Smack dab in the middle of our mass salivating for the football season (great coverage by Scip, Nickel, and the crew, BTW), we got a little hoop news a day or two ago.
Surprisingly, it's not good news. Varez Ward, who missed almost all of last year with a gruesome quad injury, has decided to leave the team. The declared reason is to be closer to home and his mother, who has a heart condition.
Regardless of the reason, it's yet another blow to Barnes and the Longhorns' program. It's a shame that we never got to opportunity to see if Varez could have taken the next step in his progression and built off his strong game vs. Duke in the NCAA tourney his freshman year. He was a player that could play defense, penetrate off the dribble, and pull up from inside 15 and knock down shots. All of these were skills that our basketball team was curiously devoid of last year in what was an epic meltdown after ascending to a #1 ranking.
Now, Barnes is left with only four true guards on next year's team: Recovering Dogus Balbay, undersized Jai Lucas, perplexing J'Covan Brown, and true freshman Cory Joseph. Barnes could also use Jordan Hamilton and Shawn Williams at off guard on occasion. Joseph will have to grow up fast. For what it's worth, Ward's recovery had been progressing extremely slow and he wasn't expected to be ready for the opening of the season.
Tough times. Remember back in 03' when Rick Barnes was more valued than Mack Brown amongst most Longhorn fans? Seems like a lifetime ago. Over/under on number of wins next year.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of "Muschamp moves boulders with but a glare.".....