Saturday, April 4, 2009
The Reese's team defeated the Hershey's All Stars 105-100.
After the game, Asbury head coach Will Shouse was named NCCAA Mid-East Region Coach of the Year.
Asbury Press Release
The New Albany High School graduate averaged 12.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the Knights. Bellarmined finished the season with a 26-7 record and a trip to the NCAA's Sweet 16.
2009 Division II Bulletin All Freshman Team
Kyle Baxter, Humboldt State
Raymont McElroy, Northern Michigan
Braydon Hobbs, Bellarmine
Jason Adams, Missouri Southern
Kyle Caiola, UMass Lowell
Cody Schilling, Augustana College
Tony Fannick, Mansfield
Dale Minschwaner, Colorado Mines
Desmond Johnson, Lincoln Memorial
Friday, April 3, 2009
The innovative creator of the DDM was Vance Walberg. He developed the offense while coaching at the high school level. After a successful run, he moved on to coach Fresno City Junior College in California. During Walberg's tenure, Fresno City used the Dribble-Drive Motion (known as AASAA back then) to accumulate an unbelievable 133-11 record between 2003-06. The team was 34-0 in 2005, using the DDM.
Walberg was hired to coach at Pepperdine University in the 2006-07 season. Pepperdine, coming off a 7-20 season, did not have the personnel required to run the DDM effectively in Walberg's only full season at the helm (he left due to personal reasons early in the following season). The team finished 8-23 in 2006-07. Here is a look at Pepperdine's statistical numbers in the pre-DDM season and the 2006-07 season:
Pepperdine 2005-06 (Pre-DDM)
66.0 PTS, 638-1556 (.410) FG, 381-563 (.677) FT, 121-383 (.324) 3PT, 10.4 AST, 15.1 TO
Pepperdine 2006-07 (Running DDM)
77.1 PTS, 840-1946 (.432) FG, 406-578 (.702) FT, 303-843 (.359) 3PT, 13.8 AST, 15.3 TO
Neither team was very good, but the first thing that jumps out to me is that the team's scoring average increased by 11.1 points a game using the DDM system. Their percentages increased in all shooting areas and the number of assists per game increased significantly. Losing 23 games while averaging 77.1 points would indicate that the team struggled mightily on defense, but the offensive production certainly improved using the DDM. Another number that really jumps off the page to me is that the DDM team shot nearly 500 more 3-point shots than the previous team. That would seem to hold with the theory that the mid-range game is virtually eliminated when running a true DDM system. The offense is designed to get driving, short-range shots or good looks from beyond the 3-point line.
A better case study can be performed using the Memphis Tigers. John Calipari implemented the Dribble-Drive Motion in the 2005-06 season following a disappointing 22-16 campaign. The offense paid immediate dividends. Now, I will illustrate the DDM's effectiveness by looking at four seasons running the DDM and the four seasons prior to running the DDM.
Memphis 2001-05 (Pre-DDM)
2001-02 27-9 NIT Champions
2002-03 23-7 NCAA 1st Round
2003-04 22-8 NCAA 2nd Round
2004-05 22-16 NIT Semifinals
4-Year Totals: 94-40
Memphis 2005-09 (Running DDM)
2005-06 33-4 NCAA Elite 8
2006-07 33-4 NCAA Elite 8
2007-08 38-2 NCAA Runner-up
2008-09 33-4 NCAA Sweet 16
4-Year Totals: 137-14
Memphis Statistical Breakdown
2001- 02 80.0 PTS, 1045-2276 (.459) FG, 608-912 (.667) FT, 181-501 (.361) 3PT, 15.4 AST, 14.4 TO
2002-03 74.3 PTS, 812-1878 (.432) FG, 462-706 (.654) FT,217-638 (.340) 3PT, 16.3 AST, 13.7 TO
2003-04 72.4 PTS, 736-1751 (.420) FG, 441-671 (.657) FT,259-722 (.359) 3PT, 14.2 AST, 12.8 TO
2004-05 71.4 PTS, 906-2139 (.424) FG, 644-942 (.684) FT, 248-746 (.346) 3PT, 12.0 AST, 14.7 TO
2005-06 80.0 PTS, 1035-2291 (.451) FG, 616-903 (.682) FT, 277-783 (.354) 3PT, 15.3 AST, 15.5 TO
2006-07 78.9 PTS, 1024-2249 (.455) FG, 592-953 (.621) FT, 278-792 (.351) 3PT, 14.5 AST, 13.3 TO
2007-08 79.9 PTS, 1143-2454 (.466) FG, 608-991 (.614) FT, 302-864 (.349) 3PT, 15.9 AST, 11.8 TO
2008-09 75.1 PTS, 979-2176 (.450) FG, 599-868 (.690) FT, 222-681 (.326) 3PT, 14.2 AST, 12.5 TO
Obviously, the first thing that I notice with Memphis is that they went from 22-16 running a conventional offense to 33-4 running the DDM. They went from early NCAA exits and NIT appearances to competing for Final Fours. In 2007-08, they were a few missed free throws away from a possible national championship.
