Last week, someone asked me ‘how important is a point guard really’.
The return of Myck Kabongo on Wednesday night pretty much answered that question.
It was almost storybook, if you don’t count the fact he fouled out in the first of two overtimes in a 89-86 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
He showed within minutes the benefit of a true point guard and how essential and enormous the position is in basketball.
That’s kind of funny considering they’re usually the smallest players in a sport dominated by genetic giants.
But the point guard is the floor general, the quarterback of your hardwood heroes, and vital to your team’s success.
Kabongo’s return was an instant boost on so many levels. Passing, dribble-drive kick outs, finishing in transition, on-ball defense, and overall calm when a play or possession was vital.
Even better than Kabongo, was the effort and outlook from the rest of the squad. The body language was spirited and the vibe at the Drum was unexpectedly pep. And the players responded.
Ioannis Papaetrou can sling it from the outside when he’s in a catch-and-shoot spot. He buried a three-pointer with 1.7 second left to send the game into an extra stanza. Papi finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Sheldon McClellan turned on his inner-clutch, scoring all Texas’ 10 points in the double overtime, including a pair of free throws to ice it. He finished with 18 points, eight boards, and was 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Boom.
Overall, Texas attempted more shots in the paint, made more free throws, and had more assists. All things you have control over in basketball regardless of your personnel. This is where Barnes’ teams use to thrive. And you’d think he’d try to duplicate that success.
And then the black uniforms came back.
And with that, came another humiliating loss on national television, on ESPN Gameday no less.
All the mojo and momentum Texas had going into this tilt with the Jayhawks was lost as Kansas throttled the Horns, 73-47 in Lawrence. KU opened on a 22-9 run, held Texas to 15 first-half points, built a big lead off pick-and-pop outside shots, and was slightly responsible for the Longhorns putrid shooting ( 21.8% , 12-for-55). Kabongo led Texas was 13 points, but had zero assists. That can’t happen with your quarterback. So, let’s look at this from a strategic point of view.
Texas shot 21 triples — Â Not more shots in the paint, like in previous win vs ISU.
Texas shot 65% from the free throw line — Â Not 80%, like in ISU win.
Texas had ZERO assists. — Â Not 17, like they posted in ISU win.
So, even if you’re the underdogs against a solid, but vulnerable ranked Kansas Jayhawks team, you don’t use the same basic plan that you had success with only 75 hours before ????
Am I missing something here, Rick ??
Any and all ideas of an NCAA bubble-holding shot burst in Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
The NIT is the next logical goal for the Horns. They’ve got TCU onÂ Tuesday in Fort Worth, and finish with Kansas State and Oklahoma. All three all winnable, but it just depends on what Barnes feels like in his weekly game plans.
The Longhorns baseball team got back into swing with an opening-weekend series win of the Sacramento State Hornets of the Big Sky conference.
They beat the Hornets 6-5 on Friday, lost 5-3 on Saturday, and won the rubber match on Sunday, 6-3.
The best stat from Texas’ third straight opening-weekend series win came from the starting pitchers. Dillon Peters and Parker French combined for 14 innings and surrendered on two runs. That’s exactly what you want to get out of your starters. That’ll win a lot of baseball games for this bunch of Horns.
Right-fielder Mark Payton led the hitting parade with six hits, and five RBIs. Shortstop CJ Hinojosa, and left-fielder Taylor Stell combined for five RBIs to pace the Longhorns, while Moynihan and Carter each had multi-hit games. Texas also hit .395 with runners in scoring position.
That’s a recipe for success on the diamond for Augie’s guys. Play good defense, get solid innings out of your starters, and get timely hits with RISP. I don’t think Garrido will have the same problem as Barnes duplicating a successful gameplan. Stay tuned….
Nothing new on the recruiting front. A rather quiet week on the Forty Acres will certainly get louder next weekend when the Horns host their second Junior Day on Saturday.
There are a handful of notables not attending but the only one of concern would be Lewisville Hebron safety Jamal Adams. He’s gotten closer with Denton Guyer and current Texas commit, QB Jerrod Heard. That’s a big thing. These kids recruit each other more than ever. He’s stated it conflicts with a school event (track meet), but this is a situation in the making, and the longer it goes without him visiting Austin, the more doubt I have he’ll eventually land in Austin.
Two of the top offensive lineman in the state will be attending. Jacob Bragg of Nacogdoches, Tx, and Terrel Cuney of Jasper, Tx will make their way to UT this weekend. It’s important to note because both were on visits this past weekend, Bragg at Oklahoma State and Cuney at Texas A&M. Cuney’s recruiting in particular is blowing up. Oregon, A&M, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, and OSU are a few of the schools putting the full court press on the 6-foot-2, 285 lb. Bulldogs’ center.
After the haul at offensive line with the class of 2013, you’d think these two aren’t as important. And you’d be mistaken. These two kids bring incredible nasty, mean streaks and could possibly play their freshman campaigns. And UT is losing three major starters on the O-line after 2013. These are ‘must haves’.
My last tidbit was a quote I found very intriguing from sophomore wide receiver Keke Coutee, of Lufkin, TX, who attended the first Junior day. (quote from Sporting News)
â€œIt was an honor to be invited by Mack Brown,â€ Coutee said. â€œHeâ€™s one of the greatest coaches of all time and only being a sophomore shows that he thinks I have the potential, too. I was shocked when he came to visit my high school. It was a great experience for me to visit UT. Iâ€™ve always liked the school. I loved junior day and hopefully will be going back in June.â€
Coutee is a 15-year old kid saying something very positive about Texas. I noticed because he’s from East Texas, a region I cover in recruiting. And there has been a shortage of Texas mentions by the local prospects of late. To see that just shows you, maybe Mack is working the trail harder, digging in the Piney Woods for a kid that might love the Longhorns. That’s a great sign Texas faithful.
Thank you for starting your week with me. I hope you have a great day and even better week. Â Hook ‘Em Horns !!