The Gillispie Strategy -- Beat 'em in July, and February will take care of itself

What can I say that hasn't been said?  I mean, there are only so many words and combinations thereof that haven't been clichéd by overuse lately when talking about Coach Gillispie's recruiting success this summer.

Still, the recent rush to pen articles professing profound amazement at Gillispie's success is noteworthy, and we here at A Sea of Blue have ... well, taken note.  Today, John Clay has a  run-down of many of the latest stories, mostly the MSM, about "Billy G's recruiting hysteria."  The UK blogs are predictably as giddy as schoolchildren with a long-coveted toy.  Wildcats Thunder calls it "G forces" in a recent post:

G forces, you say? Well, how about these "G forces"? We're talking about Gillispie forces here! That's right, UK fans are on a recruiting roller coaster right now and Gillispie is the guy down in the control box that is running the ride. Thrilling? Exciting? NO DOUBT!

Over at The Wildcat Blog, they are just trying to catch their breath:

Everything happens so quickly with Billy Gillispie's recruiting prowess that I need to sit down and gather everything in and see what the heck is actually going on.

But that's not all.  Gillispie's success has bedazzled not only Kentucky fans, but many in the sports media who a few short months ago were blasting UK for various and sundry sins, including running off Smith via a combination of psychotic fans and racial bias, underperforming at every turn and becoming the newest also-ran in Billy Donovan and Bruce Pearl's sandbox of the SEC.

But those erstwhile UK critics and doomcriers are suddenly agog over Billy Gillispie's prowess, sending Gary Parrish into a paroxysm of effusive praise:

Question: Why are the recruiting numbers down for the armed services?

Answer: Because Billy Gillispie doesn't work for the armed services!


And Parrish isn't alone.  The Elizabethtown News-Enterprise jumps on the bandwagon, as does UK reporter extraordinaire Larry Vaught:
One rival Southeastern Conference coach noted that Gillispie and his staff must never rest because they are seemingly involved with almost every top prospect in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 recruiting classes.

Does anybody but me see a method to this madness here?  I mean, to me it's as clear as a bell -- Gillispie intends to recruit every single top high school player in the nation before anyone else has a chance to.

Notice I didn't say "sign", I said "recruit".  His amazing "everywhere, all the time" presence has clearly unnerved many among college basketball's elite, and his recent success with highly regarded players is frustrating the heck out of programs that have pretty much owned Kentucky lately, recruiting-wise.  With UK's name on every blue-chipper's lips, even the "old money" basketball programs that are UK's peers are starting to become concerned.   Witnesseth Rock Chalk Talk:

This news really pisses me off. From having an opportunity to snag the top recruiting class in the country just a few short weeks prior, we are now in dangerous territory of having an impact class lacking a single immediate impact player. Following the expected and anti-climactic commitment of Releford, we were supposedly "hot on the trail" of DeAndre Liggins, who then began the freefall of our recruiting class choosing Kentucky over our beloved Jayhawks.

Predictably, though, not everyone is on board the Billy G. thrill ride -- Scout.com's Randy Moore of BamaMag Inside Tennessee says all this Gillispie-love is irrational:

And Kentucky's offseason hardly qualifies as great. Sure, the Wildcats hired heralded Billy Gillispie as their new coach but they lost Tubby Smith, who led them to a national title and three Elite Eight appearances. Tubby was so sick of Lexington that he angrily walked away from a reported $2.45 million-per-year contract. Losing your head coach to the Minnesota Gophers qualifies as a great offseason?

I'll leave it to my readers to debunk the obvious logical fallacies in Mr. Moore's commentary, but he does make a very good point -- Tennessee has much to be happy about basketball-wise this summer.  But even so, Pearl isn't lining up top-ranked basketball talent years in advance.  Gillispie is, and that is something new at Kentucky.

Still, with Donovan laying low after his disastrous annulment with Orlando, and Gillispie on a major recruiting offensive, Kentucky is all the rage again, and in a good way, for the first time in quite a while.  Wildcat fans are reveling in the exposure and embracing everything Gillispie at the moment.

Kentucky is winning in July, something we haven't seen since ... when?  And by doing so, we are putting the rest of the nation on notice.  Just like the "TV people" in Poltergeist:

"[We]'re baaaaaaccck."

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