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Enjoying Memorial Day Weekend

I got to bed late last night, and rose late this morning.  I have yet to have my first cup of coffee, so if this post contains grammatical errors and generally looks like a half-awake guy wrote it, well, you'll know why.

I was asked recently by a commenter what I was hearing about what the Wildcats were doing in the off-season.  I answered that I hadn't heard much, owing to the fact that Gillispie is still apparently paying more attention to recruiting than anything else, Holsopple had left for Gainesville, and UK was still looking to fill an empty assistant coaching spot.

Brett Dawson of the Courier-Journal gives us a bit of an update via the Cincinnati Enquirer, although nothing special.  Gillispie apparently told him that the guys were diligently playing pickup games against each other and working on their skills in the Joe Craft center.

I am very concerned about our lack of a strength coach.  This was about the point in the year where Scott Holsopple was hired, and we immediately started hearing things about how he was changing the bodies and attitudes of the team immediately.  That encouraged many of us, especially given the apparently out-of-shape 2005-2006 Wildcats.

I'm sure we will get this position filled and my concerns assuaged very shortly.  I'll give Gillispie credit for one thing -- his single-minded focus on the job at hand is impressive.  Multitasking is overrated in a basketball coach.

Andy Glockner at ESPN has a pretty interesting look at the effects of the new 20'9" 3-point line on college basketball.  He makes a couple of points that are almost the exact opposite of some of the other people I have seen examine the change, and I find his arguments quite compelling.

One of the most interesting points he makes is that the BCS conferences have far fewer "elite" shooters than the smaller conferences:

This past season, there were 28 players who took at least 200 3s and made at least 40 percent of them. Only nine of them were from BCS schools. Eleven of the 15 teams that shot 40 percent or better from the arc last season were from outside the "big six" conferences. Granted, the level of play in some of the smaller conferences can help bolster shooting percentages, but the numbers are undeniable.

He's right, which pretty much answers a question I see pop up all the time in UK online fora around the Big Blue Nation -- "Why does UK not have pure shooters anymore?"

The answer appears to be "Because we don't recruit them, we recruit athletes."  That has certainly been true of Gillispie's tenure so far, and I expect that trend to continue.  BCS schools, in general, play more of a pro-style offense than many smaller schools do due to differences in team makeup.

Glockner also sees the change reducing the number of teams playing tight man-to-man, and increasing the number of match-up and sagging man defenses, and interviews a couple of coaches who share his view.  Obviously, since Gillispie is known to prefer a sticky man-to-man, Kentucky would be directly affected by the rule change if Glockner's take proves correct.

I think the biggest change will be on the recruiting trail.  Colleges who were into athletes will be forced to consider shooters to help loosen up sagging man-to-man defenses, or tightly-packed zones that force the team to beat you with the perimeter shot.  Good 2-point shooting from the perimeter is always going to be worse than close-in shots, and we have found over the years that the bonus point puts enough of a premium on perimeter shooting to make it worth it.

But when a team drops below 30% from the 3-point line, it becomes a bad shot, equating to less than 40% from 2.  Teams with marginal 3-point shooters are going to be defended way differently after this year, and my guess is that they will recruit differently, also.

While perusing for opinions on the new 3-point line, I found this old but new-to-me article in the London (Ky) Sentinel-Echo, which says that Gillispie is enforcing new work hours on his staff:
I recently spoke to a good friend of mine, (my inside source) who has interviewed for the position of Billy Gillispie's administrative assistant. She tells me that the position will now involve traveling with the team and working Billy G hours, which are from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. or in other words from waking up with the chickens to turning the lights out at night. I told her it would be like being married to the man, of course she is single so it wouldn't be a bad thing, he is Kentucky's newest millionaire and biggest sports celebrity!

Now folks, those are some good, old-fashioned farmer workin' hours there!