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ESPN is reporting Billy Gillespie from A&M has been hired at Kentucky.

I think this is a great hire for UK. He's a good recruiter and will turn Kentucky back into a real national power. Look at what he did with A&M in 3 years! Much better choice than Rick Barnes of Texas in my opinion.

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Personally I think Rick Barnes is the better coach.

Gillespie had success this year with Melvin Watkins players. He still hasn't proven he can recruit a Top 25 team. Though I thought I did hear he got the top Prep star in Texas to come to A&M.

I'm not saying Billy is bad. He just isn't proven yet. He did do a great job of getting the most out of those players and bringing in a few to contribute.

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Personally I think Rick Barnes is the better coach.

Gillespie had success this year with Melvin Watkins players. He still hasn't proven he can recruit a Top 25 team. Though I thought I did hear he got the top Prep star in Texas to come to A&M.

I'm not saying Billy is bad. He just isn't proven yet. He did do a great job of getting the most out of those players and bringing in a few to contribute.

Rick Barnes took himself out of contention a couple of hours after Billy Donovan announced he was staying in Florida. As a UK fan and alumnus, I think it's a good hire. Everyone will have to wait and see what he does from a recruiting standpoint, but he brings the type of uptempo game that should attract top recruits.

I'm not on the Tubby Smith bashing bandwagon, nor am I on the "Donovan's crazy for not coming to Kentucky" bandwagon either. Smith's grind-it-out style is better suited for the traditional Big Ten style of play than the more uptempo SEC style; he should do well at Minnesota. However, his style hurt his recruiting in the past few years. I think Donovan also made the right choice; he has the opportunity to put his name up there with Krzyzewski and the other modern-era top coaches if Florida maintains their current momentum. To me, building your own legacy trumps "feeding the monster" at Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, or Duke (once Coach K retires).

Off topic, but has anyone else seen the HBO documentary on the UCLA Dynasty? They had some recent interviews with John Wooden, and one of them included this comment from him on "Feeding the Monster"

Wooden related this story of walking off the court after winning the 1975 championship in his final game, a fan walked up to him and said:

"I guess this almost makes up for you blowing it last year." For this fan, 8 championships in 9 years (overall 10 in 12 years) just wasn't enough.

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

One difference in the Williams/Donovan scenarios - Roy Williams is from North Carolina, played for Dean Smith at UNC (at least at the JV level, according to wikipedia), coached high school ball in NC, then coached under Smith for 10 years at UNC before leaving for Kansas. It is one thing to come "home" to your home state and alma matre.

Billy Donovan's ties to Kentucky are all through Rick Pitino. Donovan played for Pitino at Providence, turning his playing career around and playing the point for Providence's Cinderella Final Four run. Donovan was out of basketball when Pitino called on him to come to Kentucky as a coach, where he stayed for five years before moving on to Marshall and then Florida. Slightly different scenario to consider some place you worked for 5 years when you were fairly fresh out of college as "going home".

Also, why not an up-and-coming coach? That's what Adolph Rupp was when he came to UK. Since Rupp, UK has had:

1 - an internal promotion (Joe B. Hall; 1 championship)

2 - an established coach (Eddie Sutton; probation)

3 - a somewhat established coach (Rick Pitino; 1 championship)

4 - an up-and-coming coach (Tubby Smith; 1 championship)

I consider Rick Pitino to be "somewhat established" as his pre-Kentucky resume was Boston University (mid-major) for 7 years then the "2-year bounces" at Providence and then with the Knicks. He was noted for what he did in his 2-year stints after BU, but was also noted as a carpetbagger because of the short stays. Also, C.M. Newton turned to Pitino after UK was snubbed by Coach K and P.J. Carlesimo. And at that time, Coach K was carrying around the "talant but couldn't win the championship" monkey on his back from having been to the Final Four in 1986, 1988, and 1989 without winning. I consider Smith to be "up and coming" because he spent 4 years at Tulsa (mid-major) and 2 years at Georgia before coming back to Kentucky.

Only time will tell if Gillespie is a good hire, but among those coaches who were really available, it was the best pick.

