Posted March 11th, 2010 by Ross
Filed under: Basketball, Feature

WTH?! (What the Heck?) Moments are attempts to find the memorable and the off-beat perspective on Longhorns sports. Here are some interesting moments from the Texas’ Men’s Basketball Season.

Rick Barnes' Texas basketball team collapsed midseason.

Rick Barnes' Texas basketball team collapsed midseason.

Pre-Season WTH Mr. April?! April is the month when most high school basketball players sign their letters of intent. Coach Rick Barnes, Mr. April, has out did himself by coming up with an incredible freshman class that includes McDonald All-American Avery Bradley (6-2, 180), Jordan Hamilton (6-7, 226) and J’Covan Brown (6-1, 185) to go along with highly touted transfer Jai Lucas(5-10, 150). These additions with three seniors Damion James (6-7, 225), Justin Mason (6-2, 195) and Dexter Pittman (6-10, 290) had this team starting the preseason ranked #3. An ESPN article reported that Barnes would rather develop players for the NBA than win an NCAA championship. I believe this is a misinterpretation because Mack Brown finally shed his stigma as Mr. February with his national championship, let’s hope that Coach Barnes does the same soon.

Nov. 25th WTH Practice?! The season was starting fast with a win over highly ranked Pittsburgh 78-62, but during pregame warm-ups Varez Ward right knee gave out ending his season. “We not talkin’ bout a game – we talkin’ bout practice” nod to AI. Who knew his backcourt experience (only as sophomore) would be sorely needed throughout the year?

Dec. 22nd WTH DJ?! Damion James was making claims early in the season for player of the year honors with back to back 20+ points and 13+ rebound in wins over #10 North Carolina (103-90) & #9 Michigan State (79-68). DJ also established himself as UT’s all time leading rebounder by surpassing James Thomas. The problems of poor foul shooting and any lack of a half court game was covered up by the Horns posting 17 straight wins through mid-January.

Jan. 30th WTH Trip, Stumble & Fall?! The TRIP was being ranked #1 for the very first time in the programs history before visiting Kansas State on Jan 18th (losing 72-60). The STUMBLE was losing 88-74 the very next game on the road at UConn on Jan 23rd. The FALL was a horrible performance at home against the Baylor Bears (80-77 in OT). It was the Bear’s first regular season win over the Horns since….1998. Not only had they lost three of their last four games but they shot 63% from the free throw line which is what the Horns will finish for the season behind the “charity stripe”.

Feb. 27th WTH Rag-Tag-Ass?! Another season ending injury hit guard Dogus Balbay (team leader? in assists with 3.9/game) just one game before the lowest point of the season. The Horns experienced the worst loss of the season in College Station against the Aggies 74-58. To make matters worse J’Covan Brown put a scare in Horn fans as he was carted off the floor with thankfully later only a neck stinger. Texas has now lost 6 straight times in College Station. Any type of half court game is nonexistent. It is clear to see that Rag-Tag-Ass basketball is the only way this team was going to win a game.

Wrap Up WTH PB&J?! On a previous WTH rant on the men’s basketball team, I thought we had a new group to rival the past (BMW – Blanks, Mays, Wright), with the new group of Pittman, Bradley and James. The only consistent player has been Damion James. You can complain the lack of a point guard to get Dexter Pittman the ball, but his total lack of aggressiveness is more to blame. I hope we can strike up the play of Avery Bradley has a steep learning curve when other freshman (aka Wall at Kentucky) live up to the hype. Interestingly enough we have the same Big XII Conference record as last year’s team 9-7, but I feel an opportunity was lost with the lack of growth and improvement of this underachieving team. Some on this young team need to fight through this losing mentality and get its swagger back from earlier in the year.

Thanks for following my WTH articles. 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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