Before anyone decides to rip me to shreds for saying "nice things" when folks are in the middle of a great ranting period, allow me to point out that I'm generally pretty critical of the Horns. I'm a huge fan--far too involved, or I wouldn't be posting my thoughts on an internet site--but I tend to focus on flaws rather than positives. Today, however, I've decided that I've read enough whining (I mean analysis), and would like to focus on the positive.
The basketball team's a pretty easy target, coming off another frustrating loss filled with shoulda coulda woulda (the one that eats my brain is that the one thing I'm moderately capable of, shooting free throws, is the thing which, well-executed, would put this team at 24-2 rather than 20-6). I'm not saying it's not on the coaches at all, but I think that before anyone joins in the pitchfork session led by one of my favorite barkers, some perspective is in order. Jordan Hamilton apparently finds it easier to put the ball in the bucket when flying through traffic and getting hacked (7-9 from inside the arc) than shooting free throws (1-6). Dexter Pittman played just 12 minutes and managed 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 2 points, and zero shots.
Coaches deserve some criticism, but it should probably be tempered with praise. 11 consecutive 20-win seasons. 11 straight NCAA tournaments. 50-57 record against top 25 opponents (Penders was 10-44). 2nd-most successful program in conference during Barnes era.
Imagine, in a happy world, that we add seniors DJ Augustin and Kevin Durant to this team. Think anything changes? I do not begrudge, at all, their moving on to the NBA--but I also won't bury the coaching staff who brought them to Texas and have managed to create a remarkably consistent program even with program-changing talent rotating in and out faster than any fan would want.
Now is the time to focus on Damion James, and appreciate his effort and ability. To enjoy seeing Jordan and J'Covan shake off the rust of being at least 12-18 months away from disciplined team basketball, and figure out how to excel within a pretty rigid structure. To root for Dexter to turn his season and draft status around. To hope for a streak of five straight wins to close the regular season (but appreciate the 3-2 finish that's no sure thing given that three of the last five are on the road).
So my advice to all is imbibe your favorite beverage or three before the next game, realize before it begins that it won't go exactly as you'd like, and remember that this year South Carolina beat Kentucky, short-handed Tennessee beat Kansas, Temple and UConn beat Villanova, Purdue and Michigan State lost 3 in a row, Syracuse lost to Pitt. Things don't always go according to plan, but if we look at the season as a whole and the Barnes era and future, I think we'll find the outlook is better than the past three weeks worth of posts following our fall FROM THE TOP OF THE AP POLL.