With a couple of hours of goofiness over at Cats Pause due to a few UK fans so excited about Tubby losing out on top recruit Patrick Patterson that they heard what they wanted to believe, I wanted to address one thing about our coverage here.
You may notice that we rarely run with unsourced rumors (because they are almost always wrong) or innuendo here, and that's deliberate.
It's not because we think we're above such things. I happen to read the web all day searching for leaks and rumors of all sorts. But it is, rather, because we don't want this site to devolve into another fount of misinformation, and even, as in today's case, I'm convinced, disinformation.
The folks who were so overjoyed at Patterson's non-verbal verbal to Florida (it didn't happen, his mother and he himself have now confirmed) were, in my opinion, attempting to further their cause, which is no less than the demythification of Tubby Smith.
This, of course, would include his dismissal as head coach. Now before our own readers start in, I'm not speaking about fans who want Smith fired or relieved or however you phrase it. People have different opinions. The end of this season has swayed many diehards, and has put thoughts of non-Tubby teams running with reckless abandon in my own mind.
But there is a cadre of fans who, hiding behind screennames and computer screens, have so convinced themselves that they have been personally wronged that they are set on destroying not only Smith, but his legacy as well.
Witness several threads on multiple message boards taking shots at Smith for "selling out" his assistants, should they be dismissed or asked to resign. This is directly aimed at bringing a man nearly universally respected and lauded for his personal ethics and loyalty down and nothing more.
Similarly, dicussions about why the Elite Eight is actually "only halfway to the title" only further my point, that the politics of personal destruction are again at work, again by nameless and faceless enemies, and, most depressingly, is then reported as fact or as overall fan sentiment by lazy national reporters.
In any event, this post was not meant to harangue about maligned fans with nothing better to do than try and punch holes in Tubby's armor, but rather to say that we won't play a part in that.
This also means no rumors posted in big "BREAKING" headlines about Patterson or Jai Lucas' decisions on where to attend college. When we find reliable sources or print references, we'll try to bring them to you.
This is all a part of our goal to make A Sea of Blue something unique, a respite from the howling masses. It's not because we hate them -- some of my best friends are holwing masses! -- but rather because there are already plenty of outlets to vent.
I hope that readers understand. We've worked very hard to raise the discourse about UK hoops, something I know I love every bit as much as any beat writer, poster on a message board or old guy talking in some dusty barn in Cadiz.
This sort of clarification is also doubly important as we go through the process of the program "evaluation" Mitch Barnhardt has referenced in the last month. You'll hear about assistants being replaced, about ridiculous names being bandied as assistants and the like.
We'll report what we read/find/hear, but not at the risk of our own credibility, nor at the risk of the personal dignity of Tubby Smith or any other person associated with the UK program.
That's my promise.