This is my first post, so bear with me. Being a fan of the University of Texas Basketball team at times seems like you’re the only one in existence. With all of the talk of football around this state, it at times seems that we don’t even have a basketball team. Heck, even at the Kansas game, without a doubt the biggest game of the year for us, the fans were rowdiest when the new football coach came out onto the floor. Now don’t get me wrong, I get giddy and excited when it comes to Texas football, but the fact that our basketball team doesn’t get even an ounce of respect from its fans while being the 19th best team in the country baffles me. Of all the teams I’ve followed in my short years of existence (only a 19 year old college student), this team is by far my favorite. They play for each other, and play for their coach, and just all around they make it fun to go to basketball games, especially last year. I had a small feeling from the beginning that this team was going to be special, and the fact that it’s coming to fruition is just a great feeling.
The main thing I didn’t even think about until tonight was the importance of Jonathan Holmes selflessness in those early out-of-conference games so that this result, a destruction of a decent OSU team, could happen. Jonathan is the obvious leader of the team and obviously the best scorer. But what baffles me is looking back on his stats in the early games of the season, specifically non-conference. If you look at his total stats over those games, he had only two games in nonconference with double digit field goals attempted. Now I’m a huge stats guy (in fact I plan to major in it) and this just baffles me. He isn’t one to take a bunch of shots in games even now, but the fact that he was able to compose himself and take only the shots that he felt were coming to him in those early games is amazing. This is even more amazing in large part to the fact that many of these games were close in the final four minutes. What I didn’t realize until tonight when we didn’t have him is how important him not being the superstar in those games was.
This selflessness allowed for the unforeseen development of Javan Felix as a damn impressive shooter all around, because it allowed for him to take more shots in game and find really where he could best fit. It allowed for the development of Cam Ridley as, dare I say it, the best all-around big man in the conference. It led to the development of those three other young guards we have (Yancy, Croaker, Walker) because they got to see more looks in game. And most importantly, it allowed Isaiah Taylor to make mistakes. Isaiah has a legitimate case for one of the best freshman guards in the country, and this was due to his freedom he was given by not only Barnes in the beginning of the season, but from Holmes.
Without all of that occurring early in the season, this game doesn’t happen. Seriously. I didn’t think this game was going to have a good outcome based on what happened in Manhattan Saturday and in Fort Worth last week coupled with the loss of Jonathan Holmes, let alone we would beat the crap out of this team. But now that I look back on the early games of this year, this one was made possible by what Holmes did, or rather, the lack thereof.