October 14, 2007

Rick Barnes talk Texas: Part II

The Texas Longhorns basketball team kicked off its season on Friday with the first practice of the 2007-08 campaign. Texas, picked to finish second in the Big 12 by the coaches, returns several key members of the 2006-07 team in D.J. Augustin, Justin Mason, A.J. Abrams, Damion James and Connor Atchley, among others.

At the team's media day, Rick Barnes fielded questions for more than 25 minutes on this year's team and Orangebloods.com was on hand to take in every word.

How is Matt Hill's health?

He came back and still had some problems with his left foot and I don't think he will be ready to go (on Friday). We're going to slowly work him back in it and we'll see. He's really done a good job with the fact that he hasn't been able to play, and he hasn't played since the season was over last year. But he has spent a lot of time on some skill work that he has been able to do and he's improved that way. But again, we'll just have to work him back in it and see what happens.

Do you see Connor Atchley taking the next steps as a player?

He's a guy who has been on my mind a lot lately because Connor is a lot better than he thinks he is and someway, somehow we've got to get him thinking that way. Connor works really hard and he has an understanding of what we want him to do, but he needs to get out of the box a little bit.

He's more than a guy who thinks he has to make jump shots. He's more athletic than he probably gives himself credit for. I think the real challenge for him is that he sees himself differently and to not be so hard on himself. He really wants to please, which sometimes can be a detriment to the way you play.

He's been here now long enough to where I want to see him be everything he can be. He plays hard and he works hard, and he does all of that. When you put the time in and do the things that he does, he needs to now let it go. If he makes a mistake, then he makes a mistake, we all do. You can't let that mistake compound into another one.

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