NCAA BK

Longhorns' McClellan will transfer

Image (from left to right): Texas coach Rick Barnes & Sheldon McClellan (© Elsa/Getty Images)
Texas coach Rick Barnes and Sheldon McClellan clashed at times last season.
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP)

Texas guard Sheldon McClellan, who ranked second on the team in scoring, will transfer after a season of clashes with coach Rick Barnes.

McClellan averaged 13.5 points last season but also was left on the bench for long stretches and sometimes almost entire games as Texas fell to its first losing season in 15 years. Team spokesman Scott McConnell confirmed McClellan had asked for his release and said the school would not comment until the paperwork was completed.

McClellan is the second Texas player to leave from a team that went 16-18. Forward Jaylon Bond, who played in 20 games, also decided to transfer.

McClellan was the Longhorns' second-leading scorer in each of the past two seasons, averaging 11.3 points per game as a freshman, then upping that average to 13.5 as a sophomore. But despite McClellan's considerable gifts, he never quite could put it all together. He had stretches of outstanding scoring basketball, like when he ended Big 12 play by dropping 23 points on Baylor at home and then scoring 27 at Texas Tech, then followed that up with 23 points over three games Texas's final three contests.

Because of that, McClellan and Texas coach Rick Barnes often seemed to be at odds. Barnes wanted McClellan to become more of an all-around player and utilize his athleticism — McClellan had a 40-inch vertical — to become a better rebounder and defender.

He also had a tendency to fall in love with his jump shot, shooting just 38.2 percent from the field, despite showing elite-level potential as a slashing player. According to Hoop-Math.com, McClellan took just 19 percent of his shots at the rim, despite making a fantastic 71 percent of his attempts there (and shooting 83.3 percent when he went to the free throw line). Almost half of McClellan's shots (47 percent) came on two-point jumpers, with the other 34 percent coming on three-pointers, despite the fact that McClellan shot 33 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from those spots.

Because of his tendency to drift at times, and the fact that he almost seemed a reluctant driver and scorer at others, Barnes sat him in four games this season, playing him less than 10 minutes per contest in those games. And McClellan, despite his talent, started just 24 of his 68 games on the 40 Acres. At his best, he was one of the top scorers in the Big 12, somebody who could light up the scoreboard in a hurry.


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But the coaches seemed to prefer less-gifted 2011 classmate Julien Lewis, in part because Lewis put in more effort defensively. And while McClellan faded late, averaging 7.7 points and 23 minutes in Texas's last three games, Lewis saw 28.3 minutes per game and made the most of his opportunity, leading Texas in scoring in all three contests and averaging 19 points per game.

Emerging forward Ioannis Papapetrou and defensive-minded guard DeMarcus Holland combined to take 20 of the 22 available wing starts in Texas's last 11 games (after Myck Kabongo's return), with McClellan and Lewis making just one start apiece. Add in the commitment of scoring guard Demarcus Croaker, and there were only so many minutes and so many shots to go around. Some of that could have potentially been helped if Holland took to the point guard position in the offseason, but it was still a relatively crowded situation.

McClellan's mother told King that he would likely not transfer to another Big 12 school because in-conference players must sit out two full seasons before playing again. McClellan is the second transfer out of the Texas program so far this offseason, with forward Jaylen Bond being the first to announce.

Kevin Flaherty of LonghornDigest.com contributed to this report.

Tagged: Texas

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