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Interesting Rick Barnes interview

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On Mike Tirico's ESPN radio show (HT: Hornfans Basketball Forum)

Here's the direct radio link

The money summary quote:

He was just on Tirico's radio show and said of the Mizzou game they were terrible and he couldn't let it go. Said he coached angry for 2 weeks after and the team playing poorly was his fault. It stopped when he asked AJ to help him by stepping up on D which he did, very well.

This makes a lot of sense and it's one of the things I really like about Barnes. He's intensely self-critical and very adept at self-diagnosis. The fact that he can admit these things publically on a national radio show is a credit to him and demonstrative of a certain degree of bemused detachment about his own failings.

By the way, I don't think Barnes was coaching angry - I think he was teaching angry. There's a difference.

Barnes will always have a certain I-will-break-you-to-make-you-better mentality that is, frankly, incredibly healthy for most 19 year old males, but he has always done a nice job of interlacing that with healthy portions of respect, teaching, good humored teasing, and a very legitimate concern for them as young men. When those positives appear absent, or at least are no longer felt, you're just left with an impatient guy hectoring a puzzled freshman after the quick hook because he didn't set the screen you just drew up on the goddamn white board during the TV timeout. It's amazing what an arm around the shoulder and a moderate voice can do for receptivity to instruction.

He also clearly has assistants and, in some instances, players that are capable of speaking truth to power. Very few coaches want subordinates who push up, preferring to get their wisdom from older peers they admire, often out of the game entirely. See Bobby Knight and Pete Newell. I'm under no illusions that Barnes is running an Athenian democracy, but he clearly holds some nameless, rankless debriefs. There's a petitionining process. That's incredibly healthy for the program and in line with Barnes' philosophy of "If it ain't broke...break it."

For the record, I have zero interest in making a parallel to Mack Brown as so often happens in these instances. I'm excited about this team - I'm excited about the last decade, truth be told - and I love to discuss these guys in their own right. In fact, I'd argue that we owe them that.

Rick Barnes, glad you're our coach.