AUSTIN (KXAN) — This season has been nothing short of a wild one for the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team, and one thing it’s helping players navigate is the confidence they have in interim head coach Rodney Terry.
Following the Longhorns’ 71-66 victory over Penn State on Saturday and the program’s first Sweet 16 berth since 2008, some of the players described what Terry means to them and how his constant energy and calmness helped them overcome adversity. caused by Chris Beard dismissal.
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“He embodies who we are and what we try to be every day,” senior forward Timmy Allen said of Terry. “Tough, someone who’s been there before, and someone who never flinches in the face of adversity. It’s someone who wakes up and tries to attack the day to be great. When I have someone like that in my corner, I’ll do anything for them. I’m lucky he’s here and I’m on his team.”
Allen, who moved from Utah ahead of the 2021-22 season when Beard and Terry were brought in, patted Terry on the back after his response and turned to him with a big smile to say, “I’m happy to be on this team with my big, my dog. Terry can be heard off camera, laughing with delight.
“God doesn’t make mistakes,” Allen said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
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Senior forward Dylan Disu amassed 28 points in a win against the Nittany Lions, and when it was his turn to tell the assembled members of the media what he thought of Terry, he responded with a question of his own.
“What’s not to love about RT?” she said with a smile. “He always sets us off in a great mood. It is always positive and infects us. The appreciation that he has, that he doesn’t have to come to work, but he can come to work with us, you can’t beat that.
Terry began his second stint with the Longhorns last year as Beard’s associate head coach, primarily responsible for defense. By title, Terry was not the head coach, but in the eyes of the players he was respected as a head coach. Jabari Rice said, “it’s the definition of a leader.”
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“We are a reflection of our coach,” Rice said. “With all the victories we are making, all the preparation is from RT and the coaching staff. It prepares the staff as much as it prepares us, and it checks everything and it flows. He’s never in a bad mood unless we’re doing it wrong, but we’ll take responsibility for it. He’s a great guy and I love RT. I thank him every day for putting us in a position to be successful”.
After listening to the players talk, it’s easy to see why Terry has seamlessly taken the reins of an already talented team and led them into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years. When talent works hard, and clearly Terry gets players to do it, that’s when special things can happen.
“God is amazing, and I’m so happy to work with these guys,” Terry said. “I’m so proud of them and I really enjoy them. We work, we have fun, and we’ve had an incredible journey.”