So, what’s the big deal involving Lewis’ decision? Well, he marks the third such Longhorn to leave since the 2012-13 season came to a close with a CBI Tournament loss to Houston. That’s right, Texas finished the year at 16-18 overall — it’s just something that fans in Austin are not used to, so you should understand the disgruntle among the Longhorn faithful.
In addition to Lewis, Sheldon McClellan and Julian Boyd have also opted to look elsewhere for playing time, while sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo has made himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft. While Kabongo’s ineligibility issues this past season ultimately hurt his draft stock, he should hear his name called at some point on that final Thursday in June.
Take away Kabongo, McClellan and now Lewis, and the Longhorns are down their top three scorers from this past season. Remind you, that was a season in which the team finished two games below .500 and lost to Chaminade in the Maui Invitational.
Long story short, it doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out that the heat is on head coach Rick Barnes. It’s unlikely that Texas will make a move this far removed from the end of this past season, so it’s time for things to switch their focus to next year.
One of the more tenured head coaches in college basketball, Barnes has led the Texas program since before the 1998-99 season, but ironically enough this past year was the team’s first time since the initial year in which they had failed to win 20 games. A sub .500 year that is mixed in with the simple fact that Texas has not made the Sweet 16 since 2008 and you have a restless fan base that is calling for more.
But numbers aside, it’s the transfers and the future of the program that has Longhorn fans questioning — and to be completely honest, expectations are not very high heading into 2013-14.
Unfortunately for Barnes, the current situation is pinning him to the hot seat and there’s only one way to dig himself out of it — win.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS