Kentucky Madness — Rumors of the end of the Gillispie Era

rumors

They’re out there. Thousands of folks running around. Rumor mongers galore.

I’ve heard that Gillispie is out as soon as he loses the last game of the year.  Because everyone or most everyone is convinced that he will lose.  Probably to Creighton.

Miller, Meeks and Patterson will transfer or go to the NBA if Gillispie returns.  Liggins is gone.  Mike Porter is going to graduate early and leave no matter what happens because of family issues.  His wife is about to have their baby and Mike needs to get a job and support his family.  

Calipari is already on board

Pitino is in the wings waiting.  But he might be on his way to Arizona as well.

Donovan has changed his mind [again] and wants to create his own Camelot.

90% of the Big Blue Nation is supposed to want Billy G gone at year end.

A Big time Booster who owns a bank or two is financing the buyout of Billy and the hiring of Calipari.  Calipari supposedly wanted to come last time but was blocked by his contract and boosters at Memphis.  This time.  Nothing stands in his way.

I have no idea what is going to happen.  G is still recruiting as if he is staying.  The JUCO kid, Konner, just signed and he’s supposed to be the real deal.  Instant Impact.  As opposed to flighty JUCOs Galloway and Harrelson.

There are so many rumors floating out there that I can’t keep up with them.  Bloggers are going crazy.  Sportswriters are swearing that he’s gone.  Bromley, Bozich, Seth Davis have all come out stating that G is as good as gone.  Citing “sources close to the program” or “sources within the program.”

And it’s not that Billy G is losing at a clip that makes Tubby look like a winner in his last two years.  It’s that Billy G doesn’t seem to understand the role of a Kentucky Coach.  He seems to think that he can coach and play his X’s and O’s and it ends there.  He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s expected to BE the program.  He’s supposed to kiss babies and shake hands and represent the program in the news.  He’s got to glad hand the boosters and give autographs.

Then there are the rumors that he’s all over the parties on campus doing his best Bruce Pearl impression.  These rumors are completely unbelievable.  In this age of instant celebrity and sleuthing/outting via Youtube and webcams and cellphone cams and video recorders, there would be a record of any shenanigans.  Thus far, NADA.  Not a single video or picture of a drunken Billy pawing on College Frosh at Sorority or Fraternity parties.  Not a single pic of a sloshed Billy G.  Not one.

But that doesn’t stop morons from spreading the rumors or the gullible masses from believing every and anything that they hear concerning these rumors.  It seems that some people live to tell.  And the rowdier the rumor, it seems the more people are willing to believe it.

Come Monday, we’ll see.

If Billy goes up to Omaha and his boys lose, next week is judgement week.  The dirty truth comes out.  

Will he resign?

Will deep pocketed Boosters buy him out and bring in a big name like Calipari?

Is Pitino the “once and future” coach of the Cats?

Will Donovan pull a Roy Williams and come the second time he’s asked?

I have no idea.  We’ll know soon enough.

My favorite rumor is this gem from you tube:

DUI got caught drinking with ramel bradley while he was a senior last year… tisk tisk silly redneck i guess thats what you’d expect from a school with a hick tradition like kentsucky.

uhoh

Joe Crawford scrambling up the NBA Draft charts.

Pre-draft camp: Day 2 Stock Watch

Joe Crawford: Made things happen with the ball in his hands, scoring 19 points in 26 minutes. He was his team’s most aggressive player and showed nice versatility mixing up his perimeter shooting with his slashing ability.

Crawfords year under Billy Gillispie put him on the NBA radar. Just imagine what four years would have done for him. He might have left early.

I always have to wonder what a real coach could have done with guys like Morriss, Rondo, Bogans and Prince. Imagine a driven coach with the talent of that 2001 Turmoil Team. Pitino would have added a Final Four at least. Tubby let it slip through his fingers through piss poor management.

Smith did a disservice to guys like Prince, Rondo and Bogans. Crawford and Morriss as well. These guys are NBA Talent who under a coach who knows how to develop and showcase talent would have been higher draft picks. Hayes has proven that he should have been a First Rounder. Rondo and Prince should have been lottery pics. Bogans should have had guaranteed money. Bradley could have been a 2nd Rounder. He may still make it. But it won’t be due to Smith. It will be due to his year under Gillispie.

The Cats take on Marquette today

The Cats make the tournament in 2008 as an 11 seed in the West Region. A 12-4 run in the SEC regular season makes it possible.

First opponent: Marquette. 2:30 EDT in Anahem, California
UK has met Marquette in the NCAAs 9 times. This will be the 10th. Marquette has won the last two meetings with UK in the tournament. The last being the year that Dwayne Wade showcased his NBA Superstar potential and Bogans broke his ankle in the Wisconsin game. I haven’t seen any Marquette games this year. But from all I’ve read, UK is a slight favorite for an upset bid in round 1. If UK loses this game, it will be the first 1st round loss in over 15 years.

From the UK presser today, an interesting tidbit. Perry Stevenson was asked about UK fan expectations. Here’s the quote:

Or as Kentucky forward Perry Stevenson remarked when asked what Wildcats fans expect from their beloved basketball team: “Seven championships in six years.”

Hilarious and a nugget of truth as well.

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“We became a blue-collar team,” Stevenson said. “We come out and scrap and fight.”

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As you can see, Perry Stevenson is UK’s shot blocking phenom. Here’s to him swatting a dozen or so Marquette shots today. His emergence along with Jasper and Ramon Harris are the reasons that UK can still win minus Patrick Patterson. Perry really picked up his play though. A fairly amazing transformation from his Frosh campaign.

Perry has benefited from the loss of Patrick Patterson somewhat. Pat being out has given Perry room to grow and experience this year. I don’t think he would have been forced to grow as much if Pat was still in the game. Next year should see those two wreaking havoc down low and inside/out on teams. With the additions coming in, I think UK will be in fine shape for 2009.

But first this season must be played out:

GO CATS!!! BEAT MARQUETTE!!!

For all of you doubters, I’ll leave you with this:

“He just had so much belief in us,” Bradley said. “It was hard to doubt ourselves.”

Ramel Bradley on Coach Gillispie

I say the Cats advance in a bruiser.  Final Score:  Cats – 56  Golden Eagles – 50 

Big Blue above .500!

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UK pulls out a tough 63-58 road win over Dennis Felton and the Georgia Bulldogs to go 10-9 on the season. Gillispie and the boys need to pull out 8 or 9 more wins. If the boys in blue can win 9 of the next 13 possible games. Preferably winning the SEC Tourney or at least making it to Sunday afternoon. They can make a nice run in the NCAAs. That gives Gillispie a fairly respectable first season and builds momentum going into next year.

Kentucky pulls out the win over the Bulldogs with a hobbled Joe C. and more importantly without Ramel and Jodie. Big man Pat pulls out another nice game for Gillispie. This team is there emotionally. If they can ever get 100% healthy, look out. I think they can surprise. Sneak up on a couple of teams in the tournament. Like ‘Zona did in ’97. I don’t think Kentucky has a title run in them this year. But I think they could make a surprise run to the Sweet 16. Maybe get lucky and meet up with Minnesota and send them home to Gopher land.

Defeating UGa in a much needed road win. That’s 3 straight wins. Taking the Cats to 4 and 2 in the SEC.

Florida is getting taken to the woodshed by John Pelphrey and the Razorbacks. By the end of the day, UK may be tied for 2nd in the East. For now, I’ll take it.

Yahoo Sports recap of the game here.

The Boys in Blue lost in overtime

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81 – 70 UF takes it in overtime.

Easy to get frustrated. But don’t do it. Keep the Faith.

Those of you who can. Turn Rupp Arena into a mad house on Tuesday. Scare the shooting slump right back into Orange Chris. Everytime Smith or Crew or anyone else gets close to the rim roar so loud that they lose their balance.

This is the time for all of the Big Blue Faithful to come together and cheer our Boys on to Victory!

Ramel, Joe, Jodie, Pat, DJas…it’s time to step it up a few notches and make this victory happen.  Time to take it to another level of play.

Coach. It’s time to coach the boys up. Raise their level of intensity. Create a plan. Show the fans and the team that you can will your team to victory. Show us the future.

GO BIG BLUE!!!

Beat UT!!!

