Rick Barnes has had the position of University of Texas Basketball coach for 13 years now and as a result of his presence here, we have become one of the premiere basketball schools in the country. With that title comes a large amount of responsibility and expectations. Rick Barnes has continually shown that he just can’t take us to the next step. Our loss to Arizona has absolutely proven this to me. Let’s face it, we all hate Rick Barnes to some varying degree. He has all done us wrong over the years in one way or the other. Whether it be from game preparation or his in game coaching tactics (Not fouling OkSt up 3 as time expires that lead directly to a game tying 3 and needless 2 OT thriller in Stillwater that we lost, screams to mind).
The things we love is his ability to recruit not just great players, but top tier NBA talent year after year. He also puts tremendous emphasis on defense as well as on rebounding. The huge drawbacks to him are his in game coaching (as mentioned before) and his offense. As a matter of fact, he has no offense to speak of whatsoever. So his amazing recruiting classes are worthless because he never does anything with them. But give him his props, out of the current stock of NBA players, 11 have come from his system. Those numbers are only topped by UConn, Duke, and North Carolina (though some of those current UNC players aren’t from the Roy Williams regime). So what we can expect from Texas basketball every year is to contend, be a presence in the top 25, anywhere from 5-17, start off hot in the season, beat almost all of our great out of conference opponents, lose random ass conference games, have a 2nd half of the season collapse, regroup/limp into the conference tournament, and then inevitably lose to the eventual conference champion. Oh and then we get bounced from the first week of the NCAA tournament. Has worked like clockwork the last 2 years. There’s also that terrible stigma we have of being the #1 team in the nation. Wouldn’t one think that it’s a bad mentality that you don’t ever want to play like the #1 team in the nation? I mean, how can you ever play like a champion when you run away from the title of king? That’s a mentality that’s inherited from your coach. The parallels between Rick and Mack Brown are definitely there. Mack is the father/grandfather type that you never ever want to let down, and Rick is more of that hard ass uncle that is super strict but you learn things that might not help you today, but later down the road. the issue is, Mack has won a title and rarely drops those random games that you just don’t sleep through. Rick is also a great representative for the university, same as Mack. A straight down the middle kind of guy that never will have recruiting violations or get caught up with off the court coach vices (like a war with the bottle <ahem> Billy Gillespie <ahem>). Above all of these qualities is the very fact that before Rick Barnes, there was NO such thing as Texas Basketball. It didn’t exist. And in fact, he along with Mack have taken those 2 programs to unbelievable heights. We really have to thank Rick Barnes for all of that. ALL OF IT. But after saying all of that, I think we’ve reached our absolute limit with as our coach. I don’t know if he hires a new coach to sort of help him work the offense so it actually becomes an offense, that things will get better. I don’t have those answers. But it’s ridiculous to believe that if we keep on this road that anything will change. That we will win it all. It won’t happen that way. It just won’t. I know Rick won’t step down during great winning seasons like these, and I know that no one will ask him to from the program. But we have to see some change in order to progress from here. Texas Basketball is more than 28+ wins now. That bar has been lifted to Texas Football like heights. It just has. My last thing here will address the total makeover he’s done from last year. We were an abomination by season’s end. We lost to Wake Forest in Rd 1 of the tournament last year. GAME 1. The coach of Wake Forest got fired after they lost a game later. We were going into this season with the possibility of Alexi Wangmene being our starting Center. OUR STARTING CENTER! Myself as well MYH were absolutely terrified at such a thought. Wangmene is one of the worst players in a sport that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Who would you rather have on your team, Kwame Brown, Alexi Wangmene, or Shawn Bradley? There is no correct answer to that question by the way. But I’ve strayed from my point, Tristan Thompson came in and lit the country ablaze with his abilities as a low post presence as well as his rebound and blocking abilities. Jordan Hamilton has grown leaps and bounds from year one to two. Corey Joseph, while he’s had lapses, has also been a good addition as a freshman. With this team, we won in KANSAS. That feat alone is almost as tough as winning a national title. Of course we ended up short again, losing to Arizona, but we had zero expectations for this season. So what lies ahead for Texas Basketball is beyond me, but at this point, I’ll just accept a Final Four bid.
The Big Socrates