Tuesday, February 24, 2009

02.24.2009

When BCG wins it will be his way!!!


This is my view from the cheap seats…

BCG has decided that you either win my way or you lose my way and that he has only one way and that is straight man to man defense… I am really not sure if that coaching style is going to work at UK, much less anywhere, and I am not really sure that he is going to get more than one more year to prove it if that is the case and this team does not make it back to national prominence (I believe he will)… To me a coach has a certain style but can adapt that style to certain situations… That is what the great ones do!!!

I for one hope he is at UK and successful for at least two to three more years so John Pelphrey can get the house in order at Arkansas and make himself the obvious replacement for BCG if BCG fails (Just to be clear I hope BCG does not fail)… For you Travis Ford people out there I am sorry but Travis, like I think BCG does, thinks he is bigger then the job and bigger then UK Basketball where John Pelphrey knows he is not (he really gets it) and that is the main reason I want him to be the next UK coach period…

Okay… I know what you thinking here he goes again, piling on another coach like he did old Brooksy… You know I am the first to admit that I was wrong about old Brooksy in that he could build a team and lay the foundation for a winning program (I never saw a 60 plus year old man who had not coached for a while being able to relate and recruit the type of kids to do what he has done to this point)… I believe he has done that very well and with an overall record of 23 and 16 the last three years and 28 and 25 when you add back in his first year (throw the probation years out)… I have never questioned the integrity or media savvy of old Brooksy (I am questioning BCG’s) and while he was under fire he handled himself very well… In other words I was not embarrassed by any of his actions as the lead man for UK Football in the eye of the public…

Although I am happy with old Brooksy I remind you that in those four years he is 2 and 19 against Bama, Auburn, UT, UF, Georgia, LSU and USC… In most of these games (except a debacle at Auburn and a debacle at Florida) UK has been competitive and I am very much satisfied that UK will continue to be competitive and I hope sneak up and win 9 or 10 games on occasion… That is and would be great for Football at UK!!! This type of performance is not going to cut it for basketball…

This type of performance (even though it was a short run) is why the fan base had had enough with Tubby (I am not a Tubby hater but I think it was time for him to move on also and has proven a great move for him and I am very happy for him)… Enter BCG…

I do not want to sound like a Louisville football fan but I think his performance and the teams performance to this point in the season has not been to my expectations (I expected more) and if he does not coach his way into the NCAA tournament (looks like he will but the next two games will decide that) and ends up in the NIT his rope may have shortened to three years instead of four (I hope that does not happen and want him to get four years or even five)…

F Rick Pitino but when you look at a guy that came into a complete rebuilding job, went 14 and 14 in his first year, had the best record in the SEC his second year, had the team on the brink of the final four in year three and then in the final four in year five do you feel that BCG is even close to doing that any time soon??? Personally I do not because BCG has one way and his attitude is you win my way or you do not win… BCG did NOT walk into a complete rebuilding job…

The loss at Vandy (a game I did not expect UK to win and how messed up is it for me to make that statement because for a long time I expected Kentucky to win every time they played) is a classic example of his coaching style… UK is down a man (Pat P) and is forced into using a small line up… A line up that would be great for a zone defense against a much taller Vandy team… Imagine Meeks and Galloway up front with Stevenson in the middle and Harris or, Miller, Liggins (any of these two) on the back line… How about the old Tubby one, two, two zone with Liggins or Miller on the point, Meeks and Galloway up next with Stevenson and Harris or Liggins on the back line… Throw AJ in the mix also… Now that would be adapting and a defense that would work much better then the BS man to man BCG tried to play against a taller Vandy team…

Why did UK get beat at Vandy??? Well you can say all you want about the funky Gym but UK won ten straight years there from 1993 to 2003 so I am not buying that one… The goals are ten feet high, the three point line is the same length as it is anywhere, the court is 94 feet long and the free throw line is 15 feet… So who cares where the coaches are on the court… It does not make that much damn difference… You can blame the refs and you can blame it on Patrick being out but I am not buying those two either… Great coaches adapt and find other ways to win…

UK got beat at Vandy because of the passive play at the end of the first half and the awful lineup up that BCG put on the floor to start the second half… How Galloway could not be in the game to start the second half and Porter was is beyond me… I do not care how hard Porter plays in practice if he is having a bad game get him off the floor… Porter was awful at Vandy!!!

BCG can right the ship with wins… A great season next year and another great one after that and he will have done it all his way and that will silence the critics (including this one)… If in two years we are still having these types of conversations then you can guarantee that UK will be doing it someone else’s way the next… Much like of U of L will be doing it someone else’s way in football after the 2009 season (You can stick a fork in Kragthorpe because he is done!!! I think if old the turtleneck guys tries to keep him after another season then he may get run too)… If UK makes the NIT this year and has a mediocre year next year then I predict BCG will pack his wagon and ride on out of town…

UK showed great improvement against UT on Saturday and UT looks lost and pretty much not coached at all (the shine has worn off of Pearl)… It looks like Pearl is just sending them out and letting them do whatever they want… They have much bigger problems then UK does right now and that makes me happy…

I will be in the stands once again on Saturday when they play LSU and let’s hope that UK is going for three in a row on Saturday after beating USC in Columbia this week!!!


Baseball

A Rod was taking a banned substance, Bonds was taking a banned substance, McGwire was taking a banned substance, Sosa was taking a banned substance, Clemons was taking a banned substance, Palmero, Canseco, Camanitti, Pettite and the list goes on and on… The owners and Bud Selig had no idea that any of this was happening (sure they did not because they were to busy counting the money)…

Baseball has allowed this to become a joke… Bud Selig is a joke and tries to deflect any blame away from him but he was the guy driving the boat… If everyone else knew this stuff was going on then how Bud did not know this stuff was going on… Bud wants everyone to be believe he is stupid I guess…

I still say go Redbirds!!! I am waiting for the next bombshell… I think it will be that Puljos is two to three years older then what is birth certificate says…


Top Five Baseball Players from the past who I think would have probably taken steroids if they had been available:

- Babe Ruth… He would not have needed them but you bet he would have taken them… Look at what beer and hot dogs did for him…
- Ty Cobb… Another guy who would have done whatever it would have taken to gain an edge… He would have not needed them either…
- Mickey Mantle… Mick loved the game and was another guy looking for an edge… Mick was the opposite of Ruth when it came to the impacts of booze…
- Joe Jackson… Joe, like Cobb just loved to play the game and would have done whatever it would have taken to gain an edge…
- Jim Thorpe… Although most famous for football Thorpe played pro baseball and would have done whatever he could to gain an edge…


The Saga of Jim Calhoun

Jim Calhoun is taking heat right now for something that is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!!!

Jim Calhoun is the highest paid state employee of the state of Connecticut… He his NOT however paid with state tax dollars!!! Again he is NOT paid with state tax dollars!!! His pay comes out of the receipts or revenue from the UCONN athletic department… His base salary is about $1.2 million per year… The UCONN athletic department (not sure if this is just basketball) took in a little over $7 million dollars last year in revenue and their expenses were a little over $6 million… If those numbers were reversed then probably everyone in the department would need a pay cut… Should the state government of Connecticut raid the coffers of the UCONN athletic department because they have a good business model??? Should Coach Calhoun take a pay cut just because other people are having trouble??? Maybe he will, maybe he will not but that is Jim Calhoun’s business and on one else’s…

The criticism of Calhoun is why is he not taking a pay cut when state workers are being asked to take a pay cut??? There is a fundamental issue here and that is why is the state asking workers to take a pay cut??? Could it be they are like most of the other state governments who are in financial crisis and spend more then they take in, do not save any money or create a reserve or make responsible spending cuts or have been spending money responsibly for years and do not have a five, ten, fifteen and twenty year plan (which is the same fundamental issues with most people who are having financial issues)… Even if Jim Calhoun worked for free the next two years (which I bet he could if he wanted or needed to) this would not solve the state of Connecticut financial issues…

Folks the problem is not people or coaches making to much money… The problem is that better then 80% of the population is CLUELESS about how to manage money or be fiscally responsible, make very poor decisions and continue to spend more then they make… I see it every day and I just shake my head... My wife and I have taken pay cuts in the last year and guess what we cut spending to make up the difference, what a novel idea…

Until the government and schools build a curriculum that show people how to manage their money and demonstrate the results of making good decisions vs. bad decisions then you can give people all the money you want and they are not going to be fiscally responsible (the government new or old is not fiscally responsible and the last thing they want is for people not to be dependent on them so you will not see any of these types of activities occurring any time soon)… It is a simple process!!! You cannot spend more then you make and you have to save money!!!

Calhoun could have handled his situation much better and is someone I have noticed to be very eloquent when dealing with members of the press in most instances I have been witness to… I understand his reaction but I also understand he could have handled the situation much better even though he was being attacked by some reporter just trying to make a name for himself… This was a press conference about a basketball game not about who makes what and why???

Are athletes and coaches over paid??? Yes, in my opinion they are but they are paid based off of market demand… If people stop going to sporting events and spending money at sporting events, TV stops giving them big dollar contracts and companies stop sponsoring these schools then receipts will go down and you can bet salaries will go down…

In the professional arena owners could cut salaries by investing in players with long-term contracts for less money… I saw an article on this in The Sporting News and it specifically cited baseball where most players out of the minors or who go straight to the majors would more then likely take a 10 year guaranteed contract for allot less money then they would get through free agency (if they worked hard and developed the talent they could probably make more through shorter term contracts but most would probably not take this risk)… Probably not quite that simple but a general concept the owners have decided in most cases not to use and owners apparently think this would cost them money in the long run vs. save them money because of ROI (return on investment) and they very well could be right…

Baseball owners did try several years ago to drive salaries down and the government found them guilty of collusion and they had to go back and pay the players something like an extra billion dollars in back pay for trying to be fiscally responsible… Was that fair??? Sounds like someone (the government) is talking out of both sides of there mouth…

It is a proven fact and something I have experienced in my life… Once you learn to manage and live on the money you make, start saving money every month, have a short and long term financial plan, modify that plan when necessary and establish financial peace then people start making more money because that becomes their focus vs. their focus being how to pay their bills… I did plan A from ages 22 to 30 and started plan B at age 31 and guess what??? Plan B works well!!!

If I here one more person say to me “well you do not have kids you do not understand” then I am going to vomit… Guess what folks I do understand and that is one of the reason I do not have kids… Just because someone chooses to reproduce does not mean that gives them the right not to be financially responsible as a matter of fact financial responsibility becomes even more important… If you chose to have kids then you better understand what that means from a financial perspective…

Jim Calhoun’s salary is not the problem here folks!!! People not being financially responsible and taking responsibility for their own lives and finances is the problem!!! Bad decisions and bad behavior of others is not my fault, not my problem and something that I should not be paying for… It is your personal responsibility to be financially and socially responsible and not Jim Calhoun’s…


Random

- Sorry but it is NEVER acceptable to me for a UK Men’s Basketball team to play in the NIT… I am disappointed that any UK fans would say that was ever OK… To me that is lower expectations which will end up lowering your standards… Would going to the NIT last year been acceptable??? Hell No!!!
- I watched allot of the NFL combines over the weekend and this week… I really find this as a fascinating event… It for peaks my interest in Pro Football for which I am once again becoming a fan of for sure…
- Going on my annual pilgrimage to Florida this year and play golf for a couple of days and once again attend the Honda Classic… I will be able to root my fantasy golf team on in person for a few days…
- Speaking of Fantasy Golf… I am still hanging on to first place partly due to Sam Nation’s user error and partly because I am just damn lucky… Decided against Fantasy Baseball again for this year… Takes to much time…
- Started working on my putting stroke this week… Working with a device I saw Phil Mickelson use at the Ryder Cup that helps keep you on plain and lines your shoulders up correct… About all the practice I am going to get with the cold weather here before my golf trip next week…
- Just finished up another season on PS2 College Football… My team led the Nation in Rushing and total offense… I run two wishbone formations allot, mix in some spread formations along with some flex-bone formations (Navy’s offense is flex-bone) which chew up allot of ground… This season my QB’s only threw the ball 60 times total… Went 11 and 2 with a loss to Minnesota in a bowl game… Poised to make a Championship Run during the next season (done until fall)…


Music

Mara bought the new Morrissey CD and it is really good… I have not listened to it enough to call it great, yet… I am going to buy Radiohead this week so I have it on my MP3 player for my trip… Still watching the Grammy Performances… They were really great!!! I have also discovered two bands from the 80’s and early 90’s that I just overlooked, Joy Division and The Pixies… For some reason they just did not make it on my radar…

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb 11th 2009

From Adolph to BCG, Just How Did We Get Hear

Some of the following is just me somewhat overstating the obvious…

The other day when I was cleaning up my yard of limbs and debris I was thinking about BCG, where UK basketball was at this point in time, questioning whether we had been here before and what should I expect??? Here is what I came up with…

Coach Hall was one of Adolph’s assistant… He played for Coach Rupp but transferred after his sophomore year… As an assistant Coach Hall had gotten tired of waiting for Coach Rupp to retire and had left UK to become head coach at SLU before being summoned back home within about month (not sure of the exact timeframe) when Rupp was “forced” to retire…

After a Rocky Start Coach Hall took UK to three Final Fours, one NCAA Championship and one NIT Championship… He was a great recruiter and a great X and O guy in most situations and won some big games along they way (My two favorites are the upset of IU in the Mideast Regional in 1975, I have this SI issue in my collection, and UK beating the Running Rebels in Vegas in either 77 or 80 (I need to do my research on that one) when Coach Hall proved he could coach that style also…

Coach Hall had a story book ending planned in 1984… With a team that was the best in the country, playing great basketball the script was written… After UK beat Georgetown in the National Semi Final he would announce his retirement on Sunday and the UK would win the championship on Monday and he would go out on top like Coach Wooden had done in 1975 against the Wildcats… Of course we all know what happened in that game and it is too harsh a memory for me to even discuss…

Had Coach Hall’s plan succeeded and he would have retired the course of UK coaching history could have very well changed… Would Eddie Sutton have still been the guy??? I think he probably would have been but who knows and if had been someone else how would this have changed the course of UK basketball history???

We all know the results of ready Eddie but think about this… If UK does not play and have to beat a team a fourth time in the same year in the NCAA tournament Regional Championship Game for the second time in a row (a really BS rule at the time that was changed after that year) and goes on and wins the Championship (they were playing great at the time) and Kenny Walker, like Danny Manning could have put this team on his back and possibly won it all how would this have impacted the coaching tree at UK in the future??? Maybe Ready Eddie gets his act together at that point and the course of history is changed…

Ready Eddie finally bows out with the worst UK team I have ever seen (very painful to watch) and after they exit from the SEC tournament he resigns in a cloud of smoke…

CM Newton’s first choice Rick Pitino… Rick turns him down and declines to even entertain the idea based on the success he is having with the Knicks…

Rumors fly as to who is next in line and then PJ Carlisimo allegedly visits Lexington, gets flying approvals from all and is offered the job… PJ turns it down thinking that an east coast guy just does not fit in Lexington… Think of how the course of UK basketball changes had PJ been the guy… Would we have ‘The Unforgettables”??? They would have stayed but would they have become the legends they are today??? There would probably be no Duke loss in 92 and who knows if we would have been better, the same or worse…

After PJ turns it down the rumors are CM Newton is considering coaching the team himself for two years and bringing in Kyle Macy as his number one assistant to groom him for being the head coach… Think about how that one plays out…

CM makes one last attempt at Pitino when the Knicks are bounced from the playoffs and with a change of heart Ricky P accepts the job and all the challenges that go with it... Coach P’s pulls off one of the biggest recruiting coos ever by wooing a quiet and unassuming basketball player from New York to come to Kentucky… Think about the Cats the next three years without Jamal Mashburn…

Coach P builds UK back to a power house, takes some lumps along the way (the 92 Game, put a man on Grant Hill please, the 95 meltdown against UNC in the tournament) but puts UK back on the Map with a Championship in 96 and a run to the final in 97 with a heartbreaking OT loss to Arizona…

My favorite Ricky P story is when the team was ready to enter the Hoosier Dome for the final warm up just before the game, He addressed the team with something like, “Look down at your jersey’s and understand what that means… It says Kentucky, it says tradition, it says champions and you are representing the best basketball fans in America now go out and win a Championship…” Does BCG feel this same way???

Think about this one, if in the OT Pitino looks at DA and says take the warm ups off, you are in… Does UK have a second straight championship??? Does this change his mind and he does not leave for the Celtics??? Three in a row???

What happens if Christian Lattner misses the shot in 92 and UK wins it all!!! How would this have changed the course???

Of course Ricky P leaves and the first choice and only choice to replace him is Coach Tubby Smith (The hiring of Coach Smith at UK means that President Bill Clinton is a Martian since a Lexington newspaper reporter had stated during the 1985 NCAA Championship game their would be a Martian in the warehouse before there is an African American Head Coach at UK)…

Can Tubby win a championship with someone else’s players??? Had a first year coach ever done that??? Larry Brown could not do it (he made the final as a first year coach), Gene Bartow could not do it following coach Wooden, Eddie Sutton could not do it, Indiana States Coach in 79 could not do it with Larry Bird and I am sure the list goes on and on (more research do here also)…

Tubby pulls it off!!! What would have been the course of UK basketball had he not done that??? Would UK have pulled it off later??? What happens if Keith Bogans does not injure his ankle before the Marquette game??? Could a healthy Keith Bogans playing the best basketball of his live lead UK to a second title under Tubby??? How does the course of UK Basketball History change at that point???

Tubby departs… Billy Donavan is obviously the first choice… BD had flirted with the NBA for a few days and was now back in the spotlight as one of the best college coaching jobs is open… BD has two NCAA championships under his belt and the likely hood of him leaving (for a second time) is slim but if you are Mitch Barnhart you go that well first for a drink… What if BD comes??? Is UK in about the same place they are today???

What if Barnhart takes a chance and pegs a young but inexperienced John Pelphrey??? How patient are UK fans if Johnny P has fair debut and then UK is in about the same boat they are today with BCG at this point (I am referring to his record and the current three game losing streak)??? What happens if BCG finishes the season with a four and four record or a three and five record and does not make the NCAA tournament??? What if a young John Pelphrey as the UK coach finishes the same way (looks like that is going to happen at Arkansas)??? Would Johnny P get a pass from the fans because he is one our own??? Would that be fair???

As you can see there are allot of events and allot of things that have impacted UK basketball over the years… I certainly did not capture them all including what if UK loses to Duke in the 66 semi-final and Duke plays UTEP in the final??? Would the awful and historically inaccurate movie “Glory Road” ever been made??? Would history have been re-written and Duke be viewed differently today or in the same unfair light that UK is viewed in some circles???

I think the next eight games could have some very historical significance as to the direction of the UK program over the next four years…

In none of the scenarios I have listed did I realize how those decisions or outcomes could have impacted the future of UK basketball… I believe that today and the next few weeks we are in one of those moments… I could be wrong but I believe this is where we are today… Beat Florida tonight and allot of ills are healed, momentum is built and who knows what happens… Lose to Florida tonight and the future is looking a little bleak… Lose to Florida and then somehow win out then the team is back on track??? Continue the implosion and not make the NCAA Tournament then what happens next (do Meeks and Patterson both leave for the NBA)???

History is going to be made over the next few weeks and let’s hope it is history we will want to remember… Either way it will be historic in the life of UK basketball…

Despite what some of my friends think I have not given up on BCG… He has four years to show me what he can do and then we will see from there… Go Cats and make some history!!! The sky is not falling but you cannot deny that history is being made…


This Post Top Five is “Top Five UK basketball Moments for me”

- James Lee’s explanation point dunk in the 78 Championship Game…
- Deron Feldhaus putting Syracuse players Steven Thompson and Derrick Coleman on his hip at the free throw line in the Carrier Dome and then driving to the basket for dunk on both of them…
- Brassows tip in at Maui to win the game…
- Swoop Jenkins tip in to beat U of L…
- Sean Woods layup against Duke in 92 just before Latteners heroics… Had Lattner missed his shot you would see this play instead of Lattners during all the tournament hype…

There are more but these are the first five that jumped into my brain…


Random

- I have never heard the amount of boos by UK fans like I did at halftime of the Miss St. game… Pretty scary… I was not one of the boo birds but I understand their frustration…

- I made a statement a few weeks back that I thought UK was playing as good as anyone in the country and thought that UK could play with anyone on a neutral court… What the hell happened??? Was I blind, biased and wrong or were they playing that well??? Did the opponents just figure us out and we have not adjusted???
- As has been pointed out by several people BCG needs to get a bit more creative with his coaching style… One way is not going to always work… Sometimes you have to adjust to what your opponent is doing or not doing… I am not telling him something he does not know but for some reason he appears to be not doing this…
- I am really having trouble watching any other basketball besides UK… I cannot generate any interest in other teams or games… College Football is for sure my number one sport to now follow…
- The UK football recruiting class looks great but we are still 11th in the SEC with this class… Should we as fans be concerned??? I personally am not because recruiting is a crap shoot… Depth is important and this may be the deepest team UK has ever had in 2009… I have said it before but the 2009 schedule is brutal…
- The Super Bowl was a great game… I have to admit though I did not see the fourth quarter until after the game was over… We were watching our favorite HBO show Big Love instead… I am a bigger fan of pro football then I was but…….
- Looking forward to the watching the NFL combines… They were pretty neat to watch last year to watch…
- I am either in distress that I do not have the MLB Network on my cable or I am glad that I do not have another reason to watch TV… I am afraid this channel would be an addiction for me much like my PS2 football habit has become (I am fighting it hard and only playing one a game a week although since my nephew was here for his 14th birthday I played three additional games and by the way I won all three)…


Music

The Grammy awards were really great… I enjoyed most of the performances (especially U2, Coldplay and Radio Head performing with the USC marching band)… Coldplay was on 60 minutes the other night and that was a great interview… Kings of Leon were nominated for a Grammy but did not win (they are getting on the map) and I am so glad for Allison Krauss and Robert Plant… That is a great album!!!