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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KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Texas

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.”


Geezer 9 years, 6 months ago

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

Cameron Cederlind 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm not sure he's even good at that . . . I get the feeling both Rick Barnes and Mack Brown aren't very good coaches when they have the largest talent pool to pick from.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 6 months ago

A look into the future. Texas is clearly one of the youngest teams in the country and you need good things to happen to keep a positive outlook. Loosing so many close games weighs on a teams psychology. As indicated in this article, they are looking for something bad to happen, not a way to win. Enjoy this year with 4 seniors (3 who are 5 years seniors) and a stud redshirt freshman. Because next year KU will be extremely young and will struggle because of their youth and inexperience. Self wins because of defense and as we have witness since his arrival it takes at least a year to integrate and become productive. Ever other team in the Big XII is licking their chops because you will hear Self frustrations, just like Barnes. So lets hope the team can make a run at their 9th conference title because next there will not be the experience on the court to win games when they play poorly, which has been quite a few this season.

Shawn Otrimble 9 years, 6 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.

dw3c 9 years, 6 months ago

Greatest coach in CBB... +eleventy billion

Boouk 9 years, 6 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.

Bill Pitcher 9 years, 6 months ago

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

Luke Kading 9 years, 6 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?

jgkojak 9 years, 6 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.

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