Blogger Spotlight: Talking Texas’ tough luck with Burnt Orange Nation


The NBA draft’s early entrant deadline rarely leaves teams happy. But Texas took a particularly rough jolt this season.

Three Longhorns – sophomore Jordan Hamilton and freshmen Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph – declared for the draft. Hamilton’s signing with an agent and Thompson’s likely to. Joseph should return to school (he’s hardly a first-round lock, which means no guaranteed money), but who knows?

So it made sense for this week’s Blogger Spotlight to talk with the man behind Burnt Orange Nation, Peter Bean. (You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.) We spent time talking about the draft, Rick Barnes, Texas hoops vs. Texas football and much more.

Q: Friday must’ve been an unpleasant day. After weeks of Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton mulling over their NBA decisions, not only do both declare, but Cory Joseph joins them. Did you see that coming?

A: We’d heard Joseph was about 50-50 on whether to declare, so his decision wasn’t out of nowhere.  That said, we expect he’ll withdraw, given his readiness for the next level.  Still, it’s a bit of a curious decision given that collegiate players can only early-declare once, so assuming he comes back — as he should — he’ll be under the gun next time it’s time to evaluate his decision.

Q: Hamilton’s signing with an agent. You think Joseph will be back. What about Thompson?

A: We’re not at all confident that Thompson is going to come back — call it a 10 percent chance, which is better than nothing, but still grim.  Unfortunately for Texas, with so many potential lottery picks returning to school this draft is wide open, which from an objective perspective makes it difficult to recommend Thompson pass on this chance.  Tristan has a lot of development in front of him, and his upper body some filling out to do, but he’s a hell of a talent and he’s wise to go now.  Which really, really sucks. (For more from Peter on the three declaring for the draft, click here.)

Q: Then what are your expectations for next season? Most had been predicting a Big 12 title, but that’ll obviously need to be reassessed.

A: Well, the top point guard in the 2011 class — Myck Kabongo from Toronto — is coming to Texas, and assuming Joseph returns Texas will have one of the best backcourts in the nation, but without Thompson there is absolutely no post presence to speak of.  Texas looks like it can be a fun, dangerous team, but the expectations are substantially lower without Thompson.  With him, they’re a Final Four contender.  Without him, the team’s ceiling looks like the Sweet 16.

Q: Rick Barnes got a lot of credit for adjusting his offense this season to play to his players’ strengths (and got a big boost from Hamilton in the process). But Texas struggled down the stretch on offense. Was this a year where Barnes squeezed everything out of his roster and they just couldn’t keep playing at a high level, or did he need to keep adjusting?

A: Rick Barnes did perhaps his best coaching job with this year’s team.  And I’m not sure that he needed to make any adjustments to his approach down the stretch; more than anything, the team struggled offensively because Jordan Hamilton got cold.  He shot dreadfully the last 10 games of the year, and without him we just weren’t as dynamic or multi-dimensional. Teams could afford to sag down on defense with impunity.

Q: Might lower expectations be a good thing? Barnes wouldn’t have to deal with as much knee-jerk reaction/criticism and a young team would be able to grow into its potential.

A: I suppose there’s something to lower expectations, but hey, you really want a cast that can take you to the Final Four.  Without Thompson and Hamilton, that’s a long shot.  Will it be easier on Barnes with lower expectations?  Probably, but that’s only worth so much.  This program is at the point where we want the stars to actually align for once, so we can get back to the Final Four.  I’m not sure any coach has gotten so badly hurt by early draft departures and bad timing of his best players overlapping.

Q: Is there a point where Texas ever fully becomes wrapped up in its basketball team? Or does football always loom, no matter how well the ‘Horns are playing? Does BON reflect that?

A: Certainly at BON, we go full bore into basketball during the season, and both me and Andrew Wiggins — the site’s co-founders — are actually probably bigger hoops fans than football, which is saying something.  With that said, football always looms.  During January and February, most of the fans are more focused on recruiting than hoops.  There are gobs of drive-by fans, who don’t understand college basketball and mostly just show up in threads to complain that the team isn’t 32-0.  Like it’s football or something.  It drives me crazy, but hey, we’re a football school.  And the flipside of that is that the fall is a lot of fun.

Q: Are there Texas fans who only watch hoops? Is there such a thing as a Longhorn who doesn’t care about the football team? I wouldn’t be surprised given the consistently good teams and talent Barnes fields.

A: I’d imagine there are a few, but not many at all.  There is a small minority of us who probably care more about hoops than football, but we’re dwarfed in size by those who care almost exclusively about football.  Football is everything here.

Q: BON has three editors and a massive amount of contributing writers, which isn’t usual for most of the SB Nation blogs. Is this a reflection of the school’s size, its devoted fan base or the success of the blog? Or all three?

A: I think it’s really reflective of the kind of roster you need to provide truly in depth coverage of a college athletics program.  There are tons of sports, there’s recruiting, and on and on, and it’s just not possible for one person to do as well as a dozen can. 

Q: How did you get into blogging and how much do you still have time for given your duties at SB Nation?

A: I got started blogging in 2004 because I moved to Washington DC and missed talking Texas sports with my friends. (They only talk politics up there, which… no.)  That was about the time that blogs were starting to pop up, and as a passionate writer, I thought, “Hey, I want to do that, too.”  True story: I launched my Texas blog right after Texas lost to Oklahoma 12-0 in 2004. Vince Young and the Longhorns promptly won 22 straight games, including the 2005 national title. Just sayin…

Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time to write as I used to, so it really helps to have a strong roster of contributors to help keep things moving.  In addition to my other duties at SB Nation, I’m a full-time attorney at a firm in Austin, so sleep is at a premium these days.  I can’t complain, though.  I appreciate being busy and enjoy everything I’m doing.

Q: BON’s been around for six years. What do the next six years hold for it?

A: We keep having fun and keep growing, and blogging as part of SB Nation just makes it incredibly easy to keep adding to the depth of our coverage of Texas athletics.  I couldn’t have predicted we’d be here six years ago, so who knows where we’ll be six years from today.  All I know is there will be hoards of Texas fans obsessed with the sports programs, and we’ll be there to obsess about it all right there with them.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Texas’ Arterio Morris plays amid misdemeanor domestic violence case

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AUSTIN, Texas — In a season when Texas fired coach Chris Beard after a felony domestic violence arrest, it has allowed a reserve guard to keep playing while he awaits trial on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting an ex-girlfriend.

Second-seed Texas has advanced under interim coach Rodney Terry to the program’s first Sweet 16 since 2008, and the Longhorns play No. 3 Xavier in Kansas City, Missouri.

Arterio Morris, a freshman who was one of the top recruits in the country last year, was initially scheduled to stand trial March 29, three days before Final Four weekend. Denton County prosecutors were granted a delay to an unspecified date.

Beard was fired Jan. 5, about three weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of a felony charge of choking his fiancée in a fight during which she also told police he bit, and hit her. She later recanted the choking allegation and the Travis County district attorney dismissed the case, saying prosecutors were following her wishes not to got to trial and that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Morris is charged with Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury to a family member, which in Texas includes dating relationships. It stems from a June 2022 confrontation in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. The charge carries penalties ranging from probation and fines to up to a year in jail if convicted.

Morris’ attorney, Justin Moore, said the charges against Beard and the player are different.

“(Beard) was charged with a felony family assault,” Moore said. “That was far more serious as to what Arterio was alleged to have to committed. We maintain Arterio’s innocence.”

According to police, the ex-girlfriend said Morris grabbed her arm and pulled her off a bed, and later pulled the front of her sports bra, causing an injury to her neck and shoulder area. Police reported seeing a sizable bruise or scratch.

Texas officials declined comment. Beard said before the season that school officials he would not identify determined the freshman could play this season.

Moore defended Texas officials’ decision to not suspend Morris.

“I do believe Texas has taken this seriously. They’ve also allowed Arterio to enjoy his due process rights,” Moore said.

Morris has played in all 36 games this season, although his minutes and have been limited on a senior-dominated team. He averages nearly 12 minutes and 4.7 points per game. His biggest moment was a soaring alley-oop dunk against Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament championship game.

Attempts to reach Morris’ ex-girlfriend through family members were not successful. According to online records, prosecutors sought the trial delay to “procure witness availability.” Prosecutor Jamie Beck did not immediately return messages.

Wichita State hires ORU’s Paul Mills to lead program

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Wichita State hired Paul Mills away from Oral Roberts to turn around its languishing program, landing what has been one of the hottest names among mid-major coaches.

The 50-year-old Mills led the the Golden Eagles to two of the past three NCAA Tournaments, engineering upsets of Ohio State and Florida as a No. 15 seed in 2021 before going 30-5 this past season and losing to Duke as a No. 5 seed.

He replaces Isaac Brown, who was fired after three seasons as the Shockers slowly slipped toward mediocrity.

“My family and I are extremely excited about being a part of Wichita State,” said Mills, who will be introduced during a news conference at Charles Koch Arena. “The rich history, winning tradition and unbelievable community support will keep us working on behalf of the greatest fans in all of college basketball.”

Mills got his break in coaching when he joined Scott Drew’s first staff at Baylor in 2003, working alongside future Kansas State coach Jerome Tang in helping to turn around a program that had been mired in controversy. Mills stayed for 14 years, helping to reach seven NCAA Tournaments, before replacing Scott Sutton at Oral Roberts before the 2017 season.

