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Inside Texas Basketball: Part II

A couple of other things to pass on -

Strong emphasis on our big men developing face-up games, particularly Johnson and Thompson.

Even Hill. Why? We're at a size disadvantage and the best way to exploit it is to use our mobility to attack the rim or shoot a little step back jumper after we fake the drive. It also complements the screen game and helps us to rebound offensively backside. We also think it's the only way to get opposing bigs into foul trouble with this bunch. Similarly, when our bigs get a good entry pass, before face up, first check is to a cutter. You saw that with Tristan Thompson's feed to Jai Lucas against La Tech.

We've also seen the time GJ has spent on his jumper. It's getting out quicker and he can now shoot it on a bounce out off of a screen - not just the wide open elbow jumper. Let's be clear - he's not Rip Hamilton, but he's adding to this midrange game because he knows he'll have to be able to log minutes at 3 if he wants to get run in the NBA or Israel/Turkey/China. Gary shoots a couple of hundred jumpers from 10-18 feet every day and he's absolute money on that shot now.

Still teachable moments....

During the scrimmage, Johnson got a ball in the post, did a drop step, and attempted to reverse dunk as Thompson defended him well. GJ bricked and Barnes went apeshit. "Can you not do what we've taught you? Can you not do what we've drilled every day a thousand times? Again!"

Johnson was fed in the post again, faced up, faked a drive, and then nailed a feathery 12 footer. Barnes screams,"Goddamn this is an easy fucking game if you'll do what you're supposed to Gary."

Which brings me to the next subject - favoritism. Barnes has no favorites. All players are coached the same, to the same standards. Johnson is clearly a guy Barnes loves and respects, but that means nothing when he messes up.

By the way, the consistent thing my source was surprised and impressed by was the team's total transparency. This should have been a dog and pony show. It was anything but. It was six hours of straight basketball junkie heroin. Barnes coached as if no one else was in the gym with loads of intensity, and any question asked of Wright, an assistant or a player was answered candidly and squarely. He was pretty blown away.


John Lucas led Chapman, his son, and three walk-ons on a series of drills. Mentioned that the NBA has no use for immobile big men now and even 7 footers must be able to run the court and finish. The goal is for a big man to run up, back, and up again - 3 court trips - in less than 15 seconds. Most college big men do it in 20. Lucas also pointed at his son and said,"This little guy has to play with maximum effort, nail threes, and get physically stronger if he wants to have any future in basketball anywhere. He can't do 2 of the 3. Or 1 of the 3. He must do all 3. Or he is of no value." Basically, the message conveyed was that on the basketball court John Lucas sees his son through the eyes of a coach, not a father.

So If you've ever wondered about soccer parenting from John Lucas, I wouldn't sweat it. BTW, Jai is the hardest working and probably the coolest player on the team. I'm starting to realize that we should be appreciative of what he brings instead of lament what he is not.