Dear Dick:

Although I know you try to be as impartial as possible, I wanted to let you know that your advocacy of Billy Donovan and his recruiting efforts is appreciated by at least one college basketball fan.  To go to the great lengths you did to aid and abet Coach Donovan in his recruitment of prospects is truly heartening.  I think it's your innate ability to find the wounded, and provide them with a helping hand, but whatever the reason, you are to be commended for ruining your reputation, and revealing yourself to be an accomplished double-talker of extraordinary abilities.  All in an effort to assist the downtrodden Billy Donovan.

To write this piece on May 7, 2008 criticizing Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie for offering a scholarship to 15 year old Michael Avery, and then turn around sixty days later and write this glowing article regarding Billy Donovan accepting a commitment from 15 year old Austin Rivers, truly shows the love and father-like feelings you feel for the much-maligned, troubled soul that is coach Donovan.  You had to know that people were going to remember your earlier critical comments, but you ignored the possible ramifications, and in an effort to boost the national profile of Donovan, you completely contradicted yourself.  Kudos for this selfless act.  To put others before yourself is truly a rare attribute in today's society.

Furthermore, with much guile and cleverness you withheld the fact that the National Association of Basketball Coaches ( headed up by your favorite former UK coach Tubby Smith ) has only very recently "highly recommended" that head coaches refrain from offering scholarships to prospects before the end of their sophomore year in high school.  You probably did this because of the firestorm of criticism that came from all corners of the earth directed toward UK's evil, ill-intentioned head coach Billy Gillispie.  Because if you point out that Donovan broke with the alliance, and basically said "screw you guys, I'll do what I want", the acrimony pointed toward Gainesville would be palpable.  And, you and I both know that we can't have coach Donovan painted with anything but a perfect brush.  The fact that he did exactly the same thing as Gillispie, even after being asked not to, could certainly lead to more cries of displeasure from the self-righteous reporters so hellbent on spreading their venom.  But you came through for him in a big way, shuckin' and jivin' to the point of near collapse.

The most impressive aspect of your Good Samaritan activity is the fact that you cunningly hid Donovan's three previous accepted commitments from the "forbidden fruit":  Teddy " You can't rape who you love" Dupay, Mike Miller, and Nick Calathes were, as you know, all verbally committed to Donovan prior to the beginning of their junior years.  Once again, by ignoring the truth in the interest of aiding Donovan, you make yourself appear to be a hypocrite.  Normally you would deserve condemnation, but in this case, where your efforts are squarely pointed toward supporting a dejected comrade, you are to be lauded for throwing your reputation out with the bathwater.

The fact that you recognized that Donovan was hurting, deep inside, reflects well of your character and abilities to locate and soothe pain.  After-all, Donovan has only two National Titles to his name, and last year Florida didn't even make the Big Dance.  I know the future may look bleak and troublesome to the Florida coach, but with your continued help and guidance, I'm sure he will see his way through.

My only real concern is how Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will feel about all of this?  You have done such a remarkably thorough job of kissing his hindquarters for so many years; do you think jealousy may be an issue that arises from your recent love affair with Donovan?  If you cut off Krzyzewski from all of your fawning he may begin to feel neglected, and I would hate for your touching relationship with him to fall apart over your newfound interest in Billy Donovan.  I honestly don't see any way around Krzyzewski finding out about your dalliance, so maybe you could recommend a threesome involving yourself, Krzyzewski, and Donovan.  Surely they wouldn't balk at the suggestion of sharing your love and kindness with one another.  Someone like yourself, who has so much love and caring to share, can surely handle the load.

At the very least you could tell Mikey that it was a one time thing.  Tell him Donovan was in dire straits and needed a helping hand.  Certainly Krzyzewski can pull himself away from filming his recruiting commercials long enough to comprehend and understand the need you satisfied.  If he gives you his scowl upon hearing the news, just remind him who has benefited the most from the relationship you two have fostered.  That'll shut him up. 

Whatever your solution, you are to be commended for so publicly standing up for your down-and-out-friend.  You have shown us all what ethics are all about.  You have provided us all a clear example of selflessness, while at the same time revealing your true nature and character. 

Thank you Dick, from the bottom of my heart.  The timeless lesson you have taught us all will be passed down to my young children, and that is; one should never be concerned with how one is perceived, if one is looking out for a friend.  So I encourage you to ignore the bottomless pit in your soul where your integrity at one time resided, because by taking an interest in other peoples needs, you have shown that integrity rightfully takes a back seat to a helping hand given.   

So pay no mind to the roar you hear from Wildcat fans, they don't understand you like I do.

With all sincerity,

Ken Howlett

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