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What If You Were Rick Barnes?

What would you do if you were Rick Barnes? Let's play pretend for a moment and assume that Kentucky contacts Rick about his interest in becoming the next head coach in Lexington.

Put yourself in Rick Barnes' shoes. What would you do?

Note that I'm not asking what you think Rick Barnes would do; I want to know how you'd think through this if the decision were put before you. I'll offer a few points to consider carefully before opening up the floor:

Kevin Counts I think the first thing I'd say to Kentucky is, "Can you wait until Kevin Durant makes his decision about turning pro?" If Kevin tells me he's returning for another year, you couldn't pry me away from the Texas job with $10 million per year and Ashley Judd on call as a perma-mistress.

Do You Care About Prestige? Rick's situation at Texas is ideal in many regards (which we'll get to below), but let's not be dismissive about the value of landing such a prestigious job. Think about it another way. If you had a great salary, outstanding supportive editors, and all the creative freedom you needed as the star conservative columnist for the Orange County Register, would you be willing to pass up an offer to write a similar gig for the New York Times? Even if the new job would be incredibly taxing, and subject you to a never-ending barrage of harassment? Staying with the old gig would be awfully nice, but writing for the Times is more or less the pinnacle of American journalism.

Fan Support Versus Fan Support At Texas, there is very little fan support - certainly not as much as there should be for a program as successful as the one Barnes has built. Does that bother you, as a coach? Is it reason to want to coach somewhere like Kentucky, if you get the chance? And what about the other kind of fan support, where the fans are rabid for your product, but will crucify you for each and every perceived misstep? If you win the big one, you're a god. If you never get there.... helll, even if you do get there.... you might get so sick of the diehards that you'd leave the nation's premier basketball program to go coach for the University of Minnesota.

Is The Situation At Texas Ideal? Some would say that it is. Rick Barnes has world-class facilities, the ability to recruit a state bountiful with prospects, and enough national recognition to bring in guys from around the country, as well. He may not be able to recruit nationally as well as he could at Kentucky, but there's no question that the situation is a good one. As the basketball coach at Texas, Rick also operates in a vacuum of sorts. The number of fans at Texas who demand as much excellence from the basketball program as the football program is a pitifully small one. Barnes will never know the kind of pressure that Mack Brown knows each and every autumn. At Texas, being competitive is more than enough for most fans.

Do You Have A Desire To Finish What You Started? What Rick has done to rescue the program from the mediocrity of Tom Penders has been remarkable. He's brought in a steady stream of some of the most exciting young basketball players in the country, he's reached a Final Four, his teams have been regulars in the Sweet 16. It's impossible to evaluate the job Rick's done so far and grade him anything short of an 'A'. Still, he hasn't reached the top of the mountain yet. A Final Four is nice, but the real prize has eluded Rick thus far. If you were the coach, would it be important that you stay in Austin to try to put the icing on the cake?

I think those are the five biggest factors you'll want to consider, though there are certainly others. I'll note that I have no idea whether Kentucky is even interested in talking to Barnes, but that's beside the point. I'm just curious what you would do.

Stay or go?


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Would you leave Texas for Kentucky?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Yes, regardless
    (89 votes)
  • 20%
    Yes, if KD leaves
    (83 votes)
  • 56%
    (226 votes)
398 votes total Vote Now