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Rigot: the other view

Perhaps no Kentucky assistant coach in recent history has been more maligned for less actual reasons than current basketball assistant Scott Rigot.

Whether it was his dour sideline look or a lack of knowledge about him, fans decided that he was a principle reason for any and all struggles on the court. For all I know, he may well be. But given the lack of honest information that comes out of the UK basketball office, it's hard to believe much of what you actually hear from the street.

At least one person took an alternate view of Mr. Rigot, one based more on his past history and successes rather than on his current situation.

It has been widely reported that several of the members of the UK staff have been looking elsewhere for employment, either at Tubby's behest or their own, and Rigot is one of those. Whether he would join Pitt's staff is unknown, as is whether he is even a candidate.

But UK fans have taken a completely hearsay view of his abilities, and should remember that while it's easy to pile on someone with little way of answering any of his critics, it's much harder to swallow your pride and admit that you don't know the truth and stop slandering someone based on zero proof.

It all begs the question, really, of what it is that makes a good assistant. Is it helping the head coach in games, or recruiting, or both? Clearly, Tubby has used his assistants differently.

What makes a good staff seems to have a lot to do with what the coach finds most important. To wit, Rick Pitino's coaching tree is strong, and it makes you wonder why, and how, he had so many big egos working together in harmony. Two of his assistants have now won national titles. No modern-era coach can boast that sort of resume.

Meanwhile, the higher profile but ultimately less successful Coach K tree has whithered: Snyder, Brey, Amaker, etc. But there's Johnny Dawkins sitting next to K every game. You think K prefers him nearby to Snyder et al.?

Rigot is probably not the best assistant ever produced. Tubby doesn't have much of a coaching tree himself, having seen Shawn Finney fired, Mike Sutton middling at Tennessee State, George Felton retire and David Hobbs seem more comfortable as second fiddle than as the focus of fans' ire. But Rigot has a reputation as a recruiter, and while he delivered in '03 -- he's credited with helping lure Joe Crawford out of Michigan -- he whiffed in '02 (this coming year's seniors). Yet he'd hardly be the first assistant to show uneven recruiting results.

That said, Tubby seemed miffed at his staff after the loss to UCONN, and certainly did little to hinder them all looking elsewhere for jobs. And yet, here we are on May 1 with no news since Reggie Hanson was passed over for the Murray State job.

So is it that no one wants these assistants, or are they not really looking that hard unless a golden opportunity comes along? We simply cannot know.

But we do know that until this year, the current crop of UK assistant coaches had produced 32-4, 27-5, and 28-6 seasons ... hardly meriting the beating they take ona regular basis from internet heroes.