You get three ants together, they can't do dick--get 300 million, and they can build a cathedral.
The same concept holds true in basketball. If you don't have a true point guard among a collection of individuals, you can lose to Baylor and make Colorado look good. But if you have 5 players willing to move without the ball and are unselfish enough to find teammates, you don't need a true point guard.
If you'd like a successful blue print of same on the national scene look no further than Duke. They have Nolan Smith and four solid basketball players without a true point guard in sight. I'd also add that our point guard prospects are better and our supporting cast is more athletic and dynamic. Yet Duke is on the cusp of grabbing a 1 seed and we're fighting to make the tournament.
Why is unselfish play and ball movement important? Well you saw it today in Austin. If you're willing to move without the basketball and unselfish enough to look for teammates, you can win without a true point guard. Ask Duke, ask Steve Alford's Indiana teams, ask Bob Knight, and ask Coach K.
Hell, there were times in this game when Texas played like it had 3 point guards on the floor at the same time. Unselfish, extra pass basketball is cool like that. On to the jugadores.
Damion James. Game in and game out I buy what Damion James is selling. Our theme for this write up is unselfishness and our all world power forward had five assists in 23 minutes. Simply the team's unquestioned leader that sets the tone for everyone else. His jersey needs to hang in the Erwin Center Rafters when he leaves.
Avery Bradley. Shooting well is tantamount to getting breast implants. It can cover up a lot of warts and take your eye off of what's important. But unlike Jordan Hamilton's 11-15 vs. OSU, Avery Bradley's shooting performance was real because it was done within the confines of our offense, meaning most shots were of the inside/out variety within the flow of a team concept and not an individual anomaly. This is a kid that went 9-12 and 6-7 from deep while playing high energy defense. I know John Wall is everybody's otherwordly, but Avery Bradley is right there as a player.
J'Covan Brown. The kid took the starting roll and validated the coaching decision. Not only did he have 6 assists, but he gave shooting credibility to the pick and roll game and opened up the floor for guys like Dexter Pittman and Gary Johnson. The next step for the young man is better judgement when and where to get the guys the basketball. He still needs to learn that a bullet pass to Dex Pittman 10 feet from the bucket isn't the best decision. Make no mistake, though, as Brown goes so go the Longhorn's tourney chances.
Dexter Pittman. Keeping with the unselfish theme, Dex Pittman passed out of double teams better than he's done all year, igniting ball movement and finding open shooters. If Dex holds the ball in the post we're stagnant, but if he's willing to quickly pass out of the double he can be a catalyst that spurs offense like tonight. The next step for Texas is to go to that second offensive machination finding Pittman on the second help rotation. Touching the ball on both blocks in a single possession is the coup de gras, David Robinson circa 1985 Navy type shit. Also, his six rebounds in 16 minutes bodes well for the Horns.
Dogus Balbay. You saw the perfect role for the Turk today. He should be a defensive specialist, high energy guy in every game. If we play James Anderson or John Wall and we need a glove so be it.
Jordan Hamilton. The 11-15 vs. OSU was fool's gold. This is by far the best game Hamilton has played all year. Every shot was taken in some sort of offensive flow, and Jordan should have had at least 5 assists if dudes were hitting bunnies. The good news is that the coaches now have Jordan's role on tape. If shit gets cloudy, all they need to do is pop in the Nebraska film and proclaim, "this is what we need from you Jordan". Ball movement, deference, and unselfish play. Need a three? Wait for a kick out from a guard or a doubled post and we ain't mad at ya. Jordan is the only true 3 we have on our team, so if he starts to get it on offense, we can reap the rewards on the glass as his 5 big boards indicate.
Gary Johnson. Perfect game against an undersized frontcourt for Gary. Still, you have to tip your cap to GJ for just taking over the glass and making the most of his post opportunities. The frontcourt of James, Johnson, and Hamilton remains intriguing as long as we move the ball and stay unselfish. How can anyone zone this frontcourt?
Jai Lucas. I'm just about ready to close up shop. If he's not hitting, he shouldn't play. Point blank.
Alexis Wangmene. I love the physical 4 fouls he expended today. Any kind of scoring is gravy. We'll need Lexi's size in the tourney.
Overall, I get that it was Nebraska, but our unselfish play should be a boon to film room study going forward. We simply pulled off what 80% of college basketball teams have to do night in and night out to have chance. It just so happens we have top 1 percentile type talent on our side. When we play this unselfish with the creativity we displayed tonight, we can beat any team in America. Time to build on that going into Columbia.