And so, both Gibson and freshman F LaMarcus Aldridge would have at least one year together?
For Gibson, it is simply a matter of exploring his status for the NBA Draft (as Aldridge did) last spring.
"That is something I grew up wanting to do," Gibson said. "Every player wants to try playing in the NBA. Its great to be mentioned in that category. I love it, but Im here at Texas. I love Texas."
"What I try to go by is I would tell my players exactly what I would tell a son if he was in the same situation," Barnes said. "I would try to gather all the information I could. And then I would say, If you are a Lottery pick, then you need to go to the NBA."
Ford, of course, departed the Forty Acres following his sophomore season after telling reporters that it was "110 percent" certain he would return for his junior campaign. (Barnes later said that Ford fully intended to return but that he helped convince the 2003 National Player of the Year that it would be in his best interest to move on.) Former UT center Chris Mihm, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, was NBA bound following his junior season. Barnes has absolutely no problem with underclassmen leaving early for professional careers.
"Kids come to school to make their lives better," Barnes said. "When that happens, it happens. Some players leave early, some leave after they graduate. You move on."
Gibson leads his team in scoring with 14.7 ppg and is the only Longhorn to have started all 28 games this season. He is considered to be the leading candidate for Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors.
"I just try to get out and play hard and let those (voters) make that decision for themselves," Gibson said.
The 19-9 Longhorns close out the regular season at No. 8 Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. Saturday in an ESPN national telecast.