said Tuesday that his new boss - Texas has hired Steve Patterson from Arizona
State as the new AD - is someone he doesn't know, but he is well aware of his
background, and how that background could pay huge dividends for the UT
absolutely excited," said Barnes, when asked about Patterson in a Tuesday
press conference at the Cooley Pavilion, prior to Friday's opener at home
against Mercer. "I really believe there are some exciting days
he was particularly excited about Patterson's background in developing new
facilities for the various organizations for whom he has worked.
only imagine that our new arena is going to solve a lot of problems for
us," Barnes said of the difficult parking situation that surrounds the
Frank C. Erwin Center, and of the potential of having a new basketball facility
on the Forty Acres. "To have the program we want, we have to make it
easier for fans to come see us. I think it's great for us to have someone who
has that kind of vision coming here."
security - Barnes gave the standard line when asked about his job security
Tuesday. "It's no different than it has been," Barnes said.
"Just like every year, I'm eager to see us play to our potential. I've
coached long enough to know that some years are going to be better than others.
The question you have to ask is: Do you have the grit you need to fight
* Freshmen -
Barnes said the freshmen on his roster (the Longhorns have five of those) have
assimilated well so far to his tough-approach program. "The first thing to
say about these freshmen is that they have really bought in to what we've asked
them to do," Barnes said of the group that includes Kendal Yancy, Isaiah
Taylor, Damarcus Croaker, Martez Walker and Danny Newsome. "They have
developed a work ethic that we expect here and we've seen improvement from all
of the freshmen. But they're still learning."
spring's exodus and personnel upheaval on the Texas team "had to
happen," Barnes said Tuesday. "I knew it had to happen," said
Barnes, whose losses included Myck Kabongo (professional), Ioannis Papapetrou
(professional), Julien Lewis (transfer) and Sheldon McClellan (transfer).
"I knew there would have to be major changes. For us to go where we had to
go, there had to be a major overhaul. What happened in the spring had to be
guard Isaiah Taylor has definitely gotten Barnes' attention prior to Friday's opener
at home against Mercer. Taylor averaged 17.6 points, 10 assists and six steals
per game his senior season, and has shown some speed flashes early for the
Longhorns. "He has to get consistent, but he is very fast," Barnes
said. "We need to be able to get up and down the floor, and he helps us do
that. And he has done a good job of understanding that he has a certain job to
do for us."
indicated that his front court tandem of Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh will
both be shot blockers for the Longhorns this season, and should give Texas an inside
presence defensively. "They've both gotten better, even in the last couple
of weeks," Barnes said. "It's just about them being able to find
their space on the floor. And they've worked hard on their free throw
shooting." Ibeh shot 37.5 percent (15 of 40) from the line last season,
while Ridley shot 33.3 percent (28 of 84).
preseason Big 12 polls have Texas slotted very, very low in the conference
standings, a fact that Barnes says concerns him not in the least. "I had a
team once that was picked to be the worst team in the history of the Atlantic
Coast Conference, and we ended up winning 16 games that year," Barnes
said. "But I do think the number one team in the country is Kansas. I
don't vote, but if I did, that's who I'd pick."
the most important answer from the Barnes press conference Tuesday came a few
minutes before the end, when he was asked about whether or not his team has the
ability to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. "No doubt," Barnes
immediately answered. "Absolutely no doubt."