Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is It Finally So Long, Billy G At UK?

Now that the season is officially over, everyone can now focus on the future of UK basketball--seemingly a future that will not include Billy Gillispie.

Finding someone official who will say that Gillispie will definitely be back next season is like finding someone to take responsibility for our struggling economy. No one is stepping up to that plate.

And was it just me, or did Billy G seem resigned to his future during and after UK's loss to Notre Dame? He coached the game and spoke to the media as if he knew he would no longer be Kentucky's coach after tonight. He just didn't come out and say so.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying he didn't try or want to win the game. Of course he did. I've never thought the man was a quitter. In the immortal words of Herm Edwards, "you play to win the game," and Gillispie has always seemed to be about winning. It's just that he hasn't done enough of it over the last two years. This season's 14 losses were the second most in school history.

However, I don't think his win-loss record will ultimately be his undoing. To put it simply--as I have said repeatedly since the beginning--Gillispie and Kentucky were not a good fit. Independently, they can be great, but together they are a disaster.

I'm sure most of us can relate in some capacity. I'm divorced. That's not to say that I was a bad husband or my ex was a bad wife. We simply weren't good to together. But that failed marriage is not going to stop me from getting married again, and I will be the first to say that I sincerely hope Gillispie gets another coaching job somewhere else.

John Calipari Rumors

A constant question from the readers lately has been about the thought of John Calipari replacing Billy Gillispie. I have known Coach Cal for almost 10 years now. I was working at a station in Memphis when first took over the Tigers program.

I have not spoken to John or anyone close to him lately, but I do believe that UK is definitely a job he would leave Memphis for. While that statement may seem like a no-brainer, Cal has had other opportunities to leave Memphis over the last several years, but he has a really good thing going down there, and he's not about to give it up for just any good offer that comes along. Plus, I know he was very interested in the Kentucky job after Tubby resigned.

Calipari's track record shows an incredible ability to stack rosters with NBA-level talent, and his motivation tactics are Knute-esqe. Two attributes seemingly missing from the UK program over the last few years.

And in the mold of Rick Pitino, Calipari is the consummate salesman. He could probably sell a crossword puzzle to a blind man.

However, with all that being said, it's fair to point out that Calipari has a little shade in his background. The NCAA found recruiting violations during his tenure at UMass, and there has been wide speculation about his players at Memphis receiving improper gifts--most notably being high-priced luxury cars.

Is he perfect? What coach is really? The main question should be, is he perfect for Kentucky right now?

Dan Issel Rumors

I received an e-mail on Facebook shortly after UK's loss to Notre Dame asking me if I had heard anything about Dan Issel joining the athletic department as the head of basketball operations. Evidently the belief is that Issel would run the basketball program, and Mitch Barnhart would oversee all other sports.

I have no credible information to either confirm or deny this particular speculation.

However, I do think it would be a tremendous idea. As the program's all-time leading scorer, perhaps no one knows the value and tradition of UK Basketball more than Issel. But even beyond that, his basketball acumen is off the charts. He's held both coaching and front office jobs in the NBA. His contacts and respect within the basketball world would immediately make Kentucky a serious player again in big-time college basketball.

So if this idea would somehow be put up to a vote, allow me to cast the first YES ballot.


Anonymous said...

Great insight! Many sets of Kentucky eyes are turning to you! Great job on the huddle. Crossword to a blind man, how about horse sh*t at Keeneland? I always heard Pitino could have made a fortune doing it! LOL. Either way I am feeling it will be Donavan, although J. Wright would be my first choice. Wright, D, or G, GO BIG BLUE!

Anonymous said...

Please link to Calipari NCAA violations.