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Kentucky will never be what they were in the SEC, because all the schools are now making the financial efforts in basketball that they didn't before. Florida is a prime example of this.

And Kentucky will make sure it outspends the rest of 'em because basketball is a damned religion in that state.

Florida, for all this repeat basketball stuff, is still a football school, by and large. Kentucky, there's no confusion as to what runs that school, and that state as a whole.

Yes, the SEC schoole are making large strides to change the hierarchy, and that's been in the works for years. Before Florida, Arkansas was a national power that routinely battled Kentucky for domination. LSU under Dale Brown was never a cakewalk. You talk about these additional schools making a new commitment? It's been going on for years now. The SEC is so far removed from the "Kentucky and others" label of yore.

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

I might also add that there is a bit of a perception that the UK fanbase ran off Tubby. For a coaching performance that would qualify you for getting your name on the d@mn court at about 300 other Division I institutions. That too might be a deterrent factor.

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

I might also add that there is a bit of a perception that the UK fanbase ran off Tubby. For a coaching performance that would qualify you for getting your name on the d@mn court at about 300 other Division I institutions. That too might be a deterrent factor.

For a national title won with Pitino's boys and a couple of elite eights? Let's not go overboard here. I've heard a lot about how UK ran off a great coach, and I just don't see the greatness. Good coach? Yes. Unwilling to play the PR game that the most famous person in the state is required to play? Yes. Didn't recruit well enough? Absolutely yes.

Let's be frank here, Tubby Smith was no John Wooden. He was given ample time, and when diminishing returns became the norm and recruiting was getting stale (check out the Wildcat roster right about now - not that exciting), he was forced out. A lot of this is Tubby's doing, he never played the pulpit like Ricky P. did and it ultimately cost him the good favor of Kentucky folks.

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

I might also add that there is a bit of a perception that the UK fanbase ran off Tubby. For a coaching performance that would qualify you for getting your name on the d@mn court at about 300 other Division I institutions. That too might be a deterrent factor.

For a national title won with Pitino's boys and a couple of elite eights? Let's not go overboard here. I've heard a lot about how UK ran off a great coach, and I just don't see the greatness. Good coach? Yes. Unwilling to play the PR game that the most famous person in the state is required to play? Yes. Didn't recruit well enough? Absolutely yes.

Let's be frank here, Tubby Smith was no John Wooden. He was given ample time, and when diminishing returns became the norm and recruiting was getting stale (check out the Wildcat roster right about now - not that exciting), he was forced out. A lot of this is Tubby's doing, he never played the pulpit like Ricky P. did and it ultimately cost him the good favor of Kentucky folks.

Point 1-he managed no worse than a trip to the 2nd round of the Dance EVERY year. That would get you a frelling statue in most places.

Point 2-I though Ashley Judd was the most famous person in the state.

Point 3-Times change, available scholarships decrease, :censored: happens.

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Personally I think Rick Barnes is the better coach.

That's a slap in the face if I ever saw one. Rick Barnes is a vastly overrated coach. When you have (sorry Greg Oden) the best player in the country, and the best college player of the past couple decades, how you can allow your shoot-first guards to hoist up ill-advised shot after ill-advised shot and allow your supremely talented KG/Nowitzki-to-be fade into the background is unfathomable. It's not like it happened in just one or two games; come crunch time, Abrams and Augustin stopped looking for Durant and tried to score by themselves. And what talent is Barnes developing in Austin? He turns moribund programs around, but he's not the guy to get Kentucky to the level that would satisfy their fans.

Rick Barnes is a name at a program flush with cash and notoriety earned in football. He gets top-flight recruits largely on the strength of that cash and prestige. But he is an awful coach.

Billy Gillespie did more in less time with less fanfare than Barnes has done, and at a school that doesn't have the national pull that Texas does. My only concern with this hire is his lack of experience. 5 years running a D-1 program that was in the shadows of A&M's football program at a school that really didn't care much about hoops isn't really a vast body of work to go on, now that he sits front and center over one of the true elite programs in college hoops. The scrutiny drove Tubby Smith to the calm of Minnesota - and he won a title in Lexington! I wonder if he really knows what he has signed for.

