I don’t know Matt Jones very well, but I do know there is very few things that would pull him away from the News and Views. One of those things is anytime Nathan Fillion is on television. With Castle debuting next week, Matt is scrambling to bring his FillionFans.tv site up-to-speed. News and Views was thus deligated to Beisner, who sent me an urgent text message that his “internet” was “out” (which is code that his “significant other” is “pissed”, I’m sure). Thus, you are stuck with me, The Fake Gimel Martinez. I’ll try not to link any lame musicals or anything else offensive.
As previously announced by our Fearless Leader, we will be having a day-long tribute to lone Kentucky Senior Jared Carter! All of us at KentuckySportsRadio dot com appreciate the dedication Jared has made to our program. Who knows if Jared could have contributed to this program if it wasn’t for his multiple injuries. Folks tend to forget that Jared was ranked the #7 center in the 2005 class by Scout (4-star ranking) and the #9 center by Rivals (3-star ranking).
As with the popular Tennessee Hate Day, we have a schedule for our all-star tribute extravaganza:
Beiser – 9 AM
Bryan The Intern – 10 AM
Evan – 11 AM
Bobby Perry – 12 PM
Tomlin – 1 PM
Mosley – 2 PM
Intern – 3 PM
Rob – 4 PM
Hunter – 5 PM
Fake Gimel – 6 PM
On to the news:
* When you lose 10 or more games at Kentucky, you tend to get a lot of criticism. Big Blue Moaning haven’t been at these levels since February 2007. And when the moaning gets this loud, you can expect the heavier folks weighing in. Start with the venerable Larry Vaught who says there are several players considering to transfer (without naming names). Larry also says that Gillispie should take much more of the blame for the team’s lack of execution and for not playing “smart”.
Gillispie has taken the blame for the disappointing performances thus far. Nearly after every loss you hear “that’s my fault” not too far after Gillispie says, “we got whipped.” But Gillispie doesn’t seem to focus on saying that he’s sorry more than once or twice. In fact, he doesn’t like repeating himself much at all.
With all due respect to the coach, its clear that he has difficulty finding a working relationship with the news media. Let’s not even get into the whole “let me tell you how to ask your questions” assbackward comments which make the Coach look bad. I don’t believe Coach Gillispie was a fantastic interview back in his Texas A&M days (from what little I remember seeing on ESPNU). Gillispie seems to dislike answering similar questions. He doesn’t realize that sometimes the news media needs him to repeat himself and rephrase his answers so that his quotes work better in their stories. They also need him to confidently answer their questions instead of deflecting. I know Billy is smart enough to know that what he says and how he says it will get picked apart by the media; I wonder if this is an issue of trust between Billy and our local/national media or an issue of Billy getting flustered when interviewed.
One thing is for sure: Calling out or challenging players in the media is as old as sports reporting itself. Rick Pitino had no qualms talking about how disappointing he was in somebody’s play during his tenure at UK. Coach Pitino still bakes his players in the fires of the media, on his website, or to whoever might be broadcasting him at the time. There’s a possibility that Billy is trying the same thing with Perry Stevenson and other members of the team. In this case, Billy is executing the technique poorly. Billy should be pious and holier-than-thou, like Pitino making his grand statements about Derrick Caracter. Maybe Billy should say he’s getting whipped by the sportswriters and the Internets. Would that make everybody feel better?
* Also on the Bash Billy train today: Former Wildcat Mike Casey. In an interview with A Sea of Blue, Mr. Casey was asked what he thought about Gillispie’s tenure thus far:
“First of all, I think he’s in over his head. I think he has no clue as to what’s going on in the game.”
“I just don’t think he knows what it means to coach at UK. I hate to say it, but a change has to be made, and soon, or we’re going to lose what UK is all about. Ask (Richie) Farmer, or (John) Pelphrey, or (Deron) Feldhaus what it means to play at Kentucky. Ask them what that “Kentucky” across their chests means. Somehow we’ve let that go. If we lost we came out fightin’ mad; we weren’t going to lose two in a row. It’s beyond me why (Mitch) Barnhart and (Lee) Todd put up with it.”
I honestly don’t believe that the basketball program will EVER lose what its about. There are too many people who care too deeply about Kentucky basketball. They care deep enough this year — amidst our our troubles — to crowd into Rupp Arena on Saturday for the 4th largest crowd in Rupp history. They will still care (and whine about the coaching, and bitch about the refs) next year. I don’t see Kentucky fans ever defecting.
I also don’t see UK Athletics giving Kentucky fans a reason to defect. The men’s basketball program is the crown jewel of the University. Football may make a lot of money but basketball will always be first priority. Licensing revenue would surely drop considerably if the basketball program was considered second-class. The interest of Kentuckians who never attend the school would also die. If the Kentucky basketball program can survive Eddie Sutton, it can survive anything.
Furthermore I don’t necessarily agree that Coach Gillispie has no idea what is going on in the game. (Presuming Mr. Casey is talking about Billy’s coaching during the game.) Its clear that Billy is a “setup and execute” type of coach much like Bill Self. Anybody who’s been watching Kentucky play this season sees the offensive plays and the defensive schemes. They also see the constant lack of execution and mistakes of inexperience.
Of course, Billy can’t win either way with the Wildcat faithful. Not playing Liggins, Miller and Galloway dredge up the “but they can’t play through their mistakes!” crowd. Leaving Stevenson in during the second half and letting him play through his mistakes was a coaching error to the same fans.
The real question of Billy’s ability: Can he find a way to win? Most coaches are smart enough to adjust. Bill Self has done it this year by not comparing the level of execution on his current squad to last year’s NCAA Champions. Billy did it last year, when he let Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley be Joe and Ramel in the offense. Is it too late adjust this year, or is no adjustment necessary?
* Basketball is a game of streaks. Look no further than last year, when the Georgia Bulldogs used a tornado to whip up an impressive 4-game run to win the SEC Tournament. Anything can happen in college basketball, even when the dynasty of Kentucky basketball is currently defended by many inexperienced players and coaches.
While the team seems to be on the brink of disappointment there is still time left for a miracle run. It starts on Senior Day against those same doggone Bulldogs. The key to the run has to be Kevin Galloway and/or DeAndre Liggins. I don’t expect either player to suddenly become Rajon Rondo. But these two players are the only ones with the talent to successfully play point/lead guard. With either in the game, our offense has more fluidity and it will take some pressure off of Meeks and Patterson.
The men say we will not live out the night. They say it is hopeless.
There is always hope.