Morning Coffee Salutes Rooster Andrews

A legend passes. Austin and University of Texas icon Rooster Andrews has passed away at age 84. For those of us who grew up in Austin and/or attended the university, the man and his effects on UT were ubiquitous. As track coach Bubba Thornton told the Statesman: "He probably was one of the greatest ambassadors for the unviersity that I've ever known... The number of lives he's influenced in a positive way is simply staggering."

No question about it. A chapter of The Eyes of Texas 2008 will be devoted to chronicling his remarkable life.

Slump might be a bit charitable. Mark Rosner notes that AJ Abrams' 0-7 night from three point range ended a three-year, 54-game streak of consecutive contests with a three point basket made for the junior guard. AW noted in his game summary that AJ's only made 7 of his 32 three pointers in conference play, a point Ron Franklin made during last night's broadcast as well.

But Franklin was wrong to call it a "mini"-slump. Mega seems more appropriate. Recall the Dec. 21 Texas Basketball Report, which chronicled how poorly Abrams was shooting the three ball in non-con play since the Tennessee win.

For the season, Abrams has now slipped to hitting just 35.6% of his three point shots. That's not an awful rate... unless you're shooting 146 three pointers, as Abrams has. To put that in perspective, Abrams has attempted more three pointers than Connor Atchley has attempted field goals. Hell, except for Augustin and James, Abrams has attempted more threes than every member of the team has shots of any kind.

Fortunately, AJ's improved other aspects of his half court game, and I thought last night in particular did a great job at times of making interior passes after penetrating. It's critical he play well in other areas of the game if he's going to keep shooting as poorly as he has. My God is he ice cold.

It's not science, but it's close. If you're like me, you don't live and die with the rumors of where each 17 year old kid may or may not go to school. I keep an eye on things as they progress, but I'm far more interested in looking at the recruiting class after signing day, when we've got a final head count we can evaluate.

Last year at this time I wrote about the relative importance of recruiting, concluding:

That's why, when you really think about signing day, it pays to temper your expecations with a large dose of reality. Signing kids with talent is important, but turning them into great football players is far more critical to meeting the lofty goals we all set for our favorite teams. Player development, acceptable academic performance, and adequate discipline to avoid the countless pitfalls that await these kids will wind up going a lot further toward determining Texas' won-loss records over the next four years than any accumulation of grading stars ever could.

Recruiting is important, and it can even be fun, but try not to be a determinist about it all. It's simply one step in a long and complicated formula for collegiate football success. Teams don't win and lose games on signing day. Amidst a sea of uncertainty, that's one thing we can be sure of.

Forget me and my soap box, though: SMQ hits a monster home run with this empirical evaluation of recruiting rankings, assessing their accuracy, validity, and impact. Conclusion: there's more to on-field success than bringing in the top talent, but you're not very likely to have the former without the latter. Go, read.

--PB--

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