The attrition train keeps rolling along for the Texas Longhorns. Small forward Sheldon McClellan, a sophomore and the team's leading scorer, has requested a transfer following an up-and-down season. Word of a possible transfer was first posited locally by RCS Sports' Jim Hicks and has been subsequently reported by the national media.
Per ESPN's Jason King, McClellan has already filed the paperwork requesting a transfer. The Texas administration has yet to approve the request.
"There are no bitter feelings," [his mother] Angel Johnson said. "He enjoyed his time at Texas. He's just looking for a place where he's a better fit. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery."
Johnson said she and her son were under the impression that Texas coach Rick Barnes would grant the release because he hasn't said anything to suggest otherwise.
"We've signed our end of the paperwork and we're just waiting for them to sign their end," she said. "We can't talk to other schools until that happens, and we certainly don't want to break any rules."
Texas spokesman Scott McConnell confirmed that McClellan had requested the release but said the school would have no further comment at this time.
McClellan becomes the third player from the 2012 recruiting class to leave, following in the footsteps of Sterling Gibbs and Jaylen Bond. Both Gibbs and Bond were last-minute additions after both Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson declared for the NBA Draft following their freshmen seasons in the spring of 2012. Neither Gibbs nor Bond received much playing time and opted for improved situations elsewhere. McClellan, however, was expected to be a cornerstone player in what has quickly become a bust of a class.
Though McClellan led this year's team in scoring with 13.8 PPG, he became the poster child for Rick Barnes' doghouse methodology. Barnes frequently yo-yoed McClellan between starting and coming off the bench. In two games this year, McClellan played just one minute total (a teaching lesson by Barnes, presumably). McClellan ended the season scoring just 6 points against Kansas State and 5 against Houston, playing lackluster ball and exhibiting his trademark terrible body language.
Perhaps no player was more impacted by the suspension of Myck Kabongo than McClellan. With Kabongo out of the lineup, the team expected McClellan to step up as the alpha dog leader and scorer. While he accrued points, his efficiency rates plummeted. As a freshman, he shot 44.8% from the floor. That dropped to just 38.2% his sophomore year.
McClellan's transfer request feels like the latest in a string of players who have, either publicly or privately, clashed with head coach Rick Barnes. Over at Bruins Nation, there's an interesting thread where Bomani Jones discusses the fallacies of since fired UCLA coach Ben Howland.
@baxterholmes I'm not nearly as sold on that part. man never could grasp the minor detail that his players hate him.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) March 23, 2013
when one player doesn't like you, it's one thing. two? it's another. when damn near every player hates you, and you can't tell, it's YOU.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) March 23, 2013
Sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? Burnt Orange Nation's Wescott Eberts expounds:
Therein lies the problem -- while not being an especially nice person is pretty much a prerequisite for a successful coach, there seems to be mounting evidence that Barnes crosses the line and has alienated players who now have little interest in saying anything positive about Texas to potential recruits.
It's becoming increasingly clear that Barnes doesn't get that he's part of the problem, or simply doesn't care. And it's gotten to the point where Texas fans don't much give a damn, either. Change may be needed, but McClellan's impending transfer doesn't sound like the right solution.