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Texas legend TJ Ford posts heartfelt message to Rick Barnes

One former player still rides for old head coach.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The highlight of the Rick Barnes era with the Texas Longhorns came when point guard TJ Ford led the Horns on a magical Final Four run in 2003, prompting a heartfelt message from the Longhorns legend to his former head coach on Saturday:

One of the first McDonald's All-American recruited by Barnes to Texas, Ford's career in Austin not only launched Texas basketball to its modern pinnacle, it also had a profound impact on the recruiting trail in paving the way for future Horns stars to come to Texas like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, and DJ Augustin.

If Ford hadn't come to Texas, the best stretch of Barnes' tenure wouldn't have happened. And while Ford's comment doesn't say anything about the coach that Barnes was in his final days, his star player's continued affection says a lot about who he was 12 years ago.