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Too many questions, not enough answers

I personally hate to write articles asking hard questions of a new coach in the middle of a difficult season.  I hate it.  I love to write feel-good articles about the Wildcats that rally the Big Blue Nation and make us all wait with bated breath for the next game.  That's when blogging is fun.  But "feel good" articles are hard to write under the current circumstances, not only because they are in discord with reality, but because they represent an example of a fan base that is out of touch with the simple facts in front of them.  So I am forced to write articles like the one just below, and (warning, dear reader) this one.

John Clay has a very ... pointed article over at the Herald-Leader that is, in my mind, an example of good journalism that we should be pretty proud of.  Like most of us, he doesn't have any interest in coach-bashing or team bashing, but knows something is amiss and understands that to just ignore it is neither desirable nor responsible.  I would very much like to hide my head, stay away from the Internet for a few days and just write "In Gillispie we trust, this is all Tubby's fault®" 1000 times in my own blood.  Unfortunately, that is neither responsible nor fair to our fans and program.

The things that John talks about are these:

  1. A.J. Stewart apparently earned the start, played for 5 minutes, and never returned to the game.
  2. Michael porter, same story except substitute "7" for "5".
  3. Jodie Meeks never sees the floor in the first half, and plays much of the second.

When asked about these things, Coach Gillispie replied:

  1. "I just thought we could do a little bit better with the guys we had out on the court."
  2. --ditto--
  3. "I said I'll play him when he's available. We need Jodie to be at his best because he's a very good player and we need him. Believe me, I would like to have him out there all the time, when he's capable, and when he's available, and when he's ready and all of those kinds of things."

Well.  All I can say about this is that Gillispie is not being totally honest with anyone on this, and if he is ... well, that opens an entirely different set of questions that, because they are so hypothetical, I'll just keep to myself.  My reaction to all this is exactly the same as Clay's -- "Huh?"

John goes on to mention the strange circumstances surrounding Patterson's absence from the Houston game.  Now, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I don't have a clue what to make of all this, but it is a little bit more than passing strange.  I always thought Tubby Smith's activities were opaque and hidden from view, but Gillispie seems to be taking this to levels previously unknown, professing ignorance about virtually everything he is asked, or giving hyper-simplistic answers.  To be fair, "I just thought we could do a little better with the guys we had out on the court" isn't anything other than apparently honest, but surely he can imagine that UK basketball fans would appreciate a bit more detail, like "I thought the guys we had out there would be more capable of busting the zone they were using to hold down Pat, based on the way they were practicing," or something like that that gives UK fans credit for knowing something about the game.  "I just thought it was a good idea at the time" will get Gillispie no points with either the media or most UK fans.

Answer number three is nothing more than a filibuster, and somebody needs to tell Gillispie that the Senate that welcomes those is about 500 miles east of here.  We know Meeks is good, Coach, and we know that you want to play him.  What we don't know is how he magically "became available" between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second.  What is the process?  And if you don't know, who can we talk to who does know?  Surely, somebody must have an answer to this mystery.

Look, if Gillispie wants to play the "Aw, shucks" card to the point where we learn to hate it, fine -- it's his career.  But in this writer's humble opinion, he is losing not only ball games, but the confidence of many in the Big Blue Nation, although I am currently not among them and do have confidence Gillispie can get the job done.  John Clay's lede expressed my feelings perfectly:  "If Gillispie has plan, it's invisible to naked eye."