2009-2010 University of Kentucky Basketball Team

mbb0910_team_photo

Here they are folks.  This years Kentucky Wildcat Basketball Team.

Left to Right 2nd Row (Standing):

Jon Hood, Ramon Harris, Patrick Patterson, Daniel Orton, Demarcus “Big Cuz” Cousins, Josh “Jorts” Harrelson, Perry “Slim” Stevenson and Darnell “Ramel Bradley’s Twin” Dodson

Left to Right First Row (Seated):

Rod Strickland, Orlando Antiqua, Darius Miller, John Wall, Mark Krebs, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Liggins, John Calipari and Jon Robic

*Coaches in Black, Players in Blue

LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari says he has felt like a political candidate during his first six months as Kentucky’s basketball coach, generating new hype with each campaign stop across the state even while trying to temper some lofty expectations.

“I’ve done enough,” Calipari said Thursday at the first official media day since leaving Memphis. “I’m waiting for election day. I was kissing babies, and I didn’t care if I won or lost the election. I just wanted it to happen.”

Calipari is well aware that the passionate UK fans care strongly about whether he wins or loses. They want wins — preferably in bunches.

The program’s recent buzz has been sparked not just by its energetic new leader but by his debut recruiting haul, a freshman class arguably the most touted since Michigan’s Fab Five.

Yet unlike that 1991-92 Wolverines team that reached the national title game with five freshman starters, Kentucky has plenty of experience to go along with the new blood. Patrick Patterson was an all-Southeastern Conference center last year during Kentucky’s National Invitation Tournament season. Kentucky’s roster is so deep, Calipari envisions Patterson playing some wing this year.

This is going to be a hell of a year.  Big Pat is back on the scene with a mission.  He’s got help from incoming Frosh John Wall, Big Cuz, Orton and Eric Bledsoe as well as Darius Miller and the remainder of the returning team.

Big things are expected and these guys can take care of business and meet those expectations.  I can see making Final Four this season.  Of course, everything will have to go right for the team.  Keep the injuries down.  Cohesion and Esprit de Corps will be important factors.  With the Cal DDS system, there should be plenty of PT for all of the stars that make up this team.  Cal has been to two Final Fours and I can see this being his 3rd with the possibility of going al the way to the Title Game and bringing home banner #8.

A year that doesn’t end in a National Championship will not be catastrophic.  Less than a Final Four would surprise me.  I see this team slicing through the SEC like a hot knife through butter.  I’m sure there will be challenges, but, I see enough talent to overcome a few bouts with youth and inexperience.

Everything I read about John Wall says that the kid will be an instant player for Kentucky and Coach Cal.  Big Cuz is supposed to be a monster.  Daniel Orton should be a beast down low.  Eric Bledsoe may be better than advertised which would be impressive as he’s supposed to be a future lottery pick.  Darius Miller can take care of spot duty at the point and become an assassin on the wings.  These things take place and it’s gonna be a huge year.

HUGE!

Bottom line is that Patrick Patterson didn’t come back for the hell of it.  The man came back to get his.  I’m hoping he gets it.  Patrick Patterson leads this team to a Championship this year and he will go down in history as one of  THE greats of Kentucky Basketball.  He could well supplant Dan Issel as THE GREATEST.

GO BIG BLUE!!!

* Kentucky Men’s Basketball Yearbook

 

Alphabetical

No. Name Pos. Ht./Wt. Cl./Exp. Hometown (Last School)
24 Eric Bledsoe G 6-1/190 FR/HS Birmingham, Ala. (Parker)
15 DeMarcus Cousins F 6-11/260 FR/HS Mobile, Ala. (LeFlore)
3 Darnell Dodson G 6-7/215 SO/TR Greenbelt, Md. (Miami-Dade CC)
55 Josh Harrellson F 6-10/265 JR/1L St. Charles, Mo. (SW Illinois College)
5 Ramon Harris G/F 6-7/218 SR/3L Anchorage, Alaska (West Anchorage)
4 Jon Hood G 6-6/195 FR/HS Madisonville, Ky. (North Hopkins)
12 Mark Krebs G 6-5/208 SR/2L Newport, Ky. (Newport Central Catholic)
34 DeAndre Liggins G 6-6/202 SO/1L Chicago, Ill. (Findley Prep)
1 Darius Miller G 6-7/223 SO/1L Maysville, Ky. (Mason County)
33 Daniel Orton F 6-10/255 FR/HS Oklahoma City, Okla. (Bishop McGuiness)
54 Patrick Patterson F 6-9/235 JR/2L Huntington, W.Va. (Huntington)
21 Perry Stevenson F 6-9/207 SR/3L Lafayette, La. (Northside)
11 John Wall G 6-4/195 FR/HS Raleigh, N.C. (Word of God)

Billy Gillispie has been fired! Huh?

That’s the word I’m hearing from some pretty solid sources.

Actually, I was hearing that Gillispie will not be fired.  If G leaves, it’s going to be more of a split due to irreconcilable differences.  A mutual decision to part ways.  I’m sure there will be a buy out involved.

UK is jumping into the abyss.

