Posted March 27th, 2011 by Ross
Filed under: Basketball

As we conclude another Longhorn basketball season, we are left again unfilled. The men’s basketball team was a crucial moment away from a visit to the Sweet Sixteen which is seen by many fans as a benchmark for success. I am not going to lament the fact that we have only reached this plateau 5 times under Rick Barnes. We need to realize what we have in Austin. There is an NBA team playing on the 40 acres. Let’s take a look at the NBA players that have been drafted while playing for Rick Barnes:

Player (*active) NBA Draft Pick
Chris Clack 1999 55th
Chris Mihm 2000 24th
Chris Owens 2002 48th
T.J. Ford* 2003 8th
Royal Ivey* 2004 37th
LaMarcus Aldridge* 2006 2nd
P.J. Tucker 2006 35th
Daniel Gibson* 2006 42nd
Kevin Durant* 2007 2nd
D.J. Augustin* 2008 9th
Avery Bradley* 2010 19th
Damion James* 2010 24th
Dexter Pittman 2010 32nd

This is a very impressive list of NBA players especially if you compare it to other schools. Currently there are only 6 other colleges that have more players that are active in the NBA (bet you could name the schools without looking at the next sentence). Those 6 teams are the true blue bloods of college basketball: UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Connecticut. We are tied for 7th with the team we just lost to which is Arizona. Oh yeah, everyone of these schools has won a NCAA championship in the past 15 years while Coach Barnes has been at the helm for 13 of those years. I know that Barnes was quoted by ESPN saying “We would love to win a national championship, but we’re not obsessed with it because we’re obsessed with these guys trying to live their NBA dreams”. I share the same feelings of Jay Bilas who was quoted that “Coaches will down play the importance of winning the title, until they actually win it”. But you can understand the frustrations of Longhorn fans when so many players are at the elite level with no NCAA championships to validate your program.

The Horns program is very similar to many NBA franchise. Go to a men’s home basketball game with the suites, the lack of attendance and the lack of electricity unless the scoreboard calls for noise or a highly ranked team has to make a visit. The brand of basketball played here is entertaining like you would see at any NBA game. The problem is that this team looks like the team you would travel north on I-35 to see which are the Mavericks. The team is fun to watch, entertaining, great in the regular season but nothing substantial to speak of in regards to conference or league titles. I wish the Horns were more like the NBA team that is located just south of us that brings home the championships.

Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter at 40AcresSports or follow me at Horns1991. HOOK EM!!

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Texas coach Rick Barnes has brought in some of the best players in the entire nation over the last decade and The Sporting News noticed. He has been named recruiter of the decade for bringing guys like TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, and Avery Bradley to Austin.

Link: Barnes is decade’s No. 1 recruiter

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Very interesting article on how star guard Avery Bradley ended up as a Longhorn. Crazy to hear how he went from good to elite in such a short time, and how a few years in Arlington watching TJ Ford tear it up at Texas helped him end up in Austin.

Link: Bradley’s path to Texas carved out of chance

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Posted February 17th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Basketball, Feature

For the first time in the [tag]Rick Barnes[/tag] era the University of Texas basketball team is in real danger of not making the NCAA tournament. This could be the most any of the major three programs (football, basketball, baseball) has struggled in the regular season since their respective coaches arrived on the Forty Acres.

Rick Barnes is an amazing coach, but sometimes the players just aren’t there. For the 2009 UT basketball team that player is [tag]DJ Augustin[/tag]. Last year Augustin was recognized as the best point guard in the nation. He decided to leave after his sophomore year for the NBA, a move that has worked out for everybody but the Longhorns.

Texas has been spoiled in the backcourt in recent memory. The stellar play started with [tag]TJ Ford[/tag], next came [tag]Daniel Gibson[/tag], and then Augustin. Right now they’re stuck with Justin Mason who can’t score, [tag]AJ Abrams[/tag] who can’t dribble or pass, and [tag]Dogus Balbay[/tag] who can’t shoot and struggles with consistency.

Every key member from last year’s Elite 8 team returned besides Augustin. Last year at this time Texas was playing for a number one seed and the talk around town was of national championships. This year the Longhorns are coming off four losses in their last six games, none to a top 10 team, and the talk is centered around if the team will even get to be a part of March Madness.

There is still talk of national championships on campus, but the sport is football.

Texas went through something similar following their Final Four berth when the then sophomore Ford decided to skip his last two years of college for the NBA. Barnes had his whole team coming back then too, but the group led by Brandon Mouton, Royal Ivey, and James Thomas at least made it to the tourney. On the message boards, at the water cooler, and on the couch most fans are looking for someone to blame. Has Barnes forgotten how to coach? Did the players regress that much? Who kidnapped [tag]Connor Atchley[/tag]?

