Rick Barnes remained in his chair at the podium, an hour or so after the news conference had ended. Most coaches, on the heels of a fifth loss in seven games in a season that had begun with 17 consecutive victories, would have been visibly incensed, even seething. Many would have been in the locker room, still barking at their players. Others would have taken a few questions and responded abruptly before heading out to watch film of the loss.
Barnes was just sitting there, stoic at times, smiling at others. He answered questions until the last reporter standing had nothing left to ponder.
It should have been a red flag, a sign. This was atypical Barnes. This was a guy who was considered a killer back in the day with Providence, Clemson and even his early days at Texas. He had taken Longhorn basketball from near-national irrelevance to a consistent Elite Eight, even Final Four contender.
But Barnes had changed. I’m not sure exactly what it was in his life, but something had altered his priority structure. He’s not in his 30s or even 40s anymore, and his family has become the priority in a landscape that doesn’t always promote a quality home life. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just not the norm in this industry.
But his new approach, along with bad luck, has helped lead to Texas making mistakes.