The Goals of UK Basketball

That’s how it was at UCLA. Coach (Ben) Howland would chart our goals in the preseason and it would be: Win all of our games, win the Pac-10 and win the national title.“They don’t hang any banners at Pauley Pavilion except national championships. ”

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If a UK fan had said this in the Almost Era of Tubby Smith coached UK basketball, he’d have been ridiculed as unrealistic. Someone please tell me why UCLA is better than UK. Why should UK have lessor goals than UCLA. If you want to win, you’ve got to expect to win. Period. Goals and Expectations go hand in hand. A goal is nothing more than the end toward which effort is directed. The expectation is that those goals will be met. No one sets goals with the expectation of failure. Again, we set goals with the expectation of meeting or exceeding them. Successful people do this. Successful programs do this. History has shown us that UK is a successful program. So was it unfair that UK fans expected Smith to reach the Final Four and earn a National Championship sometime between 1999 and 2007. I don’t think so.  Fans should have the same expectations as the team itself.  Especially since, Smith was being paid with the goal and therefore the expectation of Final Fours and Championships in mind. Smith knew what was expected of him. He wasn’t an innocent lamb being led to slaughter by the wolves.

The goal at UK should be to win every game. The goal should be to win the SEC and the NCAA Tournaments. UK should expect to win every game and so should it’s fans. I don’t care what the fans of the Minnesota coach have to say about it, Smith was not getting it done. It’s obvious that he didn’t think he could get it done as well. That’s why he fled to Minnesota.

If you lose a game, is that a failure. Yes. If you don’t win a championship does it mean that the season was a complete failure. No. You failed to reach your goal. But no team is going to win a championship every year. Not even the LA Druglord backed Wizard of Westwood could win the National Championship every year. But the seasons should be based upon building up to making a championship run. Momentum from the end of one season should build over into and support the next until all of that effort culminates in a National Championship. That was never the case under the past coach. Smith was a talent yoke and a momentum killer. The beginning of each season started as if past season had never occurred.

We now have a coach who sets the goals of winning each game and winning the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. He understands these goals and has the hunger to chase them and accomplish them. The Gillispie era has started off rocky. Realistically, what did UK fans think would happen this year. Gillispie is starting off with 5 good to great athletes. Meeks and Patterson are going to be special at UK. I see both of them becoming All Americas by the end of their year. Patterson should be SEC Frosh of the Year in my opinion. Biased though it may be. Crawford and Bradley are good guards who are inconsistent. But they are skilled. We all hope that D Jasper will come out and lead this team. I think he will be a good one. But we won’t know until he plays. That’s 4 guards and 1 PF. Not exactly a complete team. But fairly representative of what the Minnesota coach recruited during his tenure at UK. Always holes being filled by out of position, uncomfortable talent. The rest of the team is either inexperienced or role players that should not be starters for UK. Porter has no business starting for UK. Mark Coury should not be starting any game at UK. Harris got spot minutes for half of last year. Stevenson barely played at all. Carter has been injured his whole career. The rest are your typical incomplete Tubby recruits and walk-ons. But that’s the hand that Gillispie was dealt by the inefficient recruiting of Smith. The team is also suffering from a Tubby Smith induced hangover of low expectations and soft discipline. UK has been a soft team since the recruits of Rick Pitino graduated or were drafted. To be sure, you’ve had Bogans and Hayes, but you’ve also had Shagari, Camara and J.P. Blevins–all starters at UK for one reason or another during the Smith era. Gillispie is not going to accept soft players and a lack of discipline. And he shouldn’t. UK fans should accept this. UK fans should welcome this.

Instead, I hear crying and complaining that Gillispie is “too hard.” He may not be “caring enough” for UK. He practices too much. Next some moron is going to complain because Gillispie doesn’t go to church enough. I’m tired of losing. The losing was due to Smith. Smith is gone now. I was tired of Ten Loss Tubby and his yearly “this is unacceptable” proclamations followed by zero change and more of the same. It will take time for Gillispie to install his system and to get players in who reflect his system. When he does, he will win and win big. The “Almost Era” is over. It’s going to take time for the Gillispie Era to come into full swing. It’s time for UK fans to sit down and have some patience and let Gillispie get to work.

In the next few years, UK will once again be a giant on the scene. Give Coach Gillispie time and he will get us there.

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