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November 2, 2012

Hoops Notebook

--Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes said he can't worry about what's going to happen to PG Myck Kabongo's NCAA investigation into possibly taking improper benefits from an agent because it's out of Texas' hands at this point. He said all he can do is keep working with Kabongo and keep trying to develop depth at the point guard position.

"These last few days we've gone real hard without (Myck) at the point," Barnes said. "But we don't even discuss the situation with the team. We just go. I'll treat it like an injury, when or if we get to that point.

"There's no need to play the what-if game. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong. We're developing more than one guy at each position. With Myck's situation, it's out of our hands and out of Myck's hands. We'll hope for the best, but we'll just keep working."

--Freshman Javan Felix would be the first one in at the point if Kabongo has to miss time. Then, Demarcus Holland, Julien Lewis and even 6-9 Ioannis Papapetrou.

--Texas was handled by Davidson in their scrimmage last Saturday, but that's a Davidson team that returns everyone from a 27-win season last year.

--Barnes called the scrimmage with Davidson "the best thing we do in preseason every year." He likes it because they scrimmage in the morning, then each team watches film of that action before scrimmaging again in the evening and then work on situations (such as last-second shots, inbounds, etc.)

--Texas will scrimmage against Gonzaga in Boulder, Colo., this Saturday. There won't be as much time for all the work Texas did against Davidson.

--Barnes said he didn't think Texas was as good defensively the past two years as the Longhorns should have been. He's hoping his team of all freshmen and sophomores can develop into a strong defensive team.

He was encouraged by eight blocks in the Davidson scrimmage.

--His team's best perimeter defenders are Myck Kabongo, Julien Lewis, Demarcus Holland and Jaylen Bond.

--Bond got several votes from teammates as the toughest player on the team. He had 16 rebounds in the scrimmage against Davidson. He wants to lead the team in rebounding. Freshman C Cameron Ridley thinks he will lead the team in boards and that Bond will be right behind him.

--Freshman PG Javan Felix had the best offensive performance (24 points) against Davidson and took it to the basket a bunch, drawing fouls and being aggressive.

Barnes said Felix is similar to D.J. Augustin in the way he plays with a controlled pace and is "crafty." The floater that Felix has is taken straight out of Augustin's book.

--Barnes loves Felix's strength and pointed out that Felix has huge hands for a guy 5-10.

"You ought to see him throw a football," said Barnes, adding that Felix is still working to get into top condition.

--C Cameron Ridley wouldn't talk about his weight, but strength coach Todd Wright had him on the treadmill quite a bit in the summer and fall to drop the pounds. He's listed at 6-9 270.

Barnes said Ridley is a better passer than most probably expect. Ridley also has a hook over both shoulders and a turnaround jumper. But he tires easily right now and needs to get his shots up higher and finish stronger around the rim.

--Barnes called C Prince Ibeh a "work in progress." Barnes wants Ibeh to get much lower in his stance on defense. He stands up too tall and is easily pushed. But Ibeh has good, natural shot-blocking instincts.

--On G Sheldon McClellan, the guy Barnes wants to take more of a lead offensively, Barnes said, "He is a natural scorer. He knows how to play without the ball. He is going to be guarded by the other team's best defender. So he needs to make a first, second and third effort to get open."

McClellan said Barnes called him soft during practice, and McClellan said that set him off.

"It changed everything," he said. "I hate that word. Now, the coaches are trying to find a way to get me to play that hard all the time without using the word soft."

--On freshman F Connor Lammert, Barnes said, "He's probably going to sneak up on people because he's skilled. He needs to get stronger, but he makes a lot of good things happen when he's on the court."

--Barnes feels like he'll play all 11 of his scholarship players early in the season to find a good rotation of guys.

The season opens on Nov. 9 against Fresno State, coached by former Barnes' assistant Rodney Terry.


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