I posted this reply to fortyyrcatfans "The Path to Pitino II" wherein he asserts that recruiting is the key to duplicating Pitino's success at UK in the early '90's. My apologies to anyone who is bothered by the double-post.
UK has enough talent right now to compete with most anyone. We certainly have proved by virtue of the first half of the season that the SEC east should be in our pockets. The problem of our current record lies not in our talent pool, but in a lack of off-court skills in the staff.
We have plenty of talent to not lose every game we play against good teams. What we need is a better relationship between the players and the coach. Now, I’m on record on other boards as saying that this is BG’s fault. I stand by that. However, it must be remembered that after 10 years of Tubby, fan patience is very, very thin. The internet, cable sports networks, and all the rest mean that the days of isolation possible under Rupp are over for good and all. This makes it tougher on any coach in this modern era to alleviate the pressure on players. The problem is exponentially greater for a program like UK.
I think BG is probably an outstanding X’s and O’s coach. What a program like UK needs in addition to this is a good politician with outstanding interpersonal skills. Those skills are not developed during the off season by a man half a century old — they are skills one develops over a lifetime, and Rick for one had them. He was a teacher and a mentor. He understood what had to be done in Lexington in its totality. Billy Gillespie, on the other hand, appears not to understand this. I am not bashing Billy Gillespie, I am only saying that he is not the right man for the job as it exists, in my opinion.
No matter what kind of recruiting class we get, fan expectations and the attendant pressure make the additional skills of politics and mentorship indispensable. We need someone who is capable of handling the entire job at the helm of this team. That secured, we can look forward to a stellar climb the likes of that seen under Pitino I.
Of course, I could be wrong. ;)