Sunday, February 18, 2007

Back to the Woodshed, Tubby

Dear Tubby,

I’m not finished with you yet, my friend. I know I just vented my frustrations a week ago, but after UK out-underachieved Alabama, more input is needed. What I would really like is to spar with you a la Richard Gere and Louis Gossett Jr. in Officer and a Gentleman. Finish the deal once and for all. Until then, I’ll just post meaningless blog entries that you will never read.

I’ve mentioned my disdain for Tubby’s failure to properly utilize his talent, but let’s walk through this slowly. Kentucky’s top five players are probably Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley, Derrick Jasper, and Jodie Meeks. That’s four guards and a center. What style of play would be best suited for this personnel? You probably want to get them out in the open court and really extend your defense to take advantage of quicker players that can cover a lot of ground. I know the fans always want to see their team running and gunning, but most teams simply don’t have the personnel for that to be plausible. This team has the horses, but they’re not using them. The Cats walk the ball up the court and set up the most painfully stagnant half-court offense in the history of the universe. Tubby is trying to feed me gorgonzola but it’s clearly brie time, baby. While I’m bashing the Alabama game plan, I have to give Perry Stevenson an obligatory shout out. The Cats have shown a propensity for giving up baseline leading to easy lay ups. Stevenson does a few things that make me wonder why he doesn’t play more. First, he is the only guy on the team that looks like a power forward. Second, he’s the only guy on the team with the size and mobility to play post defense to take away penetration when a perimeter defender’s man gets by him. Third, he continuously produces more per minute than Bobby Perry and Sheray Thomas. Against Alabama, Sheray and Bobby combined for two points and one rebound in thirty minutes of action, while Stevenson had two points and three rebounds in nine minutes. UK also went on that 8-0 run to get back within three points while Stevenson was in the game. Then Tubby promptly removed him and the game started to slip away. Seriously, Tubby’s two senior power forwards combined for two points and one rebound in thirty minutes. Why do they keep getting to play so much? Do they have naked pictures of Tubby and John Amaechi? Is Saul Smith bound and gagged in their dorm room? I don’t understand.

I know, I know, I’m just one of those crazy UK fans that freaks out whenever the Cats lose a game. Well maybe I am crazy….crazy like a fox! You want some history? I’ll throw the damn book at you, let’s take a look at the rundown:

Aside from the probationary times of 1989 to 1990, when UK lost a combined 33 games in two seasons, the most combined losses in consecutive seasons for UK basketball was 21 games in 73 and 74. Tubby’s Cats already met that mark this year, and considering he still has to take the Cats to Gainesville, compete in the SEC tournament, and the NCAA tournament (I’m assuming), he’s going to set the new precedent for non-probationary futility.

Ten loss seasons by coach:

Adolph Rupp: two ten loss seasons in 87 years as UK’s head coach

Joe B. Hall: four ten loss seasons in fourteen years

Eddie Sutton: two ten loss seasons in four years

Rick Pitino: one ten loss season in eight years

Tubby Smith: five ten loss seasons (counting this season) in ten years

It’s a good thing Tubby has been blessed with UofL’s recent futility, or else people would really be dogging him. Of course UofL beat more ranked teams last week than UK has defeated in the last two seasons. You want that again? Louisville beat Pitt and Marquette last week, and in the last two seasons UK has one total win against the top 25. That’s not going to help things out for Orlando.

UK’s current record against the RPI top 50 this season is 3-8.

Looks like this Junior Class is not living up to it’s billing as the number one recruiting class in the country. Remember the last time UK landed the top recruiting class? That’s right, 1993. Those guys compiled 14 NCAA tournament victories (19 if you count Prickett’s redshirt senior season) and two Final Fours (three counting Prickett). So how does the present class stack up? Four NCAA tournament wins…AND COUNTING!! I figure they’ve got a solid three wins left in them for the next two seasons, so they might be able to get half as many NCAA tournament wins as our last number one recruiting class. I know that’s a tough comparison for Randolph and friends to live up to, but that’s what Kentucky basketball is supposed to be.

