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Rick Barnes job status at Texas will be something to keep an eye on all season long

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Earlier today, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com posted an interesting column on Rick Barnes (Insiders only, unfortunately) in which he not only asserts what everyone who has been paying attention has noticed — that Barnes is on the hot seat at Texas — but offers up a reason for Barnes’ recent struggles with the Longhorns: his job is no longer his priority in life.

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.

Goodman goes on to say that Barnes has gotten somewhat complacent on the recruiting trail, and it’s one of the biggest reasons that Texas has hit the skids in recent years. Remember, this is the guy that landed Damion James, DJ Augustin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson, Myck Kabongo and some guy named Kevin Durant.

He was as good as anyone.

And despite that — despite making the NCAA tournament in his first 14 seasons at Texas — Barnes could find himself out of a job after this season.

Frankly, it’s one of the most fascinating story lines heading into the season for a number of reasons.

For starters, nothing has gone right for Texas over the course of the last four or five years. Most expected Avery Bradley to be a one-and-done player, but I’m not sure many expected both Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson to leave after one season. Jordan Hamilton lasted two up-and-down seasons in Austin, as did Myck Kabongo, who spent the first 23 games of last season suspended. Julien Lewis and Shelden McClellan, Barnes’ two promising wing talents, both transferred out of the program and Ioannis Papapetrou signed a huge pro deal in Greece. This is coming off of a season where the Longhorns were relegated to the CBI.

Next season’s big names? Javan Felix, Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Jonathon Holmes. Not exactly the TJ Ford’s Texas teams.

Put it all together, and the Longhorns should be happy that TCU joined the Big 12 because it all but guarantees that UT will avoid the basement of the 2013-2014 Big 12.

That’s a long, quick way for the Longhorns to fall, and while it’s not entirely Barnes’ fault, there’s a chance that it could cost him his job.

And that job just so happens to be one of the ten best in the country. I truly believe that, and I know that there are many people that agree with me. Texas has a ton of money and an enormous national profile, but given that the school is a football school in a football state, the pressure to win there is relatively small compared to places like Indiana or Kentucky or Kansas.

Let’s say Barnes does end up getting fired; the demand for that job will be quite high.

In a season where Kentucky wants to go 40-0 and Andrew Wiggins will be auditioning for NBA superstardom while Louisville looks to repeat as national champs, whether or not this ends up being the end of the Rick Barnes era in Austin will be one of the most interesting stories to follow over the next eight months.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

Incoming Gator freshman ineligible for upcoming season

Mike White
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Florida will need to wait a year before seeing 6-foot-11 recruit Gorjok Gak playing games for the Gators.

The NCAA ruled that the incoming freshman will be able to enroll at Florida this year and practice with the team, but will be ineligible for games this season, the school announced Tuesday.

Should he meet all his progress marks during his freshman year, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.

Gak’s eligibility issue centered on his playing games during his postgraduate year at Victory Rock Prep, according to his coach there.

“Following his graduate year from Australia, he was supposed to play from December to December,” Loren Jackson told the Gainesville Sun, “but instead played from December until the following May.”

Gak originally signed with Oklahoma State, but de-committed following Travis Ford’s firing in Stillwater this past spring. Gak averaged 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds last season at Victory Rock in Bradenton, Fla.

Florida went 21-15 last season under first-year coach Mike White.

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

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Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

Ge'Lawn Guyn, L.J. Rose
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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.

UCLA loses key forward to professional ranks

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks steals the ball from Jonah Bolden #43 of the UCLA Bruins during a 76-68 Ducks win at Pauley Pavilion on March 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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UCLA announced on Tuesday afternoon that Jonah Bolden will be forgoing his college eligibility to turn professional.

“Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season,” the release said.

Bolden is a versatile, 6-foot-10 forward with some NBA potential. In his only season playing with the Bruins, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 boards while starting 11 games. His ability on the defensive end of the floor was something the UCLA staff was counting on this season.

A sophomore this past season, Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA as a freshman, meaning that he was allowed to be on scholarship and in class but could not play during the 2014-15 season.

He had two seasons of eligibility remaining. Without Bolden, T.J Leaf will likely be counted on to play more minutes at the four.