AW: Just commented on MMHorns' latest Dex diary.
PB: Not a bad place to start the chatter. I think what happens with Dex is as interesting as anything that happens this offseason. The biggest question, though, is: Does DJ return?
AW: I'd say 80:20 against. I just finished my post outlining the reasons to stay and the reasons to leave. Given his solid family situation and his emphasis on academics, I won't be shocked if he stays but I will be surprised.
PB: I've felt 90:10 all year, but I'm wavering just a little bit. Talking with my father tonight, we both agreed that he might actually benefit from staying a year. Contrast this with someone like KD, who had nowhere to go but down. I still agree with you - more likely to leave than not - but I think it's more of an open question than I anticipated it being.
AW: He would definitely benefit from another year in college but who wouldn't? The NBA draft from about spot ten down is filled with guys who aren't necessarily ready for the league but the NBA is ready to pay them a lot of money and hope they pan out into superstars. Look no further than Robin Lopez who declared today. He is 7-0, sure, but he is nowhere near ready for the NBA
PB: Certainly, and that's why I still think he's more likely to leave than not. I'm assuming you don't think Damion James is going to test the waters?
AW: I do think James will test the waters, but I think he'll be back. College players are allowed to declare, work out for teams, and then return to college as long as they don't hire an agent. They can do this one time only. I expect this to be the route that James takes. He will work out for some teams, see that he isn't a first round pick, and head back to Austin to work on his jumper and his handles.
PB: Completely agree. And I think he's wise to go through the work out process. So now we have to ask: what's the difference between 2008-09 Texas basketball with DJ Augustin and without?
AW: With DJ, pre-season top five and legitimate national title contenders. Without DJ, Texas starts in the teens, gels under Balbay and Brown as the season progresses, challenges for the Big XII title, and gets back to the Sweet 16. As long as Rick stays, Texas will have the potential to reach the Sweet 16 or better just about every year. Even if DJ leaves, Texas still returns four starters and loses no one from the bench while adding J'Covan Brown, Dogus Balbay, and Matt Hill to this year's roster. Not to mention the possibility of snagging a high profile senior like Tyreke Evans or Scotty Hopson as well.
PB: I think that's fair. One thing I'm sure Rick would like to improve heading forward is the post game, which has been silent for two straight years. How do you see Pittman, Johnson, Wangmene, Chapman, and Hill next season?
AW: You forgot our starting center, Connor Atchley. I expect us to run a similar offense that relies heavily on the high pick and roll or high pick and pop. I'm assuming that DJ leaves, so this will be Balbay - most likely with Mason and Brown filling in at point as well. But I do think you're right; we will see more emphasis on post scoring. I'd say Johnson is your starting power forward with Hill probably the first off the bench. When Barnes wants defense, he goes with Wangmene. When he needs some post offense, in comes Chapman, and when the situation warrants him, in comes Dex.
PB: Right, Connor. And his post game has some potential, though that running sky hook against Memphis was forgettable.
AW: Even my girlfriend scoffed at that one.
PB: You have any insights/gut feelings on either the 2008 or '09 signing class?
AW: I do think we sign another player in the ‘08 class. I don't know who exactly. I expect Evans to head to Memphis, but we could land either Scotty Hopson, who had been a Mississippi State verbal committment, or Devin Ebanks, who was just released from his commitment by Indiana. Both of these guys are top 20 players and would be phenomenal additions should DJ leave. As for the ‘09 class, there are lots of names out there as Texas leans. The top one is Jordan Hamilton, from California. He has been high on Texas since the beginning. I'd love to see a 6-7 wing player choose the Horns.
PB: We have any shot on Ronaldo Sydney or will he stay west coast?
AW: Don't know for sure but I'd bet on him choosing either USC or UCLA. I get the same feeling I got with Greg Monroe of this year's class. Sidney would be an amazing get, but it isn't likely.
PB: And that's that. I'm very pleased with this year overall, despite the disappointing finale. I guess the only question now is: you ready for the long, dry summer?
AW: Man, I got home today, turned on the TV, and almost cried. No college basketball games to watch, no Horns games to analyze, no football to start thinking about, and nothing of really any value on TV. The Final Four will be awesome and I live for the Master's, but after that, I've got nothing.
PB: I root for UT baseball, but find it impossible to follow too closely from afar. Not the same as going to the Disch. I'll turn my mind to endless football speculation soon enough, I suppose.
AW: That's UFCU Disch-Faulk Field, by the way.
AW: You know that I'm not a baseball guy, but why the hell do we have astro turf in a college stadium in Austin, TX?
PB: Never understood that, either. I get that it's now a home field advantage and all, but the original decision is curious, at best.
AW: Curious and stupid.