When Beard took over for Shaka Smart on April 1, he entered an uncertain roster situation in Austin. Four players had entered the transfer portal since the start of the season, and another player, Kamaka Hepa, would enter a few days after Beard was hired. ESPN 100 signee Tamar Bates also reopened his recruitment.
With Jones and Fabres back in the fold, and Allen and Askew joining the program, Beard now has pieces upon which to build for next season. Potential first-round picks Kai Jones and Greg Brown could end up leaving, as could seniors Matt Coleman III and Jericho Sims, but the Longhorns have a capable core on the perimeter and are in pursuit of options up front.