Let's Play Some Durant, Durant
In case you've been distracted by Colt McCoy bucking all odds in Austin, here's a friendly reminder: Rick Barnes' basketball team tips off the '06-'07 season in the Coaches v. Cancer Classic Thursday.
(Now there's a thought: acute lymphoma versus Ditka. Ditka 103. Cancer 3. Now give me some Polish Sausage.)
But the beginning of this basketball season is strange. Did you notice Texas A&M ranks higher than Texas in preseason basketball polls? Now, that's an inconceivable thought in football. It's a mere myth in basketball, or so I thought.
It makes sense, though. With Texas' mass NBA exodus, this is a very young team. The roster sports only two juniors and one senior and only one of those guys has logged significant minutes in previous years. A&M, meanwhile, returns their entire core. Barnes faces a stiff Big 12 South test.
What will Barnes experience with lack of experience be? Has he established a program like Kansas or Duke, where it might take a few weeks for the youngsters to acclimate but come tourney time they're ready to make a run at the Final Four? Or does Barnes have a program that has to rebuild?
I vote for the first one, better known as reloading. Why? Well, Sophomore point guard A. J. Abrams' shot has developed as evidenced by his 25 points in an exhibition. Connor Atchley will, at the very least be adequate, and has 6'11", 315 pound Dexter Pittman behind him. Bring on LSU's Baby Shaq. And D. J. Augustin is primed to step in at shooting guard full time. And these guys aren't the number one reason.
For UT Bball salvation, look no further than Kevin Durant. One report said he packs point guard skills in a 6'9" body with a 7'5" wingspan. Sounds impressive. If the hype is accurate this guard/forward Barnes managed to recruit out from under Coach K and Roy Williams will help this team transition. He will be better than P. J. Tucker. Will make us forget C. J. Miles chose life as an NBA second round pick over playing for the Horns. Should put Texas back in the Final Four.
So don't worry. By the time Colt finishes his National Championship run and you remember Texas plays basketball, too, everything will be just fine.