So I guess all you guys already heard the big news. That’s right, Ron Artest pled not guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence charges. In other news, Orlando “Tubby” Smith dissed the Cats and packed his bags for the beautiful beaches of Minnesota. I’ll pretend like I’m not astounded by this development, but let’s be honest, nobody saw this coming. But there are some reasons that this makes sense. First, Tubby is made for Big Ten basketball. If there was a way to score basketball by defense and rebounding, Tubby would be much happier with his profession. Second, a lot of people are asking why he didn’t go to Michigan. Bear in mind that Michigan was only paying Amaker $175K a year, which is about what Minnesota will be paying Tubby next month. I think the lower expectations benefit Tubby, and he’ll be happier to do things his way instead of worrying about an omniscient fan base that is all too eager to offer its insight. Third, I think Tubby is a man of great pride that wanted to go out his way. He didn’t want to wait for a jack-ass AD to show him the door. I respect Tubby and I wish him well.
I think this change was necessary. Don’t listen to the talking heads saying that UK fans are a bunch of ingrates. There is a different standard at UK than there is at almost every other school (Duke, UNC, UCLA, Kansas, and Indiana are the others). Dick Vitale still doesn’t get it. He finally compared UK to the Yankees, and then made an apologist’s argument about how Joe Torre does an outstanding job. Nobody cares. It’s a different standard, and Tubby knew that coming in, and you can be damn sure the next coach will understand the situation. Tubby is going to do great for Minnesota, but I’ll guarantee you that no UK fan would accept whatever success the Gophers have during the next five years as adequate for UK. The excitement and prestige has slowly trickled away from the program and both sides needed a change. Bear in mind UK is going to be able to get pretty much any coach they want. I don’t think UK needs to make a big splash with a coach that has national recognition. When you become the coach at UK you are immediately one of the biggest names in coaching, so whoever they get IS the big name in coaching.
I’ve stated my case before, the guy is John Pelphrey. It sounds like people are already saying that he is a great candidate, but he’s a little too green. Ten years ago, that was the same reasoning that UK didn’t hire Billy Donovan. Let’s not let history repeat itself. I’m going to go ahead and tell you my dream situation. Get Pitino to make an illustrious return, amongst much pomp and circumstance, and bring in Pelphrey as an Associate Head Coach. Pitino can agree to do a three-year contract and then ride off into the sunset on a white horse and leave a loaded program to my boy John P. The radio hosts in Louisville are already saying that Pitino would probably leave UofL and go to UK if Louisville AD, Tom Jurich allowed UK to communicate with Pitino. Word is that Jurich would not allow that. Please send me your silly recommendations and I will explain to you why you are right or wrong. If you don’t take advantage of my knowledge on this subject you are only cheating yourselves. By the way, who is most excited about this situation? The answer my friends is a certain Mr. Tony LaRussa. He’s laughing it up over a dry martini right now. Stay off the roads, faithful readers, Tony is on the prowl.
Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio probably had the best quote about Tubby leaving when he said, "The Tubby supporters out there are the same people that put on seven pounds and instead of working out, they buy bigger pants."
Sam Bowie came in a close second when he expressed concern that Tubby was forced out and the lip service offered by the administration may be "People talking out of both sides of their necks." I don't think Sam should be alone in his trepidiation if Mitch Barnhart and Lee Todd do
actually have mouths on the sides of their necks.
Pat Forde wrote the most accurate piece
about Tubby leaving...ironic, considering he's the only national media guy who lives in Kentucky and actually had UK Basketball as his beat.
For the flip side, check out William Reed's article
. It makes some valid points, but it loses credibility with a nice little no-reason Kentucky-is-a-racist-rant in the middle.