It's not hard to hit a home run with the 5-star studs like Durant, Aldridge, Ford and Augustin - Barnes gets an "A" in bringing them to the 40 acres. But therein lies the problem, these guys stick for one or two years and then move on to greener pastures - that leaves you with the 4 and 3 star recruits - and that's where Barnes has failed, and failed miserably.
Consider the "non-superstars" who he has signed between 2002 and 2007 (still to soon to judge the 08 and 09 class in my opinion): here you go if you are ready for it:
That's the list. Other than Gary Johnson (who apparently can't hit clutch free throws), Abrams (who was always a work in progress on defense tii his senior year) and P.J. Tucker, who had grade issues and left after his junior year, it is hard to find a bona fide "hit" with any of the players on this list - but it isn't too difficult to find a lot of "misses."
Program players are the ones who stay 4 years and are the heart and soul of your program - a Justin Mason-type with offensive skills. Royal Ivey, Brandon Mouton and James Thomas fit that bill to a Texas "T" - although Barnes put Thomas in the doghouse during the later half of his senior season in favor of the great Jason Klotz. Who has filled that bill since these 3 left? Barnes has struck out time after time and pretty much gets a pass since he brings in the super stars.
Where are the 4-star recruits who stay and prosper - those who build a program and a team identity? (Maybe at Baylor, A&M,K-State,Ok. State?) When Barnes misses, he misses big. I assume he may have been able to get a lot of these guys but just misjudged their talent.
We just seem to keep signing pretty much the wrong 4-star recruits. Who do we blame for that? The player or the coach?