Basketball Legends from the Longhorn Universe

March Madness is here and both Texas men’s and women’s basketball teams are poised to make deep runs in this year’s NCAA tournaments. As anticipation for the tournaments builds, the Alcalde looks back on some of the most influential Longhorns who helped bring status, success, and deep tournament runs to the men’s and women’s programs.  

Jody Conradt, Life Member 

One of the best collegiate coaches of all time, Jody Conradt arrived at UT in 1976 and quickly catapulted the Longhorns to the national spotlight. In her 31 years as the Longhorns’ head coach, she amassed 738 total wins, four National Coach of the Year awards, 11 conference championships in the SWC and Big 12, three Final Four appearances, and a national championship victory in the 1986 season in which the Longhorns were the first team in NCAA history to earn a perfect 34-0 record. Conradt is currently ninth in all-time NCAA Division I wins with 900 career victories and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. Following her retirement in 2007, Conradt continued to work for the university athletic department as special assistant to the Women’s Athletic Director.  

Kevin Durant, Outstanding Young Texas Ex 

Perhaps the most well-known basketball alumnus from UT, Durant led the Longhorns to a second-round tournament appearance in his 2006-07 freshman season. In his one and only season with the Longhorns, Durant earned national acclaim, winning the Naismith, John R. Wooden, AP, and NABC awards for collegiate national player of the year. Durant’s number 35 is one of the three numbers that have been retired by the men’s program. Durant would go on to be the second-overall pick in the NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics where he would earn the award of NBA Rookie of the Year in 2008. Following his rookie campaign, Durant has won two NBA Finals, two NBA Finals MVP awards, earned 13 All-Star and six All-NBA First Team selections, and the award for NBA MVP in his 2014 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant was recently traded to the Phoenix Suns in a blockbuster deal that has his new team poised to make a run at his third NBA Finals championship.  

Clarissa Davis, BS ’90 

A vital part of the 1986 national championship team, Davis won the award for Most Outstanding Player in the 1986 NCAA tournament as a freshman. In her remaining years at UT, Davis would go on to lead the Longhorns to another Final Four and two Elite Eight appearances while winning the Naismith College Player of the Year Award in both 1987 and 1989. She would graduate with over 2,000 career points and went on to be the leading scorer for the 1992 Olympic team that won a bronze medal at the Barcelona games. Davis was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 1999 and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Davis would later become an assistant coach to for UT’s women’s team in the 2006-07 season and founded a non-profit for sports-based mentorship for girls in San Antonio, TEAMXPRESS. In 2020, Davis became the second Texas female athlete in the university’s history to have her number (24) retired.  

TJ Ford, BS ’14 

One of the best collegiate guards of all time, Ford made an instant impact when he arrived at UT in his 2002 freshman season. Ford became the first freshman in NCAA history to lead the nation in assists and would go on to win Big 12 Freshman of the Year as the Longhorns made a run to the Sweet Sixteen. In his encore sophomore season, Ford would lead the Longhorns to their first Final Four appearance since 1947 as he went on to win Naismith and John R. Wooden awards for collegiate player of the year while also being name Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Ford would also become the first Texas basketball player to have his number (11) retired. After his time at UT, Ford was selected eighth overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and would go on to play for three other teams including the San Antonio Spurs. Fifteen years after his departure for the NBA, Ford would return to finish his degree. Ford continues to impact the game with his TJ Ford Basketball Academy which offers programs for boys and girls in the Greater Houston area.  

Edwina Brown, BS ’00 

A leader both on and off the court, Brown played four seasons at UT and led the Longhorns to three NCAA tournament appearances as the university transitioned from the Southwest Conference to the Big 12. In both her junior and senior seasons, Brown would lead the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, becoming the first Longhorn to do so in school history. In her senior season, she would go on to be named a Kodak All-American and win the MVP of Big 12 Conference Tournament while setting 13 tournament records. She was also awarded the Wade Trophy, recognizing her as the best upper classmen women’s player in the NCAA. Brown would go on to be selected third overall in the 2000 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock and would also play for the Phoenix Mercury, Houston Comets, and overseas before returning to UT as an assistant and strength and conditioning coach. Brown is now the founder of her own apparel company and is a speaker and consultant for businesses and coaches.  

Slater Martin

One of the most decorated Longhorn athletes in university history, Martin helped lead the Longhorns to their second-ever Final Four appearance in the 1947 NCAA tournament. Martin became the second Longhorn to have his number 15 retired by the university and holds the single-game record for points scored at 49 against TCU. Martin would also be recognized as an All-American in both his 1948 and 1949 seasons. After his collegiate career, Martin would go on to be a seven time All-Star and win four NBA championships with the Minneapolis Lakers and another championship with the St. Louis Hawks. Martin would also go on to be the head coach of the Houston Mavericks of the ABA, leading the team to the 1968 playoffs. Due to his collegiate and professional success, Martin became the first Longhorn inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Martin sadly passed away in 2012, but his legacy as a Longhorn legend lives on as his retired number (15) can be seen in the new Moody Center.  


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment