Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

March 11, 2009

Chat Tomorrow, PLUS Jerks Can Win, Too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 9:46 am

Join me tomorrow at noon Eastern for the live chat thing. Click here tomorrow to go live or do it now and submit your question in advance. All topics welcomed! Keep me on my toes and make up a player from the dim recesses of the past. (“Hey, John, I know you think DeJuan Blair‘s great and all, but how do you think his numbers would compare with what Marcello Alston posted for LaSalle in the late 80s? That dude was sick.”) 

And because I believe no Unfiltered post should be limited to a shameless plug for a chat, please accept an unsolicited recommendation for your reading pleasure:

Go read Dana O’Neil’s piece at ESPN.com on the seismic misery that currently prevails at Kentucky. It’s an outstanding piece of work based on four days spent with the program. O’Neil’s journalistic good fortune was the Wildcats’ agony: UK lost at home to Georgia on her watch and she documents every excruciating moment, right down to the snide comments from Rupp Arena security staff.

Billy Gillispie is, of course, front and center in O’Neil’s piece: “He is perceived as prickly, aloof and guarded, a lunch pail of bad personality traits in the fishbowl that is Kentucky basketball.” 

I have had no dealings with the man, myself. For all I know he could be warm, gracious, and unguarded–a regular Elwood P. Dowd, albeit a misunderstood one, plainly. But it’s important to underline a point O’Neil makes about Gillispie’s alleged opportunities for improvement in the interpersonal skills department: “None of that would matter if the Cats were 24-7.”

Precisely. Gillispie’s not in hot water because he was rude to ESPN’s Jeanine Edwards, per se. (Though it’s interesting to note that former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, for one, was rather abrupt with sideline reporters at the start of a couple halftimes. Carr, however, was an older coach with a reputation for unimpeachable old-school integrity. When he was short with a sideline reporter it came across as curmudgeonly. Gillispie is a younger coach with a reputation for working all the recruting angles–indeed, that reputation is precisely why he was brought to Kentucky to replace the more courtly and proper Tubby Smith. When Gillispie is short with a sideline reporter it comes across as boorish and arrogant.) 

No, Gillispie’s in hot water because short of an SEC tournament title, his team’s not going to make the NCAA tournament. Somehow I have the feeling that if his Cats could just cut down on the turnovers, no one would fret too much about whether their coach is cuddly or not.

BONUS applause for the conventional wisdom! The other day I wondered aloud why Ty Lawson‘s spectacular year hasn’t garnered more attention. Maybe that year’s been earning more notice than I realized. Yesterday Lawson was named ACC POY. Laudably attentive and perspicacious voters of the ACC, I salute you!

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