This picture is making the rounds on The Google Machine, and apparently this is not a PhotoShopped fake. The head men's basketball coach at the University of Texas has a death wish. How else to explain the unexplainable -
Daniel-Meyer Coliseum won't be torn down, but less than zero people would be sad to see the home arena of the TCU basketball teams turned into a giant fire pit. Few places in college basketball cultivated a losing atmosphere any better than this place, which after today will soon be no more.
Built in 1961, the arena is set for a massive facelift that will move the basketball teams out of the arena for one season.
It was appropriate that in the last game to be played at the "old" DMC, the Horned Frogs lost - 97-67 against No. 23 Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon.
In Year No. 2 of the Trent Johnson era, the Frogs are 9-21, and 0-18 in the Big 12. He needs one or two special players to make a difference. His highly ranked recruits - Kaviar Shepherd and Brandon Parrish - both look a bit thin, and overmatched, as freshmen. The weight room should change some of that.
Considering that TJ's team will play at a glorified high school gym next season as renovations continue at DMC, he is going to need a fourth season to be properly evaluated. This isn't a lost cause, but he does need players.
When his team returns to the renovated home arena, hopefully he will have some talent, and some experience, that will make the first season more memorable than the previous years at this place. It is too bad; when that place was full, it was scary loud and intimidating.
In the 53 seasons played at DMC, the Frogs' posted a winning record 35 times. They were 553-268 at home.
(The women's basketball team? Uhhhh ... yeeeeeah ... until Mike Petersen took over in 1996 and then was replaced Jeff Mittie a few years later, just go with not great.)
Not until AD Chris Del Conte put the time, effort, and now money, into this program could this team be expected to have a shot to compete in any Division I conference. When the DMC renovations are complete, and the school has a building it can sell, then both the team and the head coach be given a proper evaluation.
Once the contractors move out the team can start building the home atmosphere it has lacked, and needs to win.
Here is one of the great memories from DMC ... circa 1986 versus Texas.
Brittney Griner is gone from Baylor, and a legacy as brilliant as any woman's basketball player now includes sharp criticism at a program that gave her the chance to be great, loved her, but not all of her.
She wrote: "I would love to be an ambassador for Baylor, to show my school pride, but it's hard to do that — it's hard to stand up and say, 'Baylor is the best!' — when the administration has a written policy against homosexuality. I've spent too much of my life being made to feel like there's something wrong with me. And no matter how much support I felt as a basketball player at Baylor, it still doesn't erase all the pain I felt there."
Her criticism is pointed at a head coach who publicly defended Griner in the face of abusive comments from fans about her appearance, or anything else. In January of '13, after a game between Baylor and TCU, Mulkey told me: ""I never take that child for granted."
Griner said she had told Mulkey when she was being recruited she was gay. Any college coach should have recruited Griner, but why would Baylor pay for a student's tuition, room and board for four years when they know their lifestyle violates their own practices?
Mulkey wanted to win, felt it was best for everyone involved at Baylor that Griner play for the Bears, and that her player to keep her secret a secret.
Brittney Griner's secret is no longer, and healing can begin. Hopefully the next Brittney Griner does not have to attend school keeping herself locked in a closet.
On that day, I interviewed former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall. One of the last questions I asked was, "What do you make of the state of the TCU football program?"
Boom goes the dymanite ... four days later. While I was confident his response would be well read, never did I think it would become such misconstrued fodder for my fellow media nerds who made his comments national.
CBSSports.com: "QB Casey Pachall rips TCU program: 'There is zero leadership.' On ESPN.com: "Casey Pachall: TCU lacks leadership." On SI.com: "Former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall: "There is zero leadership.' On Yahoo: "Former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall says the program has 'zero leadership.' NBC Sports: "Former Horned Frog QB Casey Pachall rips TCU program." FanSided: "Former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall blasts Horned Frogs."
Still waiting for the headline that credits Pachall for endorsing mass execution of baby pandas.
Pachall did say "there is zero leadership." He said everything that is quoted. No misquote. No out of context.
It is also worth mentioning he did not rip TCU. He did not blast TCU. He was not critical of TCU head coach Gary Patterson, or anybody at TCU other than the players who currently are on the team and have not taken leadership.
It is the same thing Patterson has been saying for more than a year. He has been repeatedly saying, "Somebody's got to step up", "Somebody's got to step up", "Somebody's got to step up." There is a reason why he keeps saying it - no one has "stepped up."
