AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Rodney Terry probably figured the hard part was done when he earned the job as the full-time coach at Texas after a season of turmoil.
Weeks later, Terry is dealing with a lineup going through its own upheaval with key departures, transfers and players testing the NBA draft waters. And so far, no one has said they are transferring to Texas.
The latest move came Thursday when incoming freshman guard A.J. Johnson, a top recruit Terry said he'd been instrumental in signing, announced he's turning pro in Australia.
“I love coach Terry, that’s my guy,” Johnson told 247Sports. “If I was going to college. I would definitely want to be coached by him and would go to Texas for sure. I just felt like this pro route was the best decision for me."
A Texas team spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But the loss of a 6-foot-5 combo guard talented enough to be considered a potential high NBA draft pick in 2025, is yet another subtraction from a program that just had its deepest run in NCAA Tournament run since 2008.
Ron Holland, a McDonald’s All-American from the Dallas area, is currently Texas’ only 2023 signee who will join the program for next season.
Terry took over the Texas program on an interim basis when Chris Beard was first suspended, then fired, following a December felony domestic violence arrest. The charge was dismissed in February and Beard was hired at Mississippi.
Terry held together a lineup dominated by fifth- and sixth-year players and took the Longhorns deep into the NCAA Tournament. The school rewarded him in late March by naming him the full-time coach with a five-year contract starting at $3 million per year.
Texas knew it would lose Marcus Carr, Sir'Jabari Rice, Christian Bishop and Timmy Allen, all players who had run out of college eligibility. But since then, guard Arterio Morris entered the transfer portal and guard Rowan Brumbaugh announced he'll transfer to Georgetown.
Morris was another high school all-American who figured to be a key player for Texas next season.
Guard Tyrese Hunter and forward Dillon Mitchell said they will enter the NBA draft without giving up their college eligibility, meaning they could return to school if they don't like their potential draft status.
Dillon's statement posted on social media Wednesday sounded like a farewell to Texas, even if he doesn't turn pro.
“Thank you to my brothers in burnt orange. I'll be forever grateful for have shared the court with you guys," Mitchell said. “We accomplished greatness this season and it's been an experience I'll never forget. Love y'all.”
All of it leaves Terry with some serious work to do in the transfer portal. As of Thursday, Texas graduate guard Brock Cunningham is the only player returning from last season's regular rotation.
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