I’ve also been told the following:

The player mutiny is nonsense rumor mill tripe.  Certainly, there are a couple of players who dislike Gillispie.  Meeks and Patterson are NOT those couple of players.  Meeks and Patterson are not considering the jump to the League because of Coach G.  They support G and are declaring or not declaring based upon their draft status.  They will decide based upon real world criteria and not the fantasies of internet rumor mongers and the media.  The players who won’t be coming back are guys who shouldn’t be coming back.  The Carruth wannabees.  Think AJ and Deandre.  Team Cancers.  From what I’ve been told AJ doesn’t see the purpose or value of an education.  He hasn’t lived in his dorm for most of the season.  Krebs has been all by his lonesome.  Liggins is another problem child.  Think that Vegas trip was his only refusal to go in a game.  Think again.  He’s supposedly done it throughout SEC play as well.  Deandre is playing the game right now.  The only way that he’ll be back is if he continues his change of attitude.  If he doesn’t convince G [or the next coach], he’ll not be returning.  Supposedly, he’s been a real challenge this season and I have a hard time understanding why G has put up with it.  Don’t be surprised if both AJ and Deandre are sitting on some other bench next year.

Folks who are concerned about the contract and why BCG hasn’t signed it.  Some think it’s the clause that sets down the criteria for BCG to be fired.  Some think it has to do with charitable contributions and foundations that is the sticking point.  Others are saying that it has to do with a “personal life” clause.  I’m hearing that such is not the case.  Word on the wind is that it’s the same clause that kept Billy D away.  Apparently, Mitch wants final say on recruiting offers.  He wants final word or veto power concerning recruits.  BCG [and most other Coaches who are worth a damn] will not agree to this.  Coaches should have final say in recruiting.  As long as the guy meets NCAA guidelines, BCG and almost any other coach should have the final say in recruiting.  Not the AD.  This isn’t the NBA and the AD is not the General Manager.  Apparently, Mitch thinks that everyone is as inept a recruiter as TLT.  There seems to be more than this but that’s all I got.

Last thing, the media is brewing this storm because of their personal distaste for BCG.  My opinion on that is screw the media.  Not everyone needs to be at their beck and call and on bended knee.  The media does ask stupid questions that are a waste of time.  And the media picks it’s heros and it’s villains based upon who kisses up to them.  Sycophants like Coach K get all the good press.  Any coach who doesn’t kiss their collective asses gets bad press.  Wooden was a God.  Despite his teams being bought and paid for by a booster.  USC gets a free pass in Football.  UNLV and UK get burned because Rupp and the towel biter didn’t play their game.  Apparently, Matt Jones has a hard on for BCG because Matty was not treated with kid gloves by BCG at an early press conference.  If so, Matt has a pretty large ego.  He’s a freakin’ blogger.  He’s not a real media figure.  He’s lucky he gets a media pass.  That’s funny, though.  Matt Jones was the biggest Tubby Homer on the planet.  Almost as big a homer as the guy who runs A Sea of Blue.

On the recruiting front.  If BCG is fired, UK better hit a GRAND SLAM on the coaching hire or Daniel Orton is gone.  Larry Orton was being polite when he stated that Daniel Orton would reconsider his options if BCG was fired.  I’m told that there is no chance that Daniel comes to UK if BCG is not the coach.  “Zero. Actually, less than zero.”  Is what I’m told.

There is also the tale being told that the UKAA canvassed the players.  Asking if they’d return if BCG was fired.  I guess they are weighing their options.  Fire Billy and these guys leave/stay.  Don’t fire Billy and these guys leave/stay.  Jockeying for leverage in contract negotiations?  Trying to gauge how hard the program will be hit with a BCG firing.  UKAA has to know that they will hurt the program by firing BCG this year.  Allowing the pressure to build, though, allows them to have maximum leverage in contract negotiations.  Playing hardball, I reckon.   Mitch not making a statement of support allows the pressure to build.  He apparently thinks this will aid him in the negotiations after the season and will allow them to get the concessions they desire.  Will Gillispie give that much control over recruiting to the AD.  I don’t think any coach would do that.  I think Billy G will allow some contract concessions such as making the hand shake circuit and being nicer to the media.  But ceding recruiting decisions to the AD, I don’t think it will happen.  BCG and any coach that UK will want will walk away from that deal.

The last thing that I’ve heard is that it’s all over.  The “that’s not in my job description” statement was the straw that broke Billy’s back.  Billy has supposedly been told that he will not be returning next season.  The players are said to know as well.  But they supposedly “demanded” that he be allowed to coach them through the NIT.  The word is that there is an anointed individual in the wings and he’s still in the Tournament now.  Calipari?  Pitino?  Wright?  Dixon?  I don’t know.

So that’s the latest that I’ve heard.  Could all of that be true?  If it is, this program is a mess.  Perhaps, it’s time to part ways with Mitch unless he has some magic up his sleeve that puts UK in the Final Four in 2010 or 2011.  This whole mess is inexcusable.  From the TLT departure catching him off guard to the Billy D fiasco to this mess with Billy G.  Does Barnhart have a clue?  I’m beginning to think that he does not.

Just things I’ve heard around the water cooler.  I’m no one to whom anyone should pay any heed.  After Kentucky plays the last game of the season, somethings going to happen.  I don’t even think G and Mitch knows for certain what that might be.  No one else knows for sure either.  That’s simply my opinion.

Kentucky Basketball: Liggins and Galloway

Good news for fans of the Big Blue. Matt Jones at KSR is reporting that the Point Guard duo will be eligible for play next year.  This is GREAT news for UK Basketball as I beleive it ensures at least 26 wins and a promise of at least a Sweet 16 appearance this season.

Gillispie is bringing in the talent.  UK Basketball will continue to improve under Gillispie.

Great news Cats fans.  UK is back.

Look for Liggins to start right away at PG.  Kevin Galloway should spell both guard positions unless Meeks is not 100% at the beginning of the season.

The 2nd year of the Gillispie Era is going to be a good year to be a Cat fan.  This team is gonna sneak up on some folks.  I hope they punch UNC in the mouth and lay ’em out on the floor.  That would be a hell of a way to start the season.