Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daily SAll-Star: Billy Gillispie

Has anyone seen Kentucky basketball? New coach Billy Gillispie has driven one of the proudest programs in college basketball history into the ground in only 22 games.

In a season marked by home losses to Gardner-Webb, UAB, and San Diego, the Wildcats' most embarrassing defeat came last night, again at historic Rupp Arena, to the #19 Vanderbilt Commodores, 93-52.

Kentucky managed a whopping 11 points in the entire first half and responded by giving up another 52 in the second.

Since this is Gillispie's first year, he is coaching a team entirely made of Tubby Smith's recruits, which is both a reasonable excuse and a scathing indictment of his team's terribleness. On one hand, he operates a different system than Smith did and does not have access to the combo guards like Acie Law that he used at UTEP and Texas A&M. Smith built his program using players specifically tailored to each position. So, for at least two more years, Gillispie will likely have a starting point guard who can't shoot to save his life.

But on the other hand, Smith was a damn good recruiter and handed Gillispie a roster that has no business farting out 11 points in a half, no matter who's on the sideline.

If this season is any indication of things to come, Gillispie may be in way over his head. He had a losing record at UTEP before taking over a mediocre A&M program that didn't get a whole hell of a lot better under his reign in what I think is a pretty soft basketball conference. Kentucky is an elite coaching position; why give the job to a guy with mild success at midcard programs? I still can't believe they didn't even give Pitino a call.