Mills went just 11-21 each of his first two seasons in Tulsa, but the seeds of a turnaround had been planted, and the Golden Eagles have not had a losing season since. The biggest step came two years ago, when Mills led Oral Roberts to the Sweet 16 of an NCAA Tournament played entirely within an Indianapolis “bubble environment” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Golden Eagles slipped to 19-12 the following year before winning 30 games and the Summit League title this past season, when they were led by high-scoring guard Max Abmas, an honorable mention All-American selection.

“Paul Mills’ heart for people, passion for life and approach to the development of young people and programs is energizing,” Wichita State athletic director Kevin Saal said in a statement. “He aligns with Shocker Athletics’ core values, facilitates a first-class student-athlete experience and fuels broad-based competitive excellence.”

The hiring of Mills comes as the Shockers try to position themselves at the forefront of a new-look American Athletic Conference. Perennial powerhouse Houston is joining Central Florida and Cincinnati in leaving for the Big 12 after this season, and six new schools are due to arrive from Conference USA for the start of next season.

Wichita State, a power under Ralph Miller and Gene Smithson in the 1960s, returned to prominence when Mark Turgeon took over in 2000. But it was under Gregg Marshall, who resigned in November 2020 amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse of players, that it began to soar. The Shockers advanced to the Final Four in 2013, finished the regular season unbeaten the following year and at one point went to seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Brown, who was Marshall’s top recruiter, led them back to the NCAA Tournament in his first year. But the Shockers were just 15-13 last year and 17-15 this past season, leading Saal to decide that a coaching change was necessary.

Turns out the answer Saal was looking for was just a few hours south at Oral Roberts.

Arizona State extends Bobby Hurley through 2025-26 season

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State agreed to a contract extension with head coach Bobby Hurley that runs through the 2025-26 season.

The deal announced on Tuesday is subject to approval by the Arizona Board of Regents. Hurley’s previous contract was set to expire after next season.

“Coach Hurley has made our program relevant nationally with many significant wins and an exciting style, along with a firm commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “He has made it clear to us that he wants to be here and we have done likewise with him. We share a strong confidence in the present and future state of Sun Devil men’s basketball.”

Hurley led the Sun Devils to 23 wins this season and their third trip to the NCAA Tournament the last five times it has been played. Arizona State beat Nevada in the First Four before losing to Texas Christian on a last-second shot last Friday.

The Sun Devils have won at least 20 games four of the past six seasons. They are 141-113 in eight seasons under Hurley.

Mark Campbell new TCU women’s coach after taking Sacramento State to NCAA

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

FORT WORTH, Texas – Mark Campbell was hired as TCU’s women’s basketball coach after the former Oregon assistant took Sacramento State to its first NCAA Tournament in an impressive and quick turnaround.

Sacramento State was coming off a 3-22 season when Campbell was hired two years ago. The Hornets won 14 games in Campbell’s first season, and then made another 11-win improvement this season while finishing 25-8 with Big Sky regular-season and tournament championships.

During his seven seasons on Oregon’s staff before that, the Ducks had some of the nation’s top recruiting classes. That included Campbell recruiting Sabrina Ionescu, who became the AP player of the year in 2020 before she was the first overall pick in the WNBA draft.

Campbell replaces Raegan Pebley, who stepped down after nine seasons as TCU’s coach with a 141-138 record. The Horned Frogs were 8-23 this season, including 1-17 in Big 12 play during the regular season.

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati described Campbell as an elite recruiter and program builder.

“Similar to his success at Sacramento State, he was instrumental in Oregon quickly becoming one of the nation’s most successful programs, reaching their first NCAA Elite Eight and then Final Four,” Donati said.

The Frogs haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2010. That was their ninth NCAA appearance, all coming in a 10-season span without making it past the second round.

Boston College extends Earl Grant through 2028-29 season

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BOSTON – Boston College coach Earl Grant has agreed to a two-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2028-29 season.

Grant took over as Eagles coach prior to the 2021-22 season and finished 13-20. Boston College went 16-17 this past season, but it had three wins over nationally ranked teams for the first time in 14 years.

“My family and I have enjoyed being a part of this amazing community,” Grant said in a statement. “Boston is a great city and we are glad to call it our home. I am thankful for the efforts of my staff to help move the program forward.”

The Eagles finished 9-11 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, their most wins in the league play since 2010-11. Quinten Post also became the first Boston College player to be named Most Improved Player.

In announcing the extension, athletic director Blake James expressed optimism about the direction of the program.

“Earl has done an outstanding job leading our men’s basketball program over the last two seasons and we are looking forward to him doing so for many years to come,” James said.