Would you like some cheese with that whine, Rick?
Apparently, Traitor Rick feels a little ... how do I say it? ... less than totally welcome when he brings his Louisville Cardinal team into Rupp Arena these days. This graf is from a Dick Weiss article in the New York Daily News:
Whenever Pitino comes back to this town for a reunion, his face is always prominently displayed on the scoreboard. "When I go back to Kentucky, they have the banners from the three Final Fours we went to, but they never show me on the scoreboard," Pitino said. "You're the enemy. Here, I was only here two years, but they keep you as part of the family."Dang, Rick, we sure are sorry you feel that way. Maybe Providence wouldn't quite be so welcoming if you were coaching, say, Boston College right now instead of a school 800 miles away. But I hope you understand, that isn't likely to change until you get tired of coaching the Cardinals. Rival colleges take it personally when you wind up going from one school to the other, especially under circumstances like the ones under which you left UK. That's just the way it is, brother. [Hat Tip: John Clay]
There are not one but two independent articles today on the defense of Joe Crawford, and you can find both linked below in the news post. I must admit, Crawford's defense has improved by orders of magnitude over even last year, and we really don't get anything in the way of a meaningful explanation as to why in either article.
I think that getting embarrassed by his younger brother up in Bloomington may have been the factor that motivated Crawford to improve his defensive pressure. There is nothing quite like getting shown up by Little Bro' to motivate an elder sibling to reevaluate his game. For many years, Jordan played in the shadow of his more highly-touted brother, but he certainly made an impact on Joe when they finally met mano a mano in front of a national TV audience.
But whatever Joe's motivation, we sure are happy to see that he is not only playing better defense, but getting recognized for it. I think it is interesting to note that in games where Joe has excelled on defense, he tends to excel on offense as well. How far has he come from the UAB game where he couldn't even come close to guarding Robert Vaden to now, where he is getting the job done against SEC competition? Congrats, Joe -- you deserve the accolades. Now keep earning them.
Finally, there is this peice in the Lexington Herald-Leader about Ramel Bradley, where Gillispie essentially says he would rather have "a turnover or two every once in a while" than a guy who isn't a threat to score.
I have learned to take Bradley as he is, and I admit, it has been very difficult for me. One minute Ramel is running down the floor like his hair is on fire going one-on-three, and the next he is getting you a crucial stop, a big rebound, or knocking down big free throws. It's a trade-off, I agree, but it is never going to be comfortable for me to watch. Quite frankly, it is also going to hurt whatever stock he has in the NBA. Passion and aggression are no substitute for good decision making. As with all things in life, balance is the key, and right now, it's all on one side of the ledger for Ramel. This team would be 10 points better per game if his reaction to every basketball situation weren't to attack it as though it was someone who was trying to escape with a family heirloom.
Still, you have to play with what you have, and Bradley has managed, at least since SEC play began, to accumulate significantly more "Good Ramel" plays than "Bad Ramel." As long as he continues to do that, I think the Cats will wind up with a net positive, and that is enough. I sure would like to see him exercise good judgment more often, but it is working well enough for him and the team, so I guess we should just be thankful for that.