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

I might also add that there is a bit of a perception that the UK fanbase ran off Tubby. For a coaching performance that would qualify you for getting your name on the d@mn court at about 300 other Division I institutions. That too might be a deterrent factor.

For a national title won with Pitino's boys and a couple of elite eights? Let's not go overboard here. I've heard a lot about how UK ran off a great coach, and I just don't see the greatness. Good coach? Yes. Unwilling to play the PR game that the most famous person in the state is required to play? Yes. Didn't recruit well enough? Absolutely yes.

Let's be frank here, Tubby Smith was no John Wooden. He was given ample time, and when diminishing returns became the norm and recruiting was getting stale (check out the Wildcat roster right about now - not that exciting), he was forced out. A lot of this is Tubby's doing, he never played the pulpit like Ricky P. did and it ultimately cost him the good favor of Kentucky folks.

Point 1-he managed no worse than a trip to the 2nd round of the Dance EVERY year. That would get you a frelling statue in most places.

Point 2-I though Ashley Judd was the most famous person in the state.

Point 3-Times change, available scholarships decrease, :censored: happens.

I will have to disagree with you about point number two.

George Clooney is the most famous person from Kentucky. :D

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Having lived in Kentucky for a bit, I don't think this was the best hire. I think the UK program should be above "up and coming" coaches and instead attracting the best of the best. There were no UK alums in the NBA that wanted to come back? Remember how everyone and their sister were falling all over themselves to coach UNC a few years back? That didn't happen here, and I'm not quite sure.

I hope the best for Gillespie and the UK program, but I think it says a lot about the stature of UK these days that they couldn't get Donovan. If Roy Williams could turn his back on a Final Four team to go to UNC, UK at one time should have expected a similar level of frenzy.

I might also add that there is a bit of a perception that the UK fanbase ran off Tubby. For a coaching performance that would qualify you for getting your name on the d@mn court at about 300 other Division I institutions. That too might be a deterrent factor.

For a national title won with Pitino's boys and a couple of elite eights? Let's not go overboard here. I've heard a lot about how UK ran off a great coach, and I just don't see the greatness. Good coach? Yes. Unwilling to play the PR game that the most famous person in the state is required to play? Yes. Didn't recruit well enough? Absolutely yes.

Let's be frank here, Tubby Smith was no John Wooden. He was given ample time, and when diminishing returns became the norm and recruiting was getting stale (check out the Wildcat roster right about now - not that exciting), he was forced out. A lot of this is Tubby's doing, he never played the pulpit like Ricky P. did and it ultimately cost him the good favor of Kentucky folks.

Point 1-he managed no worse than a trip to the 2nd round of the Dance EVERY year. That would get you a frelling statue in most places.

Point 2-I though Ashley Judd was the most famous person in the state.

Point 3-Times change, available scholarships decrease, :censored: happens.

Point 1 - Maybe, but Tubby alienated his fanbase with his aloof nature.

And frankly, schools like UNC, Kansas, and Kentucky should be going deep into the NCAA's every year, considering all the money and power invested in those programs.

Point 2 - Ashley Judd is nice, but the head basketball coach in Kentucky is the most powerful man in the state. Bar none.

Point 3 - Big cop out, especially when young turks like Billy Donovan start kicking your keister around for a couple of years now.

It was time for a change.

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Those closer to the UK program, please help me. I just want to know more about the program, rather than to discuss the legacy of Tubby, but hear me out. As one who lived in Texas until this year, "Clyde" Gillespe was very good for both UTEP and TAMU, but what will be the measuring point for him? In-state recruting, or how far the team goes in March?

1- Did Joe B. Hall retire on his own accord, or was he forced out? While he coached at two other schools before UK, were 3 Final Fours, 2 Final games, and 1 championship good enough? Plus, he wan their first title in 20 years! 20! His only championship game loss was to a Wooden UCLA team. He also had 8 SEC titles in 13 seasons. He retired at age 58, 7 seasons after his national title. This was in a tourament with "stiffer" competition for the initial round, even if you received a bye.

2-Do we really need to bring up the Eddie Sutton/Dewayne Casey years? PROBATION!