Pachall is as right as Patterson.
What is wrong is to assume that Pachall was ripping, or blasting, TCU. Now bet all of your money a clarification that should not be necessary won't blow up in four minutes, four hours, or four years.
McKINNEY, Texas - Casey Pachall graduated from TCU in December, and he currently is living in Plano and training at the Michael Johnson Performance Athletic Training Center in preparation for TCU's Pro Day.
For a larger story, the former TCU quarterback was nice enough to give me about 20 minutes on Thursday. (BTW - I came away completely impressed. This is not the same guy who got busted for a DUI.)
The last question I asked him was, "What do you make of the current state of the TCU football program?"
He said: "It's rough right now. There is zero leadership. Nobody wants to step up and take charge of anything. It's rough. That is why they have the stuff they did. I still love those guys. Maybe they made mistakes, everybody does. I'm not putting those people down at all. They are still my good friends. Things are going to happen and as a team they need somebody to step up."
I followed with, "How does the team get that?"
"It's one of those things where every now and then you may say something to a teammate, and it may make them mad, but when they sit down and think about it they know it was sincere and it wasn't getting on your ass," Pachall said. "A lot of these guys don't want to speak up, they just want to blend in with the crowd. They want to be cool with their teammates, instead of getting on them and getting something going."
You can bet all of your money this is not the first infraction for Brown, and that TCU and head coach Gary Patterson finally raised the white flag on Brown. TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte passionately believes in granting second or third chances to younger people, and the decision to do this was not one made easily. They did not want to do this.
Brown, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, was not a bum. He played in all 12 games for TCU in 2013, and was the team's second-leading receiver.
TCU's move into the Big 12 was hard enough, it is clear now the difficulty of the transition has been compounded exponentially by the high number of young players Patterson had to lean on two years ago. No one on this team has matured into a leader, and he has no leadership group to make other players accountable.
Positive peer pressure from teammates is often a head coaches' greatest weapon. A team that police's itself is usually the best team.
From 2005 to 2011, Patterson normally had a group of juniors and seniors who "got it." Guys who knew how to win, from extra work in the weight room, film study, and specifically how to stay out of trouble. Not that those teams were comprised of saints and choir boys, but there was a definite power structure of leadership. The Rose Bowl team was stacked with upperclassmen. They were grownups even though they were kids.
Two years ago, TCU's first season in the Big 12, GP played more true freshmen than any other team in the country. He had nothing but underclassmen.
As this group has grown up, it has not grown up. There is no player who has "taken it" and shown them the way. Those types of personalities make sure what just happened with LaDarius Brown never happens.
It would help if he had a quarterback, or a linebacker, who knew what he was doing and could recruit a teammate or two into showing, and telling, their teammates how it's done.
A core group of leaders who make their teammates accountable is not going to solve everything, but it would give this team a direction and a sense of team and purpose it needs. What GP needs are a few grownups among his kids.
FORT WORTH, Texas - While SMU is ranked No. 23 with its second-year head coach in Larry Brown, and is in its refurbished building, TCU continues to struggle with its second-year head coach, Trent Johnson.
As expected, Brown's name helped him land some stellar recruits, such as McDonald's All-American Keith Frazier last season and most recently Prime Prep's Emmanuel Mudiay, who will attend next season. It helps, too, that SMU plays in the American Athletic Conference, which ain't the Big 12. Make no mistake - SMU would be miles ahead of TCU regardless of conference affiliation.
Trent Johnson has landed quality recruits, most notably freshman Karviar Shepherd, but TCU is a minimum of two years away from being able to make a dent in this conference. Johnson deserves more patience, but so far the results have been just about as painful as expected when a school not known for basketball jumped into a brutal basketball league.
The first picture was a few minutes into a game that TCU tried to pack the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Wednesday night - a 91-58 loss against Baylor. At this point, it is hard not to feel bad for everyone involved in this program, from the players to the coaches and support staff. In its second season in the Big 12, TCU is 9-14, and 0-11 in the Big 12.
The Frogs are actually worse than its first season in the conference, when they pulled upsets against Kansas and Oklahoma. But that team had the benefit of a few seniors, whereas this team is thin, small and young.
This current team has not been healthy, or lucky. They are playing with only eight scholarship players, and a strong case can be made not all of these players are Big 12 caliber. Guard Charles Hill Jr. has been "sidelined" with academic problems. Injuries to Devonta Abron and Aaron Durley knocked out two bodies. Transfers Chris Washburn and Trey Ziegler are not eligible.
