Go Gophers!

I’ve been watching the fans of UK basketball lately, with great interest. How can one miss them? They’re the ones who are wiping the leftover grease from their freshly eaten young,  off their chops.

But I digress.

Well, you UK fans got what you wanted – or maybe not. You ran Tubby Smith right out of Kentucky. You wanted his head on a pike. Well, he landed where he deserved – Minnesota. We Minnesota fans will love him. He’ll get us to the tourney every year, and advance in it occasionally. He is a fine game coach, good at encouraging his players to attend class, and will run a clean program – and we’ve never won AND had a clean program. We’re going to have some fun in the North Country.

So, lessee. When HAS Kentucky had a coach that was really good. Just when?

Adolph Rupp was a bigoted asshole. Yes, he won titles – but not even half the titles John Wooden won in the same era.  The Texas Western debacle sums it up well.

Joe B. Hall was Tubby Smith in opposite: great recruiter, lousy game coach, ran a crooked program, who knows if the players went to class or not? I will never forget watching the first “dream game” against Louisville: while Denny Crum diagrammed plays and directed and coached his arse off, the Beezman was foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog.

Eddie Sutton: “glug glug glug glug, burp, crash, zzzzzzzzzzz”……..$Here, your coach is passed out, take this money$$$$……..”   (hic) Ah suppose we’ll go out and recroo Johnnie Walker (hic, clunk, zzzzzzz.”  “Sure, Eric, so what you didn’t pass the ACT, we can get a cheerleader with a 3.8 to take the test for you”…….”Rex, what’re you doing dating that black cheerleader?  And play some defense already!” ” “Shut up Sutton, I’ll date who I want, and my dad’s the only coach I listen to, you old drunk….” “Nice Corvette, Rex.  Looks new. By the way, don’t they ever charge you for those burgers at Ritzy’s?”  “When’s that Emory truck gonna get here?”  “Call that Chevy dealer and make sure Mills gets that Cavalier convertible.”

By the way, that’s the kind of coach I predict you get again, next, you UK fans.

Rick Pitino: the only coach you’ll ever need – or welcome back. With boos, since he’s gonna retire in about 10 years, after Louisville wins at least 1 more title and gets to a couple more Final Fours, with him as coach. He ain’t coming back, kiddos.

Tubby: fine game coach, so-so recruiter, honest as day is long, runs clean program. Won a title, made tourney every year, elite eights, sweet 16s, still not good enough.

So, who ya gonna hire better?

Forget Billy Donovan. He’s going to win his second straight title this year, most likely. You think Florida’s gonna let him get away? Florida will more than match any contract offer Donovan receives.   Would YOU leave Florida for Kentucky? I don’t think so.  You’d have as much chance of hiring Krzyzewski or Roy Williams away from Duke or UNC.

John Calipari? Don’t I recall him leaving UMass for the NBA, with the NCAA on his heels, over the moolah Marcus Camby was being paid? Ya wanna get the death sentence from the NCAA?

Pitino? UK makes offer, Tom Jurich calls John Schnatter, offer trounced. He will stay at Louisville until he retires, or unless the Lakers come calling.

Tom Crean? Is he up to the pressure? A small Catholic college in Milwaukee ain’t UK. I bet he’d be Eddie Sutton reincarnated.

Rick Barnes? Good coach, but Texas can outpay Kentucky. He’ll stay in Austin.

My prediction: UK will hire a new coach, maybe someone from a mid major who played for Pitino – maybe a John Pelphrey or Travis Ford. They won’t be up to the job. Recruiting is tough. There are 30 programs that have a shot at winning each year, consistantly, and they all have the same recruits in mind.  Tubby was at least recruiting good role players, people who played defense and rebounded – he was one star shooter away from another Final Four.  I bet UK doesn’t come anywhere near another Final Four, or title, for at least 10 more years, and starts missing the dance every couple of years, and getting in with 8 and 10 and 12 seeds when they do. They don’t rule the SEC anymore, and aren’t going to, and Donovan will eat their lunch annually when Florida comes to town.

Sorry, UK faithful, I don’t know what seasoning to tell you to use on your kids, then……..maybe curry sauce, or fava beans and a good chianti?


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3 Comments on “Go Gophers!”

  1. Tim McCormick Says:

    You really shouldn’t comment on things you know little, if anything, about. I’m 53, born and raised in Lexington. I’m a loyal UK fan, but certainly not rabid. You said a l;ot of things that simply aren’t true — particularly the comment about UK fans running Tubby out of town. Actually, the fan base at UK was split about 50-50 over whether to replace Tubby. Therre was vigorous discussion on the matter in the press, in the blogs, and in everyday conversation. Tubby was, as you say, not a good recruiter at all. He was a decent game coach. But his real downfall was his inability to gain the respect of his players.

    Like I said that is simply the first of many errors you made (John Pelphrey???).

  2. Bill Guffey Says:

    Ha! That is one of the funniest posts I’ve read about this issue. You did mean it all tongue-in-cheek, didn’t you? Coach Smith is a good coach with the clipboard, but as stated by Mr. McCormick above, the players didn’t respect him or his ability to coach during a game, and with good reason.

    Tubby coached in Tulsa with the previous coach’s players, did the same in Georgia, and did well with Pitino’s players in KY. But once those players were gone his team fell apart. KY lost 25 games the last two years. You seriously think if he can’t recruit for a mainstay like KY he can do it for Minnesota? Get a grip.

    Congrats to you though. You got a good man. Just not a good coach. I wish him luck.

  3. Duly noted about player respect – and that’s the problem. A coach damned well should be respected by the players, without question, automatically, especially a class man like Tubby. But young players these days are coddled, told they’re great from 8th grade on, and don’t have any respect left for anyone by the time they get to college. Some of them never learn to respect coaches. There’s guys in the NBA who have never respected a coach.

    Tell me what I was wrong on, other than not picking Gillispie? Time will tell how he does. I hope UK fans give him a chance. I will, I liked the way he coached in the NCAAs. But there’s a big difference between coaching the #3 sport (behind football and baseball) at T A&M and coaching at UK, where basketball is a regional religion. I fear they won’t give him the time he will need.

    I lived in Lexington during the Rex Chapman/Drunk’n’ Eddie Sutton days, and saw Rex driving his dealer supplied car with dealer plates, and Sutton sloppy drunk in bars. And tell me that I wasn’t right about the other UK coaches. It took Pitino to make me even care about UK again after that.

    Anyway, I stand by what I’ve said here: I expect Tubby will be well liked in Minnesota.
    There, he can skip the spoiled brat McDonald’s AAs, recruit solid in-state role players, and coach them, teach them to play. The expectations are lower, and he can do what he does well. He’ll make the tourney regularly, probably amass a record similar to that he had at KY, and be far happier. It’s a great place for him Gopher fans will like him a lot.

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