3-I am not sure how much a difference this makes, but as I looked at the list of the former "Mr. Kentucky Basketballs", since 2000, only two went to UK (Carrier and Stockton). I know that the honor is not a real judge of who can play at the D-1 level, but the honor makes people think otherwise. The others left the state or did not go D-1. It is not like each attended Louisville. Patino looks for score first point guards. Plus some of those kids have apparently made an impact at those schools. So it Tubby at fault?

3-The 2005 UK team was an overtime away from reaching the Final Four. They lost a great game verses Michigan State and forced the OT. Tubby had 4 Elite eights in 9 seasons.

4-It seems that Kansas and Kentucky fans believe that they are the most "entitled" to past glory or championships based on history generations ago. before the shot clock, before scholarship limits, after freshman ineligibility, before Title IX, et al. For Wildcat fans, I think that history has been re-written since the 1992 season when they think they got jobbed against Duke since Laettner stpped on Timerblake's chest and in 1993 when Mashburn fouled out in OT verses Michigan.

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Those closer to the UK program, please help me. I just want to know more about the program, rather than to discuss the legacy of Tubby, but hear me out. As one who lived in Texas until this year, "Clyde" Gillespe was very good for both UTEP and TAMU, but what will be the measuring point for him? In-state recruting, or how far the team goes in March?

1- Did Joe B. Hall retire on his own accord, or was he forced out? While he coached at two other schools before UK, were 3 Final Fours, 2 Final games, and 1 championship good enough? Plus, he wan their first title in 20 years! 20! His only championship game loss was to a Wooden UCLA team. He also had 8 SEC titles in 13 seasons. He retired at age 58, 7 seasons after his national title. This was in a tourament with "stiffer" competition for the initial round, even if you received a bye.

2-Do we really need to bring up the Eddie Sutton/Dewayne Casey years? PROBATION!

3-I am not sure how much a difference this makes, but as I looked at the list of the former "Mr. Kentucky Basketballs", since 2000, only two went to UK (Carrier and Stockton). I know that the honor is not a real judge of who can play at the D-1 level, but the honor makes people think otherwise. The others left the state or did not go D-1. It is not like each attended Louisville. Patino looks for score first point guards. Plus some of those kids have apparently made an impact at those schools. So it Tubby at fault?

3-The 2005 UK team was an overtime away from reaching the Final Four. They lost a great game verses Michigan State and forced the OT. Tubby had 4 Elite eights in 9 seasons.

4-It seems that Kansas and Kentucky fans believe that they are the most "entitled" to past glory or championships based on history generations ago. before the shot clock, before scholarship limits, after freshman ineligibility, before Title IX, et al. For Wildcat fans, I think that history has been re-written since the 1992 season when they think they got jobbed against Duke since Laettner stpped on Timerblake's chest and in 1993 when Mashburn fouled out in OT verses Michigan.

I guess I have an interesting perspective on this. I actually have a "split personality" compared to a lot of fans in this state - I have an undergrad degree from Louisville and a graduate degree from Kentucky (Kentucky had an accredited program for my grad degree, and at the time Louisville did not). That qualifies me as a fan for both, and someone who attended the schools during key parts of their baskeball history (Louisville - right in between their two titles, but with 2 Final Fours during my years there), and Kentucky during the first two years of the Sutton era. I also continued to live in Lexington until the fall of 1991, so I saw the Sutton era unravel and the Pitino era start.

