Older and wiser in this video, but the rest of the ACC loved that he wouldn’t back down to Smith and UNC.
When Rick Barnes left Providence for Clemson, he was coming out of a conference that was more physical and, well, rougher than the ACC was then (or now, for that matter).
This didn’t go over very well, least of all with UNC and Dean Smith.
This was in the mid to late ‘90s. In this video, Barnes says that he had a sign in his locker room at point that says “strength negates talent.”
He also says that today he’d probably handle things differently and after having a player like Kevin Durant at Texas, he realized that a free flowing offense had a lot going for it.
Back to UNC.
Barnes says that things had been building and he and Smith had been summoned to former ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan’s house for a “sit-down” which came with fines.
He was clearly getting fed up with the status quo, but that was nothing new. So was everyone else. At one coaches meeting, Smith left the room and Lefty Driesell reportedly said “we gotta get that guy.”
Well Barnes almost did: he and Smith nearly came to blows during a game. Smith basically tried to taunt Barnes into hitting him.
This is a pretty interesting little clip about how Barnes dealt with Smith and the ACC and the perception of Clemson basketball and how he wishes he had done some things differently.
Barnes was pugnacious but ultimately failed: he left Clemson complaining that he couldn’t recruit successfully there.
He did pretty well afterwards though.