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Friday, June 24, 2011
Jordan Hamilton not happy with Rick Barnes

By Eamonn Brennan

There weren't too many major slips in last night's NBA draft; if anything, most of the players selected in the first round felt like they went higher than expected. There were no green room mishaps, no embarrassing Brady Quinn-style debacles. But for a few random, blasť†trades, it was a relatively drama-free night.

Perhaps the only true slip of the first round -- if you can even call it that -- belonged to Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton. Before the draft, Hamilton was seen by many as a potential lottery pick. Some thought he could go top 10. Others thought mid-first round was just about right. Few seemed to predict what actually happened: Hamilton fell to the Dallas Mavericks (and was traded to the Denver Nuggets) at No. 26, 12 picks below the lottery threshold.

Hamilton seemed to impress scouts with his mixture of athleticism, scoring and versatility, and few players in the draft are capable of creating matchup problems the way the Longhorn can. So why the drop? Defense? Attitude? What about -- gasp -- sabotage?

In fact, Hamilton told Chris Tomasson (hat tip: Norlander) that his former coach, Rick Barnes, told NBA teams Hamilton wasn't "coachable." From Tomasson's Twitter feed:
J. Hamilton: “(Barnes) called some teams and said that I probably wasn’t coachable and things like that. But I feel like I can be coachable'

Asked Jordan Hamilton how knows Rick Barnes allegedly called teams and said not coachable. Wouldn't give names, said "got some feedback.''

More Hamilton on Barnes: “I love Texas and everybody is entitled to their opinion.’’ But Hamilton still later called Barnes “great coach.’’

Usually, this is the part where we criticize Hamilton or Barnes for ... well, I'm not sure what, exactly. Frankly, I don't see much wrong here. Far as I can tell, Barnes wasn't bashing his player or holding a grudge. He was asked for his opinion by NBA teams -- organizations filled with coaching contacts, old friends and colleagues -- and he was honest. Hamilton did have some coachability issues at Texas, and his penchant for wandering on defense undermined the huge strides he made on that end of the floor as a sophomore.

Nor does Hamilton seem to put off by the news. He wasn't petulant or angry.†If anything, he seemed to expect it. He still called Barnes a "great coach." There seems to be some respect there. It's OK stuff all around.

Now, if I'm Barnes, do I want the world to know I may or may not have given the NBA a negative impression of one of my first-round draft picks? Probably not. That's not the sort of thing high-level recruits like to see. But Barnes has a long and impressive history of sending players to the NBA. (Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph were both drafted in the first round, Thompson all the way up at No. 4.) This little snafu certainly won't change that.