Saturday, January 19, 2013

Texas coach Rick Barnes questions team’s mental toughness after losing another late lead

Texas guard Sheldon McClellan puts up a shot over Kansas guard Travis Releford during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Texas guard Sheldon McClellan puts up a shot over Kansas guard Travis Releford during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.


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Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 64-59 victory over Texas on Jan. 19, 2013.

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— If Texas sophomore Sheldon McClellan is watching instead of playing when his team is trying to protect a late lead again, he need not wonder why.

McClellan’s words in the wake of the Longhorn’s latest fall-from-ahead loss, 64-59 Saturday to Kansas in the Erwin Center, caught the attention of his coach and not in a good way.

Texas already had lost 10-point leads in the final four minutes against UCLA and West Virginia and led by as many as 11 points Saturday against Kansas.

Basketball coaches across America preach “next play” to athletes, stressing that what’s in the past is in the past. But bad history, even if it’s not from the same game, can have a way of creeping into a player’s psyche.

“It definitely crosses our minds, us being there before, just like the last couple of games we’ve been having the lead and losing the lead,” McClellan said.

The team’s leading scorer emerged from coach Rick Barnes’ doghouse to score 18 points against Kansas after playing just one minute in a 20-point loss to Iowa State.

Once McClellan’s confession on his late-game thoughts reached the ears of Barnes through a reporter, the coach didn’t sound very happy.

“That’s mental toughness and that’s exactly what we’re talking about,” Barnes said. “If that’s what’s on your mind — and I’m glad you said that — then you shouldn’t be on the floor because there are other guys that I don’t think are thinking that. If that really enters your mind, I mean, that’s winning time. You can’t have guys thinking that, so I’m glad you told me that because if that’s what he’s thinking, he can’t be out there.”

Neither Barnes nor Kansas coach Bill Self questioned UT’s Julien Lewis for firing up a potential game-tying three-point shot with 13 seconds remaining.

“That situation, down three, he got a good look at it,” Barnes said. “He’s made that shot a lot.”


jgkojak 1 year, 2 months ago

If I were TX I'd get rid of Barnes now... With all the upside of this young team... And I'd hire

Brad Stevens ... Who would take those players and Muck and win a N.C.


Luke Kading 1 year, 2 months ago

Why would Lewis' potential game tying three towards the end of the game be questionable? I think this is the second article I've read that calls it into question (Not sure if Keegan did both or not). It's not like Texas had the lead or was tied and should be milking the clock. They were just looking for the first good look they could get from three and he got a pretty good look from the corner. Am I missing something here?


Ferd Magellan 1 year, 3 months ago

Is there a more pressure-free job in sports than the head coaching gig at Texas? He has unlimited resources from the school, is in the heart of a state loaded with talent and he never has to worry about losing his job as long as the Horns finish with a winning record most years. Most of the college fans in TX are indifferent to basketball, so the pressure is off.

If I could coach I'd love that cushy job.


ferdthemooncat 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, Barnes gets a lot of criticism, but he's not that good, either.


William Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

I think the problem in Texas is Barnes. He's a good guy, and I've heard he is very popular within the B12 and with his players. But I don't think he has what it takes at this level of ball. He isn't a game coach. It is the coach's responsibility to influence his players' minds during games, especially at the end if you expect them to successfully close out a game.

When Barnes says he finds out after a game that one of his players has a defeatist attitude you can't blame the player. It is the coach that has to keep these guys on track, and has to take the responsibility now to fix it, beyond just saying he needs to pull players thinking wrong at the end.

I think Barnes is in over his head and should settle in to a lower profile D1 coaching job. Yes, he belongs in D1, just not at this level. Maybe a job like U of Houston, or the likes.

I like Barnes, but I'd like to see a change at Texas. Texas has the infrastructure to build a program that could compete closely with us every year. This current KU massacre of the B12 every year feels good now, but it isn't good for KU ball in the future, because we are learning more (every day) how important conference strength is for the strength of each institution within it.

KU basketball needs a strong B12 in basketball and, more important, in football. Texas may need a new AD and direction because their football seems to be playing out like their basketball; plenty of talent every year but unable to achieve big results. Maybe Texas ends up blaming the B12 (like other ex-members did) and bolts (if they can find a fair home for the Longhorn Network).


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Bottom line: TX has been in ballgames (2 x OT losses), they are #2 in defense, and all this from a bunch of frosh+sophs...Yes, Rick Barnes gets a couple of more years...and as these kids mature, the TX team only gets better and better. Notice how their bigs outrebounded us for 75% of the game (freshman+sophomores!).


Boouk 1 year, 3 months ago

Not that their AD or president really care about any other sport than football, but is Rick at all on the hotseat? I can see Larry Brown and Danny Manning being candidates to replace Rick if he gets fired.


Shawn Otrimble 1 year, 3 months ago

I believe Rick can coach, 2nd best defense in the country,He did beat Roy this year. And the KU-Texas games had been some of the best in the Big 12 era. We are just spoiled to have the greatest Coach in college basketball.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

It is debatable regarding Barnes at TX. I personally am amazed that he has his frosh+Soph team playing #2 ranked defense in the nation...and he almost got us, didnt he? His team has a tremendous upside...regarding MarchMadness, TX simply has to start winning some games, including OU, IowaSt, those all will be Tourney teams...


Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

And I think we can be questioning whether Rick Barnes will still be employed at the University of Texas after this season. Last several years, he has severely underachieved. Won only three Big 12 regular season titles, two of them shared with Kansas. Been to only one Final Four (2003). Never won the Big 12 Tournament - 0-6 in the finals, including 0-4 against Kansas in the finals. Fell from #1 ranking to 9-7 league finish and lost in first round of NCAA's in 2010. Started off undefeated in Big 12 play, only to blow it and surrender first place to Kansas in 2011. Mediocre record in 2012, and now on the brink of its first NCAA Tournament absence since the Tom Penders era.


Geezer 1 year, 3 months ago

Barnes gets a lot of criticism but he's not that bad.


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