DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING MAY, OR MAY NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF ASOB.
SIGNED: BUCK HENRY
Since the torturously long dissolution process of the Derrick Jasper -UK marriage is finally over, I have been left to ponder whether Billy Gillispie and Mitch Barnhart exhausted all efforts to retain young Mr. Jasper? We UK fans are now left to hope for a qualifying score for DeAndre Liggins, or the sudden emergence of an, as yet, unproven "lead" guard candidate. If neither one of those scenarios plays out, a long and fruitless season could soon be upon us. Jasper staying in Lexington was of vital interest of all UK fans, or at least those who are interested in winning.
The reason most given for Jasper's departure was his apparent homesickness. Certainly one can understand a kid longing for home and all that home brings. I find no fault with Jasper, I wish him only the best (unless he plays against UK). I just wish that the UK basketball staff had reached out to Jasper a bit more afffectively. Oh, I'm sure they attempted to convince Jasper that Kentucky was the place for him, and that they could win a championship together, and all that jazz. I mean did they REACH out to him? Really let him know that they care?
I would have thought that an offer to relocate Jasper's family to Kentucky would have solved the entire conflict. Jasper could be close to his family, and he could still hoop it up for UK (they don't call me "problem solver" for nothing). How much effort would that have taken? Perhaps Gillispie and Barnhart aren't entrepreneurial enough to satisfy the demands of their respective positions.
All Barnhart would have had to have done is make a couple of phone calls. If Mitch would have only called Luther Deaton , or maybe CM Gatton . I'm sure both of the big-shot boosters would have been happy to contact there "plane provider", donors of note friends. With Kentucky related business connections, and real estate holdings at the Jaspers disposal, surely a fine home and good jobs could have been lined up. And if the Jaspers didn't desire to work, well, something could have been done to accomodate that request as well.
One big happy Jasper family, located in Lexington (or any city of their choosing). If only Barnhart and Gillispie were as dedicated to winning as say ... Tim Floyd and USC. They sure went the distance for OJ Mayo . Allowing the boy-wonder from Huntington, West Virginia to live life to its fullest is commendable. I always wondered why Mayo attempted to "raise his profile" by playing for the Trojans. Most would think that North Carolina, Kansas, or Kentucky would raise the profile of a hot shot college basketball player much more than playing for USC. Ahh, such illumination now.
Barnhart and Gillispie could have also offered a consultants position to Kelvin Sampson. The least Sampson could do is make a few calls on UK's behalf. Afterall, Indiana just paid him 750k to abandon ship, so he had nothing better to do. And surely Sampson, with enough monetary encouragement, would have completed almost any task at the behest of his paymaster. He could have proven to be quite the commodity; teaching Gillispie new and inventive ways to beat the cell phone companies, for example. An even more important, and useful purpose Sampson could have served, would have been to teach Gillispie how NOT to lie to Myles Brand's henchmen. Because we all know that when one is willing to do whatever it takes to win, eventually the Enforcement Committee wants to do lunch.
I don't know. After more in-depth study and "ponderations", I'm thinking that NOT blowing up the rule book may be the best way to go. Surely one can't blatantly make a laughing stock of NCAA Regulations without expecting to get caught. Isn't it just understoood that people will talk? Some talk sooner, some talk later, but eventually someone will tweet, tweet, tweet, like a canary. As we have witnessed many times over, conspiratorial behavior usually ends badly for all.
So maybe I'm glad Gillispie and Barnhart displayed enough scruples not to bend or break the rules in dealing with Jasper. How smart does one need to be to realize that a pathological breaking of the rules eventually stops. Usually with the removal of the offensive personality from the profession he so degrades. Is one recruit or player worth a career? Worth millions of dollars? Worth being labeled a "cheater"?
Not in my world.
Of course Gillispie could transform himself into a slight, spectacled, fatherly coach who speaks in sonnets, and uses catchy phraseology. If Billy can accomplish that feat, he could get away with anything.
Thanks for reading, and Go 'Cats!