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March 30, 2013

Horns land four-star point guard

At this point in the recruiting process it's tough to find uncommitted, talented, four-star players. By now, they've likely been snatched up by a school, or have already signed. At one point Kendal Yancy-Harris was one of those signed players on his way to USC. However, a coaching change at USC led to Yancy-Harris opening his recruitment again and the Longhorns benefited big time, as Rick Barnes and Co. struck gold late in the recruiting process when the Richardson Berkner combo guard committed to Texas Saturday afternoon.

Yancy-Harris arrived in Austin on Wednesday for his official visit to Texas, and it didn't take long for him to make a commitment to Texas. The combo guard knew even before he visited that's where he wanted to be, and getting a second chance in the recruiting process allowed him to get to where he wanted to.

"They were like great, and excited," Yancy-Harris said about the Texas coaching staff. "They pretty much already had the idea [I was going to commit] because we were talking about it a couple days before the official. I was just holding off getting more of a feel of the atmosphere and stuff. I always kind of wanted to go to Texas. It was like a dream school. It's a big school. It's the number one school in Texas. I wanted to play there. They've (Texas) been recruiting me for a while. I just committed so early [to USC] I couldn't tell who wanted me or not. I kind of gambled a little bit. I de-committed and hoped Texas was one of those schools. Not many people get a second chance like that. Deep down I was really hoping Texas was involved."

Sometimes it just takes a while (and a big break) for things to work out. Texas and Yancy-Harris felt like it would happen early in the process, and it eventually did happen after a unique set of events.

"Things eventually have a way of working themselves out and that certainly appears to be the case with Kendal Yancy-Harris and Texas," Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi said. "I've long been of the opinion that Yancy-Harris wanted to go to Texas out of the summer but things just didn't work out between the two parties. Now they have and I think to the benefit of both."

As for the visit, a number of things stood out to Yancy-Harris, who got a chance to hang out with the Texas players and visit with the coaching staff extensively.

"It was fun. It was real fun," said the newest UT commitment about the visit. "I got to chill with the players and got real close to the coaching staff. I got to check out the Longhorn Network. That was pretty cool. I went downtown and got to meet some players and chill with them. It was fun to experience to atmosphere. I got to go around the practice facilities and see how the coaches coach and what they expect out of their players."

For Demarcus Croaker, it was a trip to Hopdoddy that stood out the most on his visit. For Yancy-Harris, it was a trip to Cover 3 with Rick Barnes.

"I went to Cover 3," stated the guard about one part of his official visit. "That's one of the things that stood out the most. Coach Barnes got me on some mini-burgers. It was good. It was real nice. And the environment in Austin was fun. The people treated us well."

With an all-around game and some size at the guard spot, the four-star prospect can contribute in a lot of ways at Texas. And he's looking forward to making an impact right away.

"I think he likes my size a lot," Yancy-Harris said about Barnes. "Being able to do what I can do. Just being a student of the game. He can tell I really want to listen. They first off said they really didn't have a big guard like myself that can run the one and a combo that can do a lot of things. They expect me to lead the team. If I need to score, I score. If I need to defend, I defend. He's not expecting me to be just another player. He expects me to come in and make a difference. There's no waiting. Just because I'm a freshman doesn't mean I'm supposed to play like a freshman. Age doesn't make a difference."

Rated as the No. 109 prospect overall in the 2013 Rivals150, Yancy-Harris, who cited Chris Ogden as his main recruiting, is a talented guard with an all-around game. Although he'll be just a freshman next season, he should be a contributor, and could play at a level beyond his age.
"What I like about Yancy-Harris is that you know exactly what to expect out of him," stated Bossi about Texas' newest commitment. "He has good size, can play multiple positions in the backcourt, doesn't make a lot of mistakes and is a hard worker who doesn't have a huge ego or need to get a ton of shots. Different players to be sure, but I think in an ideal world the Longhorns staff hope he could ultimately have the presence and calming effect on the Horns similar to the one Travis Releford has had at Kansas late in his career."

Prospects that go on visits continued to be amazed by Texas strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

"He just looked at me and could tell my whole high school background," Yancy-Harris said about Wright with a laugh. "He was like a magician or something. He said you had some problems here and there and I was like, 'How do you know that?' He said he could tell just by looking and watching me move."

With the departure of Sheldon McClellan and the possibility of Myck Kabongo leaving for the NBA, the Longhorns needed to pick up some guards that can make an early impact. They locked up a point guard early by getting Isaiah Taylor, landed a combo guard that specializes in scoring in Croaker, and now added a combo guard with size that can fit numerous roles on the floor. You simply don't find talented four-star guards like Yancy-Harris and Croaker late in the process.

"Picking up Yancy-Harris and Demarcus Croaker late is pretty good work by the Texas staff," Bossi, a longtime basketball recruiting analyst said. "Yancy-Harris is the steady, solid guy while Croaker is the combustible athlete who still has a lot of raw potential. Many times in the spring staffs are left scrambling for crumbs and they've been able to nab a pair of four-star prospects."


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