So I’ve already lobbied for John Pelphrey to become the next UK coach, and I think UK should also look at Tom Crean and Billy Donovan. But I know UK’s AD, Mitch Barnhart, is a Pacific Coast type of fella. I’m thinking he might want to go with Ernie Kent, Mark Few, or Tony Bennett. What do you guys think? I want answers damn it. My address hasn’t changed, so you can still send all fan mail to

Runs With Two Horses c/o Awesome USA!
Clock Tower, Apt. 1
Cynical Valley, USA 49023


Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

Here's what I think:
1) It's always brie time, baby!
2) You've got to count Prickett.
3) In response to your "who should be UK's next coach" question, I'm going to pretend that I'm a UK fan. Otherwise, I would suggest Tommy Amaker. OK, first of all I don't think Donovan is coming. He's got something pretty special in Gainesville, and I'm talking beyond this season. Next, it would absolutely crush me if Tom Crean came to UK. I love Tom Crean more than many people I actually know and interact with on a pretty regular basis. I think he'd be great just about anywhere. That being said, I hear he might be reuniting with D-Wade in Miami after Pat Riley finishes rotting from the inside-out. So, let's say Tom Crean isn't happening. Mark Few is an excellent coach at Gonzaga. I think his personality and his style of play fit the mid-major circuit, but I just don't see it translating to the big stage. I can't envision a blue chip recruit deciding to play for dry, boring Mark Few over crazy, unstable Tom Izzo or trashy, smooth-talking John Calipari. However, I must say that I really like Mark Few, and I'd love to play for him. I think Ernie Kent is a horrible coach. In fact, at one point, I was planning on writing a post about how Aaron Brooks has single-handedly saved his job in Eugene. I think his teams consistently underachieve, and his players don't seem to get along. That brings us to John Pelphrey. I believe in your basketball instincts, Runs with Two Horses. I really do. But, as a rule, I'm not a fan of the incestual hiring practices found throughout the college basketball world. I think it complicates things, and it's hard to objectively evaluate someone when you have other memories clouding your judgment. Thank goodness the Hoosiers didn't hire Steve Alford as their coach. He would have been there forever. Same with Pelphrey. I'm not saying he wouldn't be good. I'm not saying he wouldn't be great. I'm just saying it complicates things, and why complicate things if you don't have to? As much as I think UK should stick it out with Tubby (I really do think he is a very good coach), I realize that you all will never be happy with Orlando. So, if you have to hire a new coach, I can't think of anyone better than Tony Bennett. What he has done at Washington State is nothing short of incredible. The Cougars were picked to finish last in the Pac-10, which is arguably the best conference in the land. Instead, they're kicking ass and taking names. In fact, what they're doing on the West Coast is akin to the description you provided in your last Tubby post concerning how UK teams should play. He's personable, young, and not nearly as annoying as Billy Donovan. Plus, his dad was one hell of a coach.

February 19, 2007 at 2:01 AM  
Blogger Thelonius Monk said...

I do not feel Tubby will be fired after this season, I just don't see any way UK will do that. I want to see what happens with Patrick Patterson, Jai Lucas, and Stephon Pettigrew. Patrick and Jai want to play together. Kentucky is the only school they both are strongly considering. If Tubby can't pull this off, we are in a serious state of crisis and Tubby should be sent on his way. The ironic part is that these guys are waiting to see Tubby's job security at the end of the season. Neither want to commit and then have to transfer due to a coaching change or play for another coach. The best thing we can do now is have Barnhart come out and publicly declare that Tubby is and will be the coach of Kentucky at least for the remainder of his contract. If he can pull these recruits I will give him another two years to get something done. But if we are only able to pull in AJ Stewart and a large Brit who's been kicked off his highschool team we need to stage a coup.

February 19, 2007 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Runs With One Horse said...

Maybe you can get Pitino back. Nah, probably not.

February 19, 2007 at 4:29 PM  

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