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It's "Bash the Coach" Day!

Yes, today's news is chock full of articles taking coaches to task for various and sundry shortcomings.  But before we get to that, lets dispense with some recruiting news:

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky has a "slight edge" over UNLV for the services of Beas Hamga, a 7' rising center that comes to us from Cameroon via Illinois' Decatur Christian.

On that same note, Matt Jones is reporting as follows:

I spoke to someone close to Beas Hamga today who told me that absent an amazing, mind-blowing visit to UNLV, Kentucky looks to be in GREAT shape for the big man.

Continuing on the Hamga theme, UK Big Blue Cats blog points us to an article that talks more about what we reported Tuesday (via a subscriber-only article) -- that Beas Hamga has applied for eligibility in the class of 2007.

About Jai Lucas - Matt Jones, who has been on top of his recruitment from day 1, reports that there is no news.  There is no link, because there is no friggin' news, m'kay?

So now we come to the stuff that the title of this article refers to, and first we'll go to an Elizabethtown News-Enterprise editorial that his highly critical of Billy Gillispie vis-a-vis the recruitment of home-town hero, Steffphon Pettigrew.  Chuck Jones, the author, blasts Gillispie for hypocrisy -- claiming to want home-grown talent and then passing it up when the Kentucky player of the year is available.  Meanwhile, Jones praises Darrin Horn, coach of Western Kentucky University who has signed many players from inside the state.

I think Jones has a point, but he fails to fully grasp the situation that Gillispe finds himself in.  Tubby Smith was almost universally criticized, and rightly so, for poor recruiting.  While Steffphon Pettigrew is a fine player from Kentucky, it cannot be said that he was the best player available who wanted to come to Kentucky at that size and position.  For the record, Gillispie signed that person, Alex Legion, instead of Pettigrew.  Given the circumstances handed to Gillispie by his predecessor, one can hardly blame him for playing the percentages.

Now, lest you think I am a reflexive Gillispie apologist, please be advised that my alma mater is none other than Western Kentucky University.  I have logged many hours playing basketball on the floor of E.A. Diddle Arena, so my WKU basketball roots run deep.  But reality must intrude, and the reality is that Gillispie cannot afford to make a mistake in the perception of his recruiting at this point in his UK career.  Chuck Jones is right -- to a point -- but cognitive dissonance forced him to ignore the bigger picture.

However, I join him in his praise of Darrin Horn.  Horn is doing a great job at WKU, and he could well have the next Western Arena named after him.  Well done, Darrin.  Good luck, Steffphon, you are a great player who will play for a great coach at a great school.  I hope you have more room in that trophy case -- you'll be needing some.

The Houston Chronicle reports  that Texas A&M University is trying to move on, but they are still pretty sore:

A&M did its best to show the program also is moving on. The attendees were treated to a 20-minute highlight video that made no mention of Gillispie and only featured his voice in a brief segment following the upset at Kansas. Texas coach Rick Barnes had more of a speaking role in the video.

A blog called "Banter of a Blond Republican Couple" reports on TAMU's 12th Man Magazine taking a few shots at Gillispie:

   * Gillespie is not likely to last long at Kentucky, either...Because of his lifestyle and his singular focus...Gillespie will have wandering eyes, once again."

Ouch.  Read about it here.  TAMU just isn't done with Gillispie (or us) yet, but who can really blame them?  It will heal after football.

Be sure to read this thoughtful editorial by Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune, which addresses the officiating bias study I wrote about yesterday.   When sportswriters start writing truly cogent and serious stuff like this, it may be a sign of the apocalypse.

In Bat Cat news, Kentucky senior catcher Sean Coughlin has been named to the Player of the Year award watch list.

NCAA Hoops Today has an interesting post today on the coaching carousel this year and next year. Read the rest here. has a new post up about the Memorial Coliseum floor controversy.

UK men's basketball barely scrapes by and avoids NCAA penalties on the Academic Progress Rate score. Hat tip -- Wildcat Zone. Update [2007-5-3 11:32:58 by Truzenzuzex]:  NCAA Hoops Blog at looks at how one-year players can really hurt schools' APR scores.

Rivals has a new free article about some 2008 recruits who have joined the 5-star rankings.   Wildcat's target DeAndre Liggins is among them

Our fellow SportsBlogs contributor Corn Nation takes on the "pay for play" issue.   I think he's right, and darn funny, too.

Here's one I missed from Tuesday. Fellow SportsBlogger T. Kyle King at Dawg Sports follows up on the Gary Parrish story we reported on last week, and does a breathtaking job.   Here's a sample:

The downside of equality is the loss of the ability to blame all one's personal reversals on the antediluvian attitudes of others.   Sometimes---most times---coaching changes result from records, not racism.   If we truly want to live in a color-blind society (as I believe most of us do), we have to be prepared to accept such decisions at face value and not leap immediately to the conclusion that either cronyism or a quota accounts for every outcome in which a choice is presented between men of different ethnic origins.
Read the whole thing.

Here's news I know UK fans will love.   Traitor Rick signed up for an additional 3 years at our favorite rival.   The deal appears to roughly pay him Tubby Smith money had he stayed.

The NCAA extends the 3-point line. Good.