"No matter who I am playing against -- no matter if they were a McDonald's All-American or somebody who did not get looked at, such as a three-star recruit as myself -- I am going to give it all I can," freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor said. "No matter who we play, no matter how good they are perceived to be, or how good they are not perceived to be, I just want to give everything and try my hardest."
Taylor's words signify the culture shift Barnes sought in the program, one by which everyone buys into the team.
The Longhorns no longer have a splash of highly recruited five-star recruits on their roster. Who's left are guys like sophomore guard Demarcus Holland.
"A year ago, he was a player who wasn't a highly recruited player but the kind who, throughout my career, that we've had a lot of success with," Barnes said. "He's a player. The way you watch him play in a game, that's how he practices every day. … There's not a coach in the country that wouldn't want him on his team."
Barnes had other talents that were coveted, too, but they're all gone.
Myck Kabongo, who missed 23 games last season when the NCAA ruled he received impermissible benefits, turned pro after the season.
The point guard didn't get drafted, played in one preseason game with the San Antonio Spurs, then was waived. Kabongo is still in Austin, Texas, just not in the capacity many expected, as he's playing for the Toros in the NBA Development League. The only other double-figure scorers from last season, Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis, also left the Longhorns, not as professionals but as transfers. McClellan went to Miami, and Lewis headed west to play for former Texas assistant Rodney Terry at Fresno State.
What surprised Barnes most was seeing forward Ioannis Papapetrou pack his bags and head to Greece after signing a professional contract with a team there in late August. The 6-foot-8 forward would have been the team's leading returning scorer (8.3 points per game), leading 3-point shooter (35.9 percent) and, in general, its best matchup problem for opponents with the way he operated on the perimeter.
Despite undergoing major roster attrition in the offseason, Barnes said he wasn't surprised by the Longhorns' quick start.
"I don't think there is any coach in any sport that goes into a game not thinking that they can win," Barnes said. "Every game we have gone into, we felt like we could win."
The departures of Dodds and Brown signal the end of an era in Austin, and Barnes added that much will change in the near future with plans for a medical school eventually leading to the bulldozing of the basketball facility.
"Austin itself is changing," he said. "We've seen a lot of change already in 16 years, and there's going to be a lot more."
Barnes doesn't plan on being a part of those changes just yet.