Kicking someone when they are down is usually looked upon with poor taste except when it comes to sports and sports fans. With UK Basketball getting off to an inauspicious 4-4 start, a beginning that includes a current three-game losing streak, a lot of folks are getting in line to take pot shots at new coach Billy Gillispie and the program as a whole.
As Truzenzuzex pointed out at A Sea of Blue, even Florida basketball fans are getting in on the act. Discussing UK freshman Patrick Patterson–who picked UK over Florida and Duke–”GatorPilot” offers these sour grapes:
The problem is that Patterson plays for a team which isn’t even close to his level. Kentucky is a train wreck under Billy Gillispie in his first year as head coach. Since I cover SEC hoops for FanHouse I’m required to give Kentucky objective consideration, and generally I feel I’ve done a pretty good job of that.
My assessment? Not revolutionary: the ‘Cats suck. They’re off to a 4-4 start. It’s important that Kentucky is given credit for scheduling teams like North Carolina and Indiana; had Florida played those two teams, I see at least a 1-1 split (loss to UNC and win against IU) but either way, the ‘Cats faced the music while the toughest team UF has played in the pre-season is FSU. Problem is, in addition to losing to two clearly superior teams, they were blown out by Gardner-Webb at Rupp and just lost to Mike Davis’ UAB Blazers at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
Yes, this season’s UK basketball team has suffered through some embarrassing losses, while suffering key injuries to players who were expected to be in the starting five. I’d like to see any team function successfully without two of their better players, especially a college basketball team.
With a full squad, UK has just enough complimentary and primary talent to be a Top 30-40 team, much like the current make-up of Gators, who sit at 10-1 after feasting on a schedule full of cupcakes, something Deadspin forgot to point out. The one decent team Billy Donovan’s team has played–Florida State–resulted in them getting beat.
In the process of trying to paint Kentucky in such a poor light, Pilot decides to do so while extolling the virtues of the Florida head-coach, saying all kinds of grand things about the coach with the Eddie Munster hairline; except, of course, Donovan’s handling of the Orlando Magic situation.
Truzenzuzex’s defense continues when he calls out Billy Reed for his Perez Hilton-like post about the rumors of Gillispie’s Lexington nightlife and Tru should be applauded for doing so. Whether Reed has confirmed these rumors or not isn’t the point.
Posting stuff like, “I’ve heard a bunch of them, and my sources are people whom I trust and believe…” isn’t doing anyone any good. Either show and prove or just keep quiet. Even the sports bloggers of the world seem to understand this.
Proof is in the pudding. No one cares about what you believe.
As for defending Coach Gillispie, there’s not much that can be said right now. UK just needs to get everyone healthy and win some games. If either of these two things happen, the voices will quiet themselves. Gillispie has done a lot of work on the recruiting front and only with a full roster can you expect this to pay dividends. As he continues to sign players in the mold of Patterson, Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins, UK will not stay down for long.
Maybe that’s what concerns them.
Update (10:25pm CST):
Yes, UK got whipped tonight by Houston by the score of 83-69 … but like Lavin just said, UK’s season so far is just like Murphy’s Law. We get Meeks back and he plays pretty well, but guess what, PATRICK PATTERSON IS OUT BECAUSE OF A BUM ANKLE. Needless to say, UK was out-rebounded by a pretty wide margin and Houston proceeded to score over 20 second chance points – IN THE FIRST HALF.
I just listened to Scott Van Pelt remind UK fans they got what they asked for when they said they didn’t want Tubby Smith as a coach any more and boy, I really don’t know if I have an answer yet. Four straight losses for the first time since 1989-90 doesn’t look good on any resume, especially one that works at UK.
As it stands, I’m willing to give the coach they call BCG (Billy Clyde Gillispie), an opportunity to field a team with a full roster before I throw him under the bus – something he hasn’t yet had the luxury of experiencing.
Not much choice, really.