HD Mailbag: Kobe Eubanks, UT Tourney Hopes

In this week's HD Mailbag I answer several questions surrounding the Longhorns basketball program.

HD Subscriber jmf1973:

Hey William, thanks for the mailbag. Those who follow the UT men's basketball team closely are not surprised at the wins against Baylor & K-State. They've also predicted it will take two wins in the B12 tournament to get a bid into the NCAA tournament. So do you think the UT men's basketball team is getting hot? I mean hot like how UConn got hot a few years ago to win the national title, though I'd be shocked if the Horns got hot like that. My question goes more to Barnes' job security. Obviously, if they win a natty, he stays. But how many wins, realistically speaking, will it take for him to keep his job?

Answer:

I wouldn’t say Texas is getting as hot as UConn did last season. That was a magical run that won’t happen but only once or twice a decade.

That said, I do think there are signs of UT’s team heading in the right direction. The obvious one is the two-game win streak. But it’s much deeper than that. The fight they showed late against Baylor (both emotionally and physically) was much needed. That’s the type of attitude this team has to play with from here on out.

You remember the West Virginia game at home when Texas basically said it went out there with the mentality that it wasn’t going to get punked? They ended up wiping the floor with one of the better teams in the Big 12, and a team no one wants to see in the Big Dance.

The three biggest keys for me moving forward are: Jonathan Holmes finding his jump shot like he did late against KSU; Myles Turner getting involved offensively early and often; Isaiah Taylor staying in attack mode like he always is, but being smart about it. And if I had to throw a fourth one out there I’d say it’s Connor Lammert being the glue guy that fills up the stat sheet. The team is unbelievably better when he is his best self on the court.

As for Barnes, I think he has to get out of the first weekend to have a chance at surviving this. There’s a good chance UT plays one of the play-in games. So he could have to lead this team to three victories in order to do that.

HD subscriber krshornz15:

I'll be in kc this week for the big 12 tournament, where's the best places to celebrate our wins? You buying first round?

Answer:

Easily has to be the Power and Light District, which is literally across the street from the arena. That place will be rocking all week long. Should be a fun time. If I can get over there, first round is on me.

HD subscriber DiggsTX:

What are the hardest and most enjoyable parts of covering recruiting for a living?

Answer:

One of the hardest (frustrating) parts of the job for me personally is monitoring all these damn tweets, social media sites where it seems like recruits spend about 26 hours a day talking about anything from girls, their new Jordans, high school banter and, oh yeah, recruiting. It gets exhausting. The job really never ends because of it.

The most enjoyable part of this job for me, aside from getting to interact with the HD Fam, is getting to see the recruiting process come full circle for those recruits that I formed decent relationships with. There are several more good apples out there than one’s you’d sometimes like to forget about. The good, respectful ones are the ones that make this job worthwhile.

Plus, it gives you a pretty good idea about what the coaches are thinking about the future of the program, where they need to improve, what type of player they are looking for, etc.

HD Columnist Chip Brown:

How high will the Spurs finish in the West?

Answer:

Not out of the realm of possibilities for Los Spurs to climb all the way to the No. 3 spot, which would be ideal for them (home court and would avoid either Golden State or OKC (cough: New Orleans) in the second round. But that’s going to be tough. I’d say they’ll finish in the 4th spot. Will have plenty of opportunities to jump up with the way their schedule sets up coming down the stretch.

HD subscriber ZJHorn:

I noticed that we have our spring practices later than a lot of schools (seems like a lot of schools have already started). Are there any advantages/disadvantages to having spring practice later? Any particular reason that the staff does this?

Answer:

No real true benefit for having it late to my knowledge. One thing to think about, though, is by starting later they do avoid having the spring game on Easter weekend, which happened under Mack Brown, and also the weekend of The Masters.

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HD subscriber HookedonHorns2797:

Your opinions on alternate uniforms? Whats the wins/losses cap on the team if Heard is the starter?

Answer:

I answered this last week and basically said that I don’t have a problem with Texas having one alternate uniform that it uses to get the players a little more amped up for a key game (OU?). As for Heard, he’s got to take on much more of a leadership role to rally the troops. I’m guessing somewhere around 7-8 wins.

HD subscriber ZydecoLevee:

Chip, I noticed where Eric Davis was selected to the Jordan Brand Classic Roster. Also, any news on the Kobe Eubanks visit this weekend? For those who do not know, he is a 6'-5" shooting guard/small forward with the Elev8 Sports Institute in Florida. He was committed to Baylor in 2014 but did not make it into school apparently because of grade issues. Looks like he is another shooting option possibility for next year. Do you have any idea how likely he might be for Texas as a prospect? Also have you heard anything new about who Texas may be looking at as a power forward? I know that a lot hinges on whether we make the Big Dance and how well we might do if we do get in, since a lot of folks think we may have a change in the coaching regime. I will believe it when I see that change, so any thoughts on these questions assuming Coach Barnes stays? Asked this in the game thread from yesterday ... sorry, did not see the "keep it to one question" request. How about just answer one! ;)

Answer:

From what I’m told he really, really enjoyed his visit. All I can tell you at this point is that things are moving in the right direction for the Longhorns. Stay tuned. We’ll have more on this. He’s a solid fit anywhere he goes because of his potential on the court. I’m not 100 percent sure where his grades are at right now, or if he’d have any issues getting in to UT. If that’s all clear I could see it working out.

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