Chapman's presence needed

AUSTIN, Texas -- Rick Barnes wants consistency out of his young players.

The Texas coach expects it out of his veteran players. Make that player. As in Clint Chapman.

While the only starting senior is playing the best of his career and, not so coincidentally, the most minutes in his career, Chapman is not making the most of every opportunity. Against Iowa State in the Big 12 opener, Chapman had career highs in points (19), rebounds (14), minutes (34), and field goals (seven).

"Hopefully it is not a one-day thing," assistant coach Chris Ogden said.

It was. Three days later against Oklahoma State, Chapman bottomed out with three rebounds and three points.

"We need to be good at all five spots, consistently, not two or three or four," Barnes said.

That's especially true of the center spot. Texas, a team that is more talented on the perimeter than it is inside, at least needs a presence in the post to be able to find quality shots for its shooters. Clearly that didn't happen against Oklahoma State. Despite the win, Texas shot 30 percent and scored 58 points. Nearly a third of those points came from the free throw line. And the field goals that were made primarily came from guys slashing to the basket, instead of shots off quick ball movement from guards to posts and back.

Some of that could be attributed to not having a fully healthy J'Covan Brown. But not having their leading scorer at a 100 percent is something the Longhorns are going to have to get used to.

"When you get injuries like that, those can do you in all year," Barnes said of Brown's ankle. "You get it back to where you can, get ready to compete and go as hard as you can go."

The other contributing factor in the lack of scoring against OSU was the lack of post presence. That's something Texas doesn't want to deal with all year. But it just might against some teams.

Against Iowa State, Chapman was comfortable with his back to the basket because he had a length advantage. In the Big 12 that is not always going to be the case.

"If there is a guy has got better length like a Tyler Zeller or somebody like that, that's the type of guy that makes it difficult in those situations," the 6-foot-10 Chapman said.

Oklahoma State didn't exactly have a giant in the post. But 6-8 Mike Cobbins is long with a lot of bounce. He had five blocks. Chapman double-clutched shots and was timid because of Cobbins' presence.

Texas A&M also doesn't start an overwhelming presence in the middle, but Ray Turner has three straight double-doubles. Although, as a team, the Aggies have struggled out of the gate in the Big 12, losing their first two.

That's because they are struggling with the inside game like Texas. Senior David Loubeau, like Chapman, has not been getting decent low-post position or getting the ball in areas where he can score. The difference between Chapman and Loubeau is that the Aggies expect him to be at or near the top of the scoring stats.

Chapman is in no way supposed to carry Texas. But he does need to be steady in order for Texas to compete.

"When things get down and dirty, you got to take care of business; that is what it really comes down to," Chapman said. "I have definitely been inconsistent [over the years]. But this is a year where I can't be inconsistent."

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas sports and recruiting for HornsNation

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