It's been fun guys. You too, Dogus.
Cursing Rick Barnes has become a pastime if you’re a Longhorn hoops fan. Considering this unexpected news, maybe Rick Barnes is just cursed?
In talking with a few people close to the players that would know these kind of up-to-the-minute aspirations, it’s been confirmed that Texas swingman Jordan Hamilton will be declaring for the NBA draft in the next week and will be hiring an agent. The only decision left for Hamilton is which of three power agents under consideration he's actually going to sign with.
“He’s gone. It’s done."
This was expected and we wish him the best of luck securing a big pay day in the lottery. Jordan became a much more complete player this year as evidenced by his increased rebounding and assist numbers. Becoming an NBA star is a dream shared by every young male growing up in Compton but it's only realized by a handful. Way to navigate the maze, Jordan.
The bad news for Texas fans is that Tristan Thompson is likely gone as well. “If Jordan is 100% gone then Tristan is 97% out the door as well. When you’re a top 15 prospect you have to go.”
Ouch. Unfortunately it's true. Thompson could very well be drafted ahead of Hamilton.
With these moves the Longhorns just became Charmin soft in the paint and equally pliable on the glass. I hope that redshirt year paid off for Clint Chapman and Jonathan Holmes comes in ready to start.
But that's not even the craziest news in this regrettable scoop.
It sounds like Cory Joseph is also set to throw his hat in the ring as well, testing the waters of draft potential. Those are sub-arctic temps, Cory. Come back when it's warmer. If you paid attention to the season, it sounds like CoJo is getting some poor advice and we fully expect him to be a Longhorn this fall, starting at shooting guard alongside incoming dynamo PG Myck Kabongo.
Joseph struggled against quicker guards like Shabazz Napier, so how’s he going to get his own shot in the Association. Is he going to play the one? He couldn’t play the one at Texas. The Two? He’s not a sharpshooter at this stage in his career and he certainly won’t be able to lock down off guards in the NBA. I don’t get it and I’m assuming NBA scouts won't either. He could definitely have a successful career in the league down the road but I've always envisioned Cory as a 3-4 year guy.
So where does that leave Texas? Small. Tiny. Largely irrelevant in the national title hunt. Totally lacking any front court punch whatsoever. Good times. If you don’t believe me, here’s your lineup provided Cory Joseph does come to his senses.
PG Myck Kabongo
SG Cory Joseph
SF/3rd Guard Sheldon McClellan/J’Covan Brown
PF Jonathan Holmes
C Clint Chapman/Alexis Wangmene
Key Reserves: Kevin Thomas, Julien Lewis
There won’t be a better back court anywhere in America outside of perhaps Kentucky or Duke. I like Kabongo better than Teague or Cook and I’d take a J’Covan Brown/Cory Joseph combo over the other two squads. The problem is Texas doesn’t have a single front court player who would see starting minutes for any team in next season’s projected top 25. And that is why Rick Barnes is cursed.
Texas is a fringe top 25 club with the roster above and a top five team if Tristan Thompson pulled a Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and returned to school. Seriously, we’re snake-bit with respect to the draft.
With what we’ll have returning to campus, Texas will have to play 90 ft pressure VCU-style to take advantage of superior guard play and tempo control and protect their lack of back to the basket firepower inside. But unfortunately Rick Brown won’t channel Shaka Smart in a million years evidenced by his unwillingness to press and run with the 2009 team. Perhaps Hamilton’s departure helps us with hybrid 4 DeAndre Daniels, but I’m also hearing that’s unlikely. He’d probably go pro halfway through the season anyway.
Along with Rodney Terry moving on to become the head man at Fresno State, it looks like Kenton Paulino is also leaving the program to take a promotion on Pat Knight's squad. That news should come out pretty soon.
With these defections at key positions, it becomes critical that Barnes replace his assistants wisely and maybe just buy Jerry Sloan a second home in Austin.
Hold'em up, guys. It's only 14 days until Jonathan Gray's birthday...