The plot thickened in the search for a new basketball coach at the University of Texas when two of the top candidates took their names out of consideration for the post.

Washington's Bob Bender and Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson both announced Thursday night that they would be staying at their respective schools. They were considered two of the top candidates, along with Utah's Rick Majerus.The late withdrawls by Bender and Sampson would seem to indicate that someone else has been offered the job. Could that mean

Majerus is Texas' man? Of course Majerus isn't saying. He's adamantly made it clear he won't comment on other jobs, and he's sticking to it in regard to the Texas position.

"I'm the coach at Utah and that's where I'm at," he told the Deseret News Thursday afternoon.

Majerus changed his plans and didn't go to Phoenix as originally planned Wednesday, which raised some eyebrows by watchers of the Texas coach situation. But it turned out ex-Ute Michael Doleac, whom Majerus was going to accompany to the NBA rookie camp, decided he needed to catch up on some classes rather than make the trip.

Instead, Majerus traveled to Los Angeles Thursday night to "see two kids" the Utes are recruiting. He plans to be back in time for Saturday's John and Nellie Wooden coach of the year presentation from the Utah Tip Off Club at Little America.

It doesn't seem Majerus has plans to be interviewed for the open Texas job, which his name has been associated with for a week now. But the fact that he refuses to say he's not a candidate for that job makes people wonder if he is interested in the position.

With Bender and Sampson out of the running and Majerus still a mystery, attention is turning to Clemson coach Rick Barnes and North Carolina assistant Phil Ford.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said he hoped to have a new coach named by this weekend.