The University of Texas men's basketball fans have had reason to cheer over the last decade. Coach Rick Barnes has been pretty successful. Taking a deeper look into why and how he has been successful, the Longhorns have benefited from the American notion of "the land of opportunity".
Before Kevin Durant took the Big 12 and the nation by storm, he attended Montrose Christian to PLAY BASKETBALL. Montrose Christian is a nationally recognized program. The program plays a national schedule and features elite player development. The well respected and much sought after strength and conditioning coach, Alan Stein works with Montrose Academy. One must ask, why did Kevin Durant attend Montrose Christian Academy, instead of his local high school? Opportunity and self improvement!
Tristan Thompson played for the Longhorns during the 2010-2011 season. Thomspon played 1 year in Austin before being chose as the 4th pick in the NBAdraft by the Cleveland Cavs. Thompson was born and raised in CANADA. Like so many immigrants, Thompson moved to America to better his position in life. He enrolled in a basketball factory called Findlay Prep after transferring from national power St Benedict's in New Jersey , located in Las Vegas. Why? Opportunity!
Tristin Thompson played at Findlay Prep with another Canadian born star, Cory Joseph. Joseph, a McDonald All-American, is too a Longhorn and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 29th pick in the 1st round of the draft in 2011. Joseph was undoubtedly destined for stardom as his older brother played for Minnesota and later transferred to Oregon. Joseph left Canada for what reason? Opportunity to make himself better!
The Canadian pipeline to Austin continued with the super quick Myck Kabongo. I became a huge of Kabongo fan a few years ago when he played in the FIBA Tournament here in San Antonio. He played for his native Canada squad but attended high school in New Jersey at St Benedict Prep. He then transferred his senior season of high school to, you guessed it, Findlay Prep. The opportunity to exist in an elite environment that enhanced his value while CHOOSING his destiny is so American!
Like so many young Americans ball players, these Longhorns have chosen to leave their slated high schools in search of an environment that helped them achieve their goals. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings and Tracy McGrady are just a few examples of elite ballers that decided to elevate their game in environments other than their traditional high schools. The current #1 player in the nation for 2013, Andrew Wiggins, is from, again you guessed, CANADA! He now attends high school in West Virginia. Of course, he too subscribes to the American principle of opportunity!
The presidential election had many up in arms about entitlement and penalizing the rich for working hard. How ironic is it that in the girls side of high school basketball, the same people that decry this unfairness feel that girls players BELONG to a particular school, coach or program? When a player decides to enhance their opportunities to get better and grow like the above mentioned boys(now men), they are scrutinized.
I am sure Rick Barnes is happy that he coaches men instead of women. On his side of the game, young men can do what young women can not; seek and pursue opportunity to grow themselves in the game and be celebrated for chasing the American dream of upward mobility in the process. Whats good for the goose ain't apparently OK for the gander!