Younger players showing effort
Rick Barnes cannot reasonably hope for greatness from his players, not on a basketball team devoid of superior talent and skill.
But the Longhorns coach can, and does, demand proper effort and preparation. Barnes has used a rotation of three sophomores and six freshmen. The older players have more experience trying to meet standards, but the three sophomores have accomplished that to different degrees.
Barnes has handed the best grade to sophomore Jonathan Holmes, a forward who averages a modest 7.3 points but leads the Longhorns (7-5) with 7.8 rebounds a game.
The 6-foot-7-inch Holmes has become the team’s tough guy around the basket. “A relentless rebounder,” Barnes said.
Barnes also has been satisfied with Julien Lewis, a sophomore guard who has established himself as one of the Longhorns’ best defenders while ranking second on the team in scoring with 12 points a game.
Lewis was wildly inconsistent last season, shooting a poor 36 percent, including 32.4 on 3-pointers. This season he has improved to 44.3 percent overall and 40.8 on treys.
Lewis scored 16 in each of the past two games, against North Carolina and Mich-
Longhorns Jackson Crawley (from left), Kenny Vaccaro and Jeremy Hills enter Royal-Memorial Stadium before facing TCU on Thanksgiving. Texas lost that game to snap a four-game winning streak and followed with a loss at Kansas State. The Horns will try to finish on a positive note Saturday night.
Texas sophomore forward Jonathan Holmes has become a force on the glass, leading the Longhorns with 7.8 rebounds per game this season.