By Steve Lansdale
Center James Banks of Decatur, Ga., and guard Jacob Young of Houston became the first two players to sign national letters of intent to play for first-year University of Texas men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart.
“We are very excited about the foundation we are laying for the future of Texas Basketball," Smart said. "Our program centers around competitiveness and enthusiasm, and both James Banks and Jacob Young embody those traits."
The 6-10, 235-pound Banks is the No. 45 overall prospect in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 56 overall and sixth-ranked center in the nation by ESPN. He averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds per game in his junior season while playing for Mount Vernon Presbyterian School (Atlanta, Ga.).
"James is a terrific frontcourt prospect who possesses size, touch and an innate ability to rebound and block shots," Smart said. "His strong work ethic and desire to be great will help him become a major force in our program."
The 6-1, 175-pound Young, who plays at Yates High School in Houston, is ranked as the No. 85 overall prospect and 13th-best shooting guard in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 91 overall recruit by Rivals.com. He earned Class 5A all-state honors from the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) as a junior while leading Yates to an 18-9 overall record and a trip to the regional semifinals of the state tournament. In his sophomore year, Young helped pace Yates to a 24-7 mark and a trip to the Class 4A state championship game.
"Jacob is an explosive combo guard with major shot-making ability," Smart said. "His work ethic, competitiveness and passion for the game will fit extremely well in our program."