October 5, 2007

Hoops locker room

Basketball season is right around the corner with the start of practice just eight days away. The Texas Longhorns will be an intriguing team to watch in 2007-08 as they return valuable experience at key positions, return one of the top point guards in the country that will likely be up for the Big 12 Player of the Year and will be mixing in a talented four-man freshman class.

Here is the first of a biweekly installment of the Hoops locker room that will run the entire season.

Q-With the success of an open offensive system with Durant, and the allure of that system for future recruits, how does Rick balance the strengths of this team which resembles the depth and toughness of his past teams? Can this team play tough defense and dominate rebounding with an open offensive system?

Texas can play good defense and rebound well with a quicker tempo system. The key is to have interior depth and be able to rotate the big men. Having four or five capable bigs is the key so they can play hard for shorter stretches.

Texas isn't going to play a break neck pace or anything, but it will look to run this year. Being a better defensive rebounding team will allow for that style and lead to more three on two transition opportunities. If Texas can establish that style of play, assuming they rebound the ball better early in the season, it becomes likely that opponents won't send three or four players to the offensive glass and will have to get two or three in a position to get back defensively.

Q-Any possibility of Abrams coming off the bench?

Highly doubtful. A.J. Abrams would be a dynamic sixth man, but he will likely be a fixture the next two years in the starting line-up. Much more of a chance that Mason will play a sixth man role during the season at some point.

Q-Barnes is a proven winner as a coach, but I think he is best at preparing players mentally and physically for a season. Durant, Tucker and Ford absolutely took off in their time in Austin and I expect Augustin and maybe James will too this season. How would you rate this quality and why is this quality underrated in the national media?

Hard to say why it's underrated by the national media. I won't be surprised if the subject isn't brought up a few times this season with all of the Durant couldn't bench 185-pounds talk a few months ago, and in a positive way brought up during a telecast.

Augustin has really improved his 3/4 court and full court speed and quickness. He has already taken off under the off season with Coach Wright. Justin Mason the same. Damion James has dropped around 10-pounds, so he may be in a similar position this year as Augustin and Mason, but they really stand out.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!