The Texas Longhorns have a bit of a backcourt problem.
The Longhorns lost last season's leading scorer, J'Covan Brown, when the enigmatic shooting guard decided to bolt for the NBA. That was something coach Rick Barnes could plan for.
Now Texas also finds sophomore starting point guard Myck (pronounced Mike) Kabongo under investigation by the NCAA, which has raised questions about his relationship with Rich Paul, the agent of Miami Heat star LeBron James.
That came as a bit of a surprise.
The season starts Nov. 9 against Fresno State. While Kabongo hasn't been declared ineligible and is still allowed to practice with the team, the Longhorns must brace for the possibility that he might miss some games - or the season.
School officials have confirmed that Kabongo, who averaged 9.6 points and had a team-high 176 assists last season, has talked with NCAA investigators. The Longhorns have also taken the precaution of keeping him out of preseason scrimmages against Davidson and Gonzaga.
"It's all in the hands of the NCAA right now. I'm hoping like we all are,'' Barnes said. "Myck's worked really hard as a leader and brings a lot of energy every day. We'll just wait and see.''
Kabongo, a preseason all-Big 12 selection, could be the key to the season for a team that must get a lot from of its freshmen and sophomores if it expects to make a trip to its 15th consecutive NCAA tournament. Texas hasn't played beyond the first weekend of the tournament since losing in the regional final in 2008.
Kabongo can be electric with his speed, but also ran into foul trouble a lot last season and spent valuable minutes on the bench. If he is ruled ineligible, that could thrust freshman Javan Felix into the starter's role. He's a top recruit from New Orleans, but Barnes would like to have some experience at the point.
"It was kind of surprising,'' Felix said of the Kabongo investigation. "(But) it's not like I'm not prepared.''
Even with the uncertainty surrounding Kabongo, Barnes still knows a little more about his team at this point than he did a year ago when he was replacing all five starters. To be successful, Barnes said the Longhorns need more consistent scoring throughout the lineup this season.
"We relied on J'Covan so much because we just couldn't seem to find that second or third consistent scorer with our group last year,'' Barnes said.
Sophomore Sheldon McClellan could provide some of the scoring punch they need. McClellan helped push Texas to a crucial late win over Oklahoma that assured the Longhorns would finish above .500 in the Big 12. McClellan, who averaged 11.3 points last season, is the only player returning at Texas who averaged in double figures last season.
"He has a knack for putting the ball in the basket. I think a challenge for him will be that he's got to be able to do it day-in, and day-out,'' Barnes said. "He just needs to want to shoot the ball when he's open as opposed to trying to maybe mess with it a little bit too much dribbling or looking to overpass it.''
As usual, Barnes has crafted a tough nonconference schedule to help prepare his team for the rigors of the Big 12 and the postseason. The Big 12 is league where muscular forwards and guards pound on opponents every night and freshmen like Felix usually take a while to get used to the physical play.
The Longhorns will play in the Maui Invitational during Thanksgiving week, and will face Georgetown, North Carolina and Michigan State before Big 12 play starts against Baylor on Jan. 5.
The Texas Longhorns have a bit of a backcourt problem.
MISSOURI VALLEY MBB: Quarterfinal game delayed by shot clock outage
A shot clock lost power early in the second half of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinal between Illinois State and Missouri State, causing an awkward delay.
SEC MBB: Hot-shooting Bell sparking Arkansas' surge
Mike Anderson always believed in Anthlon Bell's ability to shoot, even while the sophomore struggled to even get on the court.
The Arkansas coach's patience appears to have finally paid off.
Iowa State students tease Smart with mass flop
Iowa State students teased Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart on Saturday by doing a ''mass flop'' in the stands at Hilton Coliseum when the Cowboys' star was introduced by the public address announcer before the game.
NBA CAPSULES: Rondo paces Celtics past Nets
Rajon Rondo scored 20 points and the Boston Celtics dominated the boards to beat Brooklyn 91-84 and stop the Nets' four-game winning streak Friday night.
MLB: Royals release P Brad Penny
Pitcher Brad Penny has been released from a minor league contract by the Kansas City Royals following a poor start to spring training.
MLB: Shields, Vargas to start season for Royals
James Shields and Jason Vargas will start the Kansas City Royals' first two games of the season at Detroit.
Manager Ned Yost announced opening starters Saturday and says Wade Davis is no longer a candidate for a spot in the rotation.
MLB: Cardinals, 3B Carpenter agree to 6-year deal
Matt Carpenter called agreeing to a new $52 million, six-year deal with St. Louis a no-brainer. The Cardinals are hoping their third baseman sticks even longer than that.
''He's the type of player you'd like to think could finish his career as a Cardinal,'' St. Louis chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt said Saturday.
Nebraska's Pelini gets 1-year contract extension
Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini has received a one-year contract extension through February 2019.
Athletic department spokeswoman Chris Anderson on Friday confirmed the extension, which was first reported by CBSSports.com. Anderson said terms were not immediately available for release.
SEC FOOTBALL: Healthy QB competition excites Tennessee's Jones
The presence of four healthy quarterbacks gives Tennessee coach Butch Jones reason for optimism that the Volunteers could have better results this season.
Three of the four scholarship quarterbacks on Tennessee's roster got hurt last season as the Vols ended up starting three players at the position. All four quarterbacks are back this year and were fully healthy Friday as the Vols kicked off spring practice.
NFL: Jaguars re-sign QB Henne to 2-year contract
The Jacksonville Jaguars are bringing back quarterback Chad Henne - and making him the starter.
Henne and the team agreed to a two-year contract worth $8 million Friday, keeping him from hitting the free-agent market.
- More Sports Headlines
- MISSOURI VALLEY MBB: Quarterfinal game delayed by shot clock outage