And despite the hype surrounding the arrival of Hudson Price, Shepherd and Brandon Parrish, they're raw, skinny, freshmen. They're not Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle or Tyler Ennis.
Not helping things is the reality that the team will not play on campus next season as Daniel-Meyer Coliseum is scheduled to be re-modeled; the Frogs will play in the Fort Worth Convention Center, or - according to the Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson, the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center (a high school gym). If people weren't going to the home games now, they will definitely not be going next season.
TCU is one of the most difficult jobs in the nation. The program has been to two NCAA tournaments since 1987; this will be its 10th losing season in the last 12 years.
Johnson has a few pieces who can play, but he needs a lot more, and likely a special one, to have a real shot. Because diretor of athletics Chris Del Conte hired Johnson, he will be given every opportunity to prove he can do this. It's going to take more time, and a few more losses.
DALLAS, Texas - Larry Brown has been in basketball for what feels like no less than 300 years, but on Saturday he experienced a first. His fans rushed the court after his team defeated Cincinnati.
"I remember being at UCLA and Kansas, being on the other end. A lot of people were excited about the losses we had," Brown said. "When you storm the court at home, it makes me realize you have not had much success. I would hope in the future, we're excited because we beat a team we expected to beat."
SMU is ranked No. 23 in the latest AP poll, the first time since the 1984-'85 season. SMU's win against then No. 7 Cincinnati in Dallas on Saturday was SMU's third win over a ranked opponent in a seven-game span.
"When I went to UCLA, I was setting records like crazy," Brown said Monday afternoon. "First coach to lose the opening game. First coach to lose two in a row at Pauley Pavilion. First coach to lose a home game against 'SC. First coach not to finish in the top three in the Pac Eight. I was setting records like crazy. ... This is as flattering as anything I've been associated with."
He may not stay forever, but when he's here, he wins. In his second season in Dallas, SMU is 19-5, and 8-3 in the American Athletic Conference.
SMU has not lost at home, and this morning sold out its final three remaining home games as students were in tents waiting to buy tickets. On Monday, there was actually a decent sized media pack to talk to Brown and several of the players.
"To see the excitement from the students and our fans that has been much better than I ever expected," Brown said.
Who cares if his humility is an act? This is what he's done pretty much everywhere he goes - win.
Before he jumped on the weekly Big 12 men's basketball media coaches' conference call, the moderator said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford would not be taking any questions regarding "the incident." That all questions regarding OSU guard Marcus Smart's shove of the fan at Texas Tech fan on Feb. 8 were handled, addressed and answered on Sunday evening in Stillwater.
The Easter Bunny is also very much real.
I asked Ford whose decision it was not to address this further, because there is one rather large question that remains unanswered. Ford said he had nothing to do with the decision not to address this. I asked him if the head coach of his team had nothing to do with commenting on this.
"They wanted me to focus on the game tomorrow night and I told them OK," he said.
All OSU is doing is leaving Smart, who was suspended three games for the altercation, hung out.
Orr admitted he called Smart "a piece of crap." That much is obvious. What is not is what Orr said before he called Smart a piece of crap.
The problem is Smart did not address what was said in his press conference on Sunday evening. Neither did Ford. Just lots of comments about "teaching moments", etc.
Nothing Orr said could have justified what Smart did, but it would have explained it a little bit better.
I asked Tech coach Tubby Smith if he was told a racial slur, or slurs, were said.
"No. I wouldn’t know. Who would know? From what I understand no one else heard it," Smith said. "That’s not to say he didn’t hear something. We can all look back on something we thought we heard, it happens every day. Not necessarily the N word. Miscommunication takes place. I hope that wasn’t said. If it I was said, I'm disappointed in the person that said it."
Looking at the video, you can see Orr did indeed call Smart a piece of crap. But that's it? If that is all he said, why not just say that? Better yet, if a racial slur was said, why did zero of the surrounding fans not at least verbally berate Orr?
You can understand Smart's frustration - he is an NBA lottery pick, and this was supposed to be the team that removed Kansas from the top of the Big 12. Before the season, this looked like a Final Four team. Instead, the Cowboys are 16-7, 4-6 in the Big 12 and were in the final seconds of losing at a mediocre Texas Tech team.
Smart popped. It was stupid - you can't put your hands on a fan - but if Smart, Ford or OSU aren't corroborating on what was said, it leaves a vital question unanswered.