You may be wondering why the hell I pose such a question at this time of year, but I just caught a nugget of info from Longhorn guard Avery Bradley, who spent last week working out in Las Vegas with many other NBA Draft hopefuls.
Per ESPN's Chad Ford:
I spoke with Bradley after the workouts about his up-and-down season at Texas. He said he felt he was on par with the more heralded freshmen like Wall and Cousins. What he lacked was a coach who turned the keys over to him. Texas had seniors like Damion James and Dexter Pittman and he tried to fit in and defer to them -- a role he said Rick Barnes asked him to play.
Following the article, I immediately queued up a piece that ran in ESPN The Magazine back in late February. You probably caught it, as it certainly turned heads and left some college basketball fans questioning the mindset of Longhorn head coach, Rick Barnes:
"We would love to win a national championship, but we're not obsessed with it because we're obsessed with these guys trying to live their NBA dream," Barnes says, with a nod to their predecessors. "What's happened to Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford -- I'd give up a national title for all of our guys to be able to live their dream."
Now, here's where this gets incongruous. If Avery Bradley, the #1 recruit in the class of 2009 (the same class that features the uber-hyped DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors and John Wall), possesses a skill set that suggests he could develop into a steady and dependable NBA player, why was that not a priority to Rick Barnes; head coach at a program where churning out NBA talent is apparently a major point of emphasis?
Texas was a crash and burn team last season, one that lacked a true rotation and defined roles. While James is a likely first-round pick, Pittman may never sign an NBA contract. So why was Barnes seemingly doing them a favor by encouraging his budding young guard to defer to the team's upperclassmen? Based on his quote, one would think the Longhorn coaching staff would work to mold Bradley into a true point or shooting guard, and send him on his way.
Is it weird I find these two statements...well...weird? Thoughts from UT fans are welcome.