1. If I'm recalling correctly, Hall did retire on his own. I would say that the "monster" at UK chewed him up a bit. Hall's history was as a JV player at UK who transferred to a small college to finish up playing. He returned to UK, however, to complete his degree after he completed his eligibility. He coached at a couple of very small colleges, but returned to be an assistant under Rupp in the mid-1960s (I'm pretty sure he was on staff by 1966; it was either his first or second year there). He coached the Freshman team as well as being an assistant (back in the days when freshmen weren't eligible for varsity play). Kentucky had this pool of freshmen that was supposed to be one of the best they ever had (Jimmy Dan Connor, Mike Flynn, Kevin Grevey, and Bob Guyette) that was "supposed" to be the core of a UCLA-style 3-year run, which would have corresponded to Hall's first 3 years. Didn't happen that way - the only Final Four that team made was the 1975 loss to UCLA. Plus, they didn't play the man-to-man, uptempo (for the times) style of the great Rupp teams, they played a slower, more clogging defense/motion offense style that the fans didn't like. By 1975, that team not only had that group of Seniors, but their Freshman class (who were now eligible) included Rick Robey, Mike Phillips and Jack "Goose" Givens - the core of the 1978 Championship team. In big time Kentucky fan's minds (keep in mind I was a middle-school student in Louisville at this time and more of a Cardinal fan) this team should have absolutely killed that UCLA team, which was quite depleted compared to the 1967-73 run. Hall would have been run out of Lexington on a rail if he hadn't won the 1978 Championship with that group of players. The final straw was the fan reaction to their 1984 Final Four performance against Georgetown. Frankly I was surprised he came back for a final season before moving on.

2. Yes, we need to bring it up. Without going into the parallels with Gillespie in the alcohol deptartment, the Sutton era shows the underbelly of the program - remember, Kentucky actually went through a Death Penalty for the 1952-53 season (they were told they could only play road games and Rupp cancelled the season due to point-shaving). Someone has to be strong enough to stand up to this (granted it was pretty systemic by the Sutton era due to AD Cliff Hagen's connections back to his playing days under Rupp). And that was considering basketball was a sacred cow; take a look at the trouble of the football program in the 1970s and again in the early 2000s.

3. Both Smith and Pitino are getting nailed for poor recruiting of local talant. Smith got Rajon Rondo when Pitino dropped him to recruit Telifar, who was going to jump to the pros anyway. Telifar led everyone on and screwed with quite a few recruiting classes at several schools. The real gripe is with players like Lofton go to rival schools like Tennessee and prove to be top players. However, as I said both Smith and Pitino are getting nailed for poor in-state recruiting.

4. They still lost - and after this year this is the longest stretch in the program's history without a Final Four appearance.

5. Past glory was earned at Kentucky and Kansas; the really fanatical fans carry that entitlement mentality. Those of us who are also fans of the game realize that times change. The fact remains that as well as Tubby Smith coached and what he achieved, after the 1998 Championship with players left over from Pitino's final run, it appeard that his recruiting dropped off. He didn't play an exciting style of ball that the fans would like and would attract the top recruits. And most importantly, those players who stayed and fit his system didn't appear to be buying in to it - at least until fairly late in the season when it was almost too late. If you look at the other successful programs, those players buy into the coach's system whole-heartedly. They live it, breath it, and preach it to the next class of players. Look back in history to the Wooden UCLA teams - every one of those players, regardless of how they butted heads with the old man, still believe everything he taught them. Most of Mike Krzyzewski's players would crawl through glass for him. You mentioned the 1992 Kentucky team - I don't understand why Laetner didn't get tossed; if he had thrown a punch, he would have been; why didn't stomping on a player qualify. However, the fact remains that Duke had one more play in them, and they converted. But the Kentucky 1992 team is special because they had the core of players who nobody wanted and had to ride out the probation - these were players who fully bought in to Rick Pitino's system, lived it and breathed it. Personally, I don't think that Mashburn fouling out in 1993 was due to anything other than Michigan coach Steve Fisher's game plan to get him in foul trouble working to perfection. Of course, Fisher evidently couldn't communicate the number of time outs (times out?) remaining to Chris Webber, but that is another story.

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Point 2 - Ashley Judd is nice, but the head basketball coach in Kentucky is the most powerful man in the state. Bar none.

I don't disagree with that statement. It also makes me happy that I moved out of Kentucky. Boy were priorities off in that state.

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Point 2 - Ashley Judd is nice, but the head basketball coach in Kentucky is the most powerful man in the state. Bar none.

I don't disagree with that statement. It also makes me happy that I moved out of Kentucky. Boy were priorities off in that state.

That's SEC country in a nutshell. The odd thing is it's usually the head football coach that's Mr. Powerful. Kentucky's the anomaly.

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