COLUMN: Assessing what UT hoops job needs and pros and cons of candidates


{{ timeAgo(‘2021-03-31 10:55:05 -0500’) }} basketball Edit

Well, Wednesday arrived and the Longhorns still don’t have a men’s basketball coach. They do, however, have a women’s coach and he is clearly going to win a lot of games in burnt orange and white. But the search – perhaps ‘pursuit’ is a better word – by Texas to find Shaka Smart’s replacement continues, which isn’t a surprise.

We know Chris Beard’s buyout if another Big 12 or program inside the state hires him drops to $4 million tomorrow. Also, we know our colleagues at have been reporting on Texas Tech officials meeting with Beard and attempting to lock him in for even more money and years than the borderline insane salary – $5,050,000 last season – he makes currently. I suppose it’s fair to say the ball is in his court and the public silence about staying at Texas Tech or not should end soon.

In the meantime, since the job still is open, I’m still afforded a little time sandwiched between the “what are we going to do with Shaka and why isn’t he fired yet?!?!?!” and “are we going to get Beard?!?!?” to outline what I believe this job requires and explore in deeper detail the good and bad for candidates.— Normally, this wouldn’t be the first place my mind wanders, but college basketball isn’t normal right now. Players are entering the NCAA Transfer Portal at a staggering rate, and they’re not just good mid-major players looking for a jump in profile and competition or frustrated high-major players who didn’t play as much as they wanted. Really good players who played a lot of minutes for excellent coaches at excellent programs are even leaving.

College basketball now is very much a “the grass is definitely” greener elsewhere sport and if you think tampering isn’t going on, you probably think high school recruiting is squeaky clean too. It’s a mess. Unfortunately, it’s not going anywhere at least for the foreseeable future. Considering the landscape and UT’s current roster, it’s paramount Texas hires a head coach capable, with help from a good coaching staff, of turning over a roster quickly and effectively in order to win immediately but also, more importantly, establish a foundation for the program to excel as it moves into its new arena.

Recruiting for college coaches is now your own players, high school players and transfers. And maybe if you’re at a place like Texas, you’ll recruit against the NBA G-League on occasion too. When Texas hires a coach, it needs to ask the coach and itself what kind of recruiting program is it willing to be and if the focus of its roster is going to be on multi-year players it can keep in its program and develop or a bunch of national top 50 kids with eyes on the league or another landing spot at the first sign of trouble.— It’s been a long, long time since Texas fans were consistently excited and willing to pack their home arena. Ask yourself this: when’s the last time during the last decade you’ve been all-in on Texas Basketball for multiple seasons in a row? My educated guess, and part of my education comes from attending basically every home game since 2012 and reading this message board daily, is for many of you it’s probably never happened.

Since the five-second call against Arizona in the NCAA Tournament, Texas is 189-143 overall and 86-93 in the Big 12 with one NCAA Tournament win and one Big 12 Tournament title. Yes, winning cures all and a consistent winner is the obvious solution. Duh. But for a program that will always compete for popularity with football, especially football, and baseball on campus, Texas could really use a huge name or someone capable of consistently promoting the program, pumping energy into it and building rosters that grab attention. The new arena is going to be awesome. But if people aren’t excited about the product, it won’t be filled for long…


Happy to say this week’s column is again brought to you by The Timothy Center. The father-son duo of Doctors Jimmy and Josh Myers, both big Longhorn fans, are doing some great counseling work in the Austin area, especially during such a trying time mentally for many as we all are dealing with a global pandemic.

Drs. Jimmy & Josh Myers are the father/son owners of The Timothy Center here in Austin. Both are rabid UT fans, and both could use counseling themselves due to all the stress that this love of the Horns has generated.

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