The Last Piece of the Puzzle

This story's being yanked straight from the diaries, where reader NM pointed us to an article by SI's Luke Winn on landing of Damion James. Bagging James is old news on this blog, but within the article comes some very new, and very exciting news...

Rick Barnes wants to emulate the Phoenix Suns. Yes, you read that correctly. Once more: Rick Barnes wants to emulate the Phoenix Suns.

The 'Horns' new players will not be the sole source of entertainment, however. In their recruitment of James, Texas' staff shed early light on its plans for an offensive transformation, going away from the scheme they used in '05-06, which was a slow-paced, inside-out attack run through Aldridge and Tucker. UT coaches showed James tapes of the Phoenix Suns' up-tempo offense during his recruiting visit -- and told him they plan to implement the system next season.

In that setup, the 'Horns could play two guards -- Augustin at the point in the Steve Nash role, and either Gibson, Abrams or freshman Justin Mason in the Raja Bell spot -- and two rangy small forwards -- Durant and James, in the Boris Diaw/Tim Thomas/Shawn Marion roles -- along with a center, presumably sophomore Connor Atchley or freshman Matt Hill.

If you're weeping like a little girl right now, overcome with elation and relief, it's okay. I am, too.

Who would have ever thought that Texas' total absence of a strong frontcourt standout would be a good thing? As it turns out, it's the blessing we've long been waiting for. No more inside-out half court slogging. No more holding back players offensive prowess by forcing them into structurally stagnant half court sets. No more wondering why we're not pushing the ball and taking advantage of our talent advantage.

Of all the good things that Rick Barnes has done - and there have been many - this may yet turn out to be the best.

Rick Barnes' "Runnin" Texas Longhorns?

I love it.

--PB--

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