The answers aren’t that simple. Or maybe they are. We’ve all heard the expression, “It isn’t the X’s and O’s it’s the Jane’s and the Joe’s.” The 2009 version of Texas basketball has proved the old saying to be right.

The Longhorn offense is set up for a player to dominate the ball and create for teammates who are coming off screens. Texas has the players to come off the screens but they don’t have the guy to get them the ball at the right time in the right spot. On top of that Barnes likes to have a guard who can shoot and score off the dribble. Texas has guards who can shoot and they have guards who can score off the dribble, but they don’t have any who can do both. This allows defenses to play a box and one, trailing Abrams, and making other people beat them.

So far Texas hasn’t done it enough. It is hard to imagine this same team beating UCLA and Villanova, but they did. And that fact leaves some hope, but with [tag]Kansas[/tag] and [tag]Oklahoma[/tag] still on the schedule it looks like a .500 finish may be in sight. With the Big 12 in a perceived down year, that just won’t cut it.

It is looking more and more likely that the Longhorn fate will be decided in the Big 12 tournament. And this year it has nothing to do with seeding. It will have to do with the bubble. A word Texas hasn’t had to worry about in a decade.

The good news is the cavalry is coming. Texas has a top three recruiting class coming in and they all can score. Just another reason to wish for next fall to get here.

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Former Longhorns [tag]TJ Ford[/tag] and [tag]Kevin Durant[/tag] matched up Monday night and both had big games. Ford’s Pacers pulled out the win thanks in big part to his 11 fourth quarter points. TJ finished the game close to a triple double with 24 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. Durant kept the Thunder in it by leading all scorers with 37 points and chipping in eight rebounds.

Watch the highlights:

Video removed by ESPN! Bah.

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TJ Ford traded for Jermaine ONeal

TJ Ford was traded for Jermaine ONeal

In the weeks leading up to tomorrow’s NBA draft the Indiana Pacers were one of the most likely destinations for Texas point guard [tag]DJ Augustin[/tag]. Now that’s not going happen thanks to another former Horn point guard. On the eve of the draft the Pacers have completed a deal to send Jermaine O’Neal to the Toronto Raptors for [tag]TJ Ford[/tag].

ESPN is reporting that the Pacers and the Raptors have agreed to a deal that would send O’Neal to Toronto in exchange for Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the 17th pick in the draft. Due to Ford’s contract the deal cannot be officially completed until July 9th. Players will also have to pass physicals, not necessarily a given considering TJ’s history of neck problems.

A possible O’Neal/Ford swap has been in the news since Monday. Toronto had two excellent point guards and TJ has been rumored to be on the trading block for the last several weeks. The Pacers have been pursuing a point guard and wanted to get rid of O’Neal so the needs of the two teams match up well.

After being in Milwaukee and Toronto, Indiana still isn’t a marquee market but he’ll have a chance to get a fresh start in a place where he’ll be the sure #1 guy. Good luck to TJ with his new team.

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The New York Post is reporting that TJ Ford is being shopped by Raptors. Toronto has one point guard too many.

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TJ Ford scores 21 points in 23 minutes in Raptors playoff win over Magic. Great game after two rough ones for TJ.

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T.J. Ford is back in action, says Jose Calderon should be starting. Heck of a PG duo if TJ can stay healthy. (via)

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Posted December 12th, 2007 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball

For the third time since he left Texas, [tag]TJ Ford[/tag] had to be carried off a basketball court on a stretcher last night late in the Raptors win against the Hawks. Ford had played very well throughout game (26 points & 8 assists) when he stole the ball and was off on a breakaway late in the 4th quarter. Hawks’ forward Al Horford tried to stop TJ’s drive to the basket and reached out and nailed him across the face. TJ’s head snapped back from the force of the hit and then again when his body hit the hardwood. Horford was called for a flagrant foul and ejected for the play.

ESPN video of the game and the play are below:

It’s scary to watch TJ laying on the ground screaming in pain, especially because of his history. He looks like he is scared and in an incredible amount of pain. The good news is that he had feeling in his arms and legs when he was taken off the floor. He was expected to be kept in the hospital at least overnight, but there have been no updates yet this morning on how he’s doing. We’ll post any news as we hear it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to TJ for a speedy recovery.

Update: Ford was released from the hospital this morning. All X-rays and an MRI were negative. He was able to fly back to Toronto and was given a standing ovation when he entered the arena and joined his teammates on the bench. No word yet on when TJ might be back in action. (10:38pm)

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