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Gillispie, Brooks only share blame




Last weekend was long and terribly disappointing for University of Kentucky sports fans. You can say I’m not supposed to have a biased opinion as a member of the media, but I’m a fan too. Whether my colleagues want to admit it or not, we get enjoyment and disappointment from games just like the fans do.

NCAA Division 1 college football and basketball coaches make an enormous amount of money for their trade. But many times it’s for only a very short period of time.

How long big-time college coaches can live their lavish lifestyles often lies directly in the hands of their players. Often, many of those players — teenagers and young adults — don’t pay attention to detail. No matter how long or how many times coaches explain their strategies and game plans to the players, those players fail to take the information from practice to the game. Such was the case last Friday UK’s embarrassing loss to VMI in the team’s opening basketball game at Rupp Arena. When players fail to do what they are taught, coaches have to stand up in front of the media and their fans and take a sword for the team.

I know Billy Gillispie knows how to teach a press offense in practice — and has, according to my inside sources. And I know Gillispie knows how to correct in-game mistakes and realign players during time-outs to correct those mistakes. But if you were at Rupp Arena or watched it on TV you would have thought his team never had a clue as to what they were doing against VMI.

Billy Gillispie’s last Texas A&M team beat a good Louisville team coached by Rick Pitino just 18 months ago in Rupp Arena in the second round of March Madness. That’s the same Pitino who is considered in all college coaching circles to be the guru of pressure defense.

Current UK point guard Michael Porter isn’t even a whisker of the point guard Gillispie had at A&M in A.C. Law. Hopefully in time DeAndre Liggins will become effective at the point and Kevin Galloway will have worked his way onto the court for 10 to 15 minutes of quality minutes a game.

I’ve said many times in the past that all folks who follow the sporting world but have never coached should have to place their fortunes in their chosen vocation in the hands of young men between the ages of 17 and 21 for just one year and then look me in the eye and say, “I just don’t understand why they don’t” do this or that.

So, now that the Virginia Military Institute Keydets and Vanderbilt Commodores basketball and football teams have made their seasons by marching through Lexington similar to the way General Sherman and his troops marched through Atlanta, maybe Billy Gillispie and Rich Brooks will get their troops’ attention span back and can save their seasons.

Both still hang firmly in the mysterious but salvageable category. But if either ship is to be righted the players need to be more energized at tip-off and kickoff. The head coach shouldn’t have to take on all the responsibility for ineptness on game day.


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