Sunday, March 08, 2009

Don't Fire Billy Gillispie

(I don't think there's any danger of Gillispie being fired, I just wanted to make that title to attract hits via Google. Welcome!).
Photo by David Stephenson

Two years ago I wrote a post about my optimism over the hire of Gillispie and some hope in the face of the challenges he inherited-- namely second-rate players. That post is now getting a lot of hits and some angry comments.

He has succeeded in some areas--working his players harder than his predecessor and recruiting well. He has perhaps failed in other areas-- he found it impossible to develop Jared Carter, AJ Stewart, and some others. He offended people with his angry comments to Jeannine Edwards. And he finished 8-8 in a weak SEC this year.

But he deserves one more season. Why?

1. Half the players he inherited were not recruited by major schools and shouldn't be playing in a Big 6 conference. Jared Carter, Morakino Williams, AJ Stewart, and Michael Porter. So he's no Rick Pitino, who could turn Fat Albert into a first round draft pick. As Coach G rounds out his roster they'll be better.

And remember-- Joe Crawford credited Billy Gillispie with "everything," last season after Crawford got signed to play NBA ball. Not the other coach who recruited him and coached him for 3 tumultuous years. So, BCG can mold willing talent.

2. He has no senior leadership this season. That's what seperates this year from last and why next year will be so much better.

3. He got Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller to come to UK. Remember how that energized the fan base? That alone earns him some slack, especially seeing as how they're still young and developing.

4. "It's the economy, stupid." If we weren't going through a massive recession people wouldn't expect as much joy from UK basketball. As it is, people are going through hard times and take it out on the basketball team. Such is Kentucky, parts of which are a third world country even in the best of times. Don't take out your economic frustration on Billy Clyde.

5. What do the data say? Scroll through the past 5 seasons' scouting reports at You'll see our TO% this season is horrendous, but in other areas we are better than Tubby-coached teams. Believe it or not, we still have the #24 defense in the country in terms of efficiency and one of the best inside games of any Kentucky team in recent history.

6. Wait until we have a point guard. Assuming DeAndre Liggins doesn't transfer (which would be a major blow to my argument) we have a host of good guards coming in soon. That's what this team has lacked, a floor leader. Michael Porter should never have worn a Kentucky uniform, plain and simple.

Just felt like I needed to write this one. I know his flaws and the criticisms of John Clay and others. But if you think someone better is out there just waiting for the job, you're deceiving yourself. It'd be a bad mistake to call for Coach G's head now.


Keith Walters said...

I love you but I have to isagree. Gillispie should have never been hired. Terrible coach. I didn't particularly care for Tubby either. I can only hope that if they get a new coach he will full court press 24/7, play fast, and have them shoot a lot of 3s. And hopefully be able to make foul shots.

Jared said...

Some thoughts for you from an Aggie fan on BCG's struggles:

1) The Big 12 isn't an impressive basketball conference as compared to others. It's not hard to string together a few good wins... especially when going 9-7 in conference makes you a God. Take away KU and the Big 12 has little.

2) Acie-mother-freaking-Law made that team. I'm an Aggie fan. So, the pain of our former football coach fooling us into thinking he was a solid hire is still fresh in our collective mind. People assumed he was an amazing coach, because of LaDanian Tomlinson at TCU. Without him, that team would have been awful and people would have seen Fran for the coach that he was.

3. A&M's players were bad. UK's players are not. A&M had a culture of losing. UK expects to win. A&M's players were not highly recruited and UK's players are so-called prima donnas. All this means that they are NOT going to respond well to BCG's in your face, curse you out, ridicule you at press conferences, off-season bootcamp style of coaching.

I say all this to say that while Billy Clyde created A&M basketball and I am forever grateful for that, I don't think he will ever succeed at Kentucky. I say that with no ill will, too. I am not one of the Aggie fans that hates him for leaving. He was 100% justified. I mean, I worked in consulting. If Mckinnsey and Co. or Boston Consulting Group (BCG... coincidence) offered me a job, no one at my office would have been surprised if I accepted.

Anyway, I've told some people around my office about your Tobit model, and we want the update soon!

Todd said...

This is a stupid argument. Jared Carter was recruited by Duke and North Carolina. I think they can be considered major. Joe Crawford sucks. Tubby got Pat to come here and Darius Miller would have come if YOU were the coach. Almost all Kentucky kids dream of playing here. Kentucky basketball has always been highly scrutinized, not just in a bad economy. Do you even live here? You praise Liggins and then say "wait til we get a point guard." Which is it? Does he suck or not? Billy G is a horrible coach. Plain and simple. I'm tired of losing.

JDTapp said...

1. Carter was not heavily recruited by Duke and UNC, that was a myth. Yes, they sent letters and watched him play, but they did not go after him heavily. Mainly because, as his HS coach said in the paper before senior night, "I told everyone he would need at least 2 years before he could even contribute at that level."

2. Darius Miller wasn't a done deal. He'd have gone to UT or Louisville if I were the coach.

3. Very few PGs are good as freshmen. Wayne Turner and Cliff Hawkins were terrible as freshmen, so no, we don't have a PG with Liggins as a freshman. I'm saying wait until he matures.

As Gillispie said on ESPN, Kentucky fans all have valid criticisms but none of them have any real information.