April 15, 2011

QB job at Texas is wide open heading into fall

1. I'm going to follow up on something Ketch posted in the War Room. Talked to a source inside the program about the quarterback situation at Texas and got some interesting answers.

First of all, Garrett Gilbert is going to have to earn the job. Period. There is no wink-wink, nod-nod about everyone competing for the job.

Gilbert is absolutely going to have to earn it because the coaches are serious about wanting to see who grasps the offense best and can lead and execute it.

That includes true freshman David Ash. Right now, coaches have been pleasantly surprised by Ash's progress. But they aren't putting any pressure on it. If Ash keeps coming on and shows he can grasp the details of the offense, then he's going to be in the mix.

I know some will say, that's bull. But it's not. Connor Wood did a lot of good things in camp as well and will get a fair shot to win the job.

Gilbert has done a lot of good things, too. But he didn't create a bunch of separation amongst the competitors despite having a full year as a starter.

And Case McCoy made things interesting by having such a nice spring game despite an up and down spring in practices.

The point to all of this is if anyone thinks Gilbert has a leg up on the competition because he got so much on-field experience last season, forget it. Not true.

If David Ash is the one who commands the offense the best, he'll play. In other words, it's wide open.

2. Wanted to give you all a little more in-depth quotes from Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph from the banquet Thursday night.

My read on it from talking to sources and from talking to the players last night is that Hamilton and Thompson are out the door.

Here's what Jordan said:

"As of right now, I'm going home (Friday) to meet with my parents to make a decision," said Hamilton, who was voted most improved player on the team. "I haven't been talking to any agents, but I have been thinking about if it's the right time to go or stay, and right now, I'm just undecided."

When asked if he'd go into the draft without an agent, Hamilton said, "I'm going to talk to my parents, and I think their say is going to have a lot to do with if I stay or go."

My sources say if Hamilton is putting a lot of stock in what his dad wants, then Hamilton is moving on.

Tristan Thompson said he's still undecided. But he added some intrigue by saying he won't consider entering the NBA Draft without an agent to preserve his option of returning to Texas.

"Right now, I don't really see the point of that," said Thompson, who was voted the team's most valuable player by fellow teammates. "It's either stay in school or enter my name. Right now I'm in the middle of it and haven't made a decision yet."

Thompson also denied a report by NBADraft.net that said he had already hired an agent and was on his way to the NBA.

"That's the Tristan Thompson from North Texas," Thompson said. "It was a mistake. We have the same first and last name, so people get confused. But it was not me."

Again, my sources say Thompson does indeed have a foot out the door.
Cory Joseph is the latest to contemplate his future in the NBA.

"I'm talking to my family and still haven't made a decision yet," said Joseph, who hit 41.3 percent from 3-point range last season. "I'm going to be looking at whatever is best for me and family. Everyone wants to be in this position as they grow up. But it's a very, very hard decision to make. That's why I'm taking my time."

Joseph said Canadian freshmen Myck Kabongo and Kevin Thomas, who are friends with Joseph and Thompson, won't be rattled by any decisions made by Joseph and Thompson.

"Mike and Kevin are going to understand and work hard no matter what," Joseph said.

Rick Barnes said he's trying to help his guys get information to make the right decision.

"This is a tough year because of all the uncertainty as it pertains to the NBA," Barnes said. "Maybe one of the tougher years ever. There's so much uncertainty. But you want them to know as much as they can about it and then make an informed decision."

Barnes said none of the players have started checking out from school.

"They've all done a good job of doing what they are supposed to do to finish up strong here academically," Barnes said. "But certainly some guys have a decision to make. None of them have really made that decision up to this point.

"But they have to do their work with the families to see what they think, and I'm sure when that's finished they'll do what's best for them."

3. Speaking of Barnes, he was apparently supposed to speak for 10 minutes at the banquet and ended up speaking for 39 minutes.

A lot of Barnes' speech was often on the verge of tears. He was very emotional when talking about DeLoss Dodds, his players and his wife, Candy, as well as the coaches' wives and how much they sacrifice to help the Texas coaching staff.

Barnes gave credit to Candy for telling him that he would regret not taking the Texas job 13 years ago.

He also provided the single-most hilarious moment of the banquet (and probably most awkward moment) when he talked about former assistant coach Rodney Terry's breath.

Barnes said he got a call from a reporter in Fresno seeking comment about the very first impression Barnes had of Terry. Well, Terry apparently sidled up to Barnes at a tournament in Las Vegas when Barnes was looking to hire an assistant, and all Barnes could think of was Terry's breath.

"His breath was terrible," Barnes said, drawing groans. "And Rodney is one of the most hygienic people you will ever know. But he had braces on his teeth, and I don't know. He looked like he was in 7th grade."

Terry told me Friday he has no idea what Barnes was talking about.

"Bad breath?" Terry said. "Are you kidding me right now?"

A couple other nuggets:

--Terry had been a finalist for the UTEP job that went to Tim Floyd. But Terry said he wouldn't have been ready for that job. In part, because Terry had an ailing sister he wanted to stay near and help. That situation has changed, so Terry feels good moving out West. Terry also interviewed for jobs at Houston (after Penders left) and Central Florida.

"This job was the right job at the right time," Terry said of Fresno State.

--I was told in Rob Lanier's decision to leave Florida for Texas, one of the big reasons is that Lanier and his wife, Dayo, who is a pediatrician, feel like Austin is better place to raise their small kids, Emory and Kai.

--Barnes was very excited for LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) and Royal Ivey (OKC) as they start the NBA Playoffs.

"Kevin and LaMarcus have had incredible years," Barnes said. "LaMarcus helped put that team on his back at times and probably should have been an All-Star. Kevin is going to be the face of the NBA for a long time to come. We are proud of all our guys in the NBA."

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