From a statistical perspective, the offense improved in several areas. First, their overall points scored the first four seasons averaged out to 74.53 points a game. In four seasons running the DDM, the average increased to 78.48 points a game. The team shot over 45% from the field each season after Dribble-Drive Motion implementation. That is up from roughly 42% the previous four seasons. There was also a dramatic increase in the number of free throws attempted while running the DDM - again, this is consistent with getting the ball to the rim with more frequency.
What Have We Learned?
- The DDM is an effective offense that can dramatically improve offensive production
- The offense requires talented players that excel in with penetration and attacking the rim
- Solid guard play is a must for this offense to be effective
- The better perimeter shooters a team has, the more dangerous the DDM becomes
- The pace that the DDM calls for will require a deep bench
My Thoughts on the DDM at Kentucky:
- The Dribble-Drive Motion will give Kentucky fans the style of offense they have longed for
- Jodie Meeks could be an absolute stud in this offense
- Patrick Patterson could be even better than he has already been in this offense
- Players like Galloway and Liggins could potentially explode in this offensive scheme
- Darius Miller could be a Kentucky great in this type of system
- Non-athletic players will likely struggle in this offense
- Next season will be the most exciting season Kentucky fans have had in sometime
- The future is bright in Lexington
Article from Jody Demling
2009 Kentucky Boy's Roster:
Devin Adams Shelby Valley 6'10 Center
Darrin Ballou Adair County 6'8 Center
Josh Crawford Corbin 6'5 Forward
Andrew Donovan Franklin County 6'7 Forward
Chris Dowe Lou. Eastern 6'3 Guard
Ethan Faulkner Elliott Co. 6'2 Guard
Evan Faulkner Elliott Co. 6'2 Guard
Jacob Jenkins DuPont Manual 6'4 Guard
Larod King North Hardin 6'6 Guard
Leonard Macon Taylor Co. 6'6 Forward
Steven McFarland Boone Co. 6'5 Forward
Eric Mosley Lou. Moore 6'0 Guard
Jordan Reves Jeffersontown 6'10 Center
Corey Wilford Christian Co. 6'1 Guard
Ridge Wilson Lou. Central 6'5 Forward
Ellenwood inherited a 2-24 team, but compiled a 33-48 record in his three seasons at the helm. He guided the team to a 19-9 record this season and was named Presidents' Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. The Saints won their first-ever PAC regular season and tournament titles and also made their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
Thomas More will conduct a national search to find a replacement.
Thomas More Press Release
Walberg must have been a talented salesman because one of college basketball’s top-level coaches decided to implement Walberg’s AASAA offense after that conversation. Calipari added a few wrinkles of his own and started calling the system the Dribble-Drive Motion offense. He describes it as a wide-open, European-based offense that allows the players to attack the rim on every opportunity. He has called it “Princeton on steroids.” Calipari says that players love his system because it allows them to feel unleashed.
This offense is certainly very different than most other offenses. It is founded on dribble penetration from the perimeter players. There are no screens in the Dribble-Drive Motion and the post man actually runs to the weak side rather than posting up on the strong, or ball, side. The success of the offense is determined by proper spacing and driving lanes to the basket. When ran properly, the offense yields either layup or three-point attempts and virtually eliminates the mid-range jumpshots.
Calipari has added a few additional wrinkles to Walberg’s base system. In Calipari’s version, the team sometimes swings the ball around the perimeter before getting into the offense. Occasionally, he will have a player set a high ball-screen in an attempt to spring the point guard to the basket. Another wrinkle he has implemented is that he may allow his big men to rush the basket for a potential alley-oop pass.
John Calipari will bring the DDM offense to Lexington with him and he will be building the Kentucky Wildcats around his philosophy. It is hard to argue with his results to this point. He has enjoyed an impressive run at Memphis using the Dribble-Drive Motion.
Calipari’s offense is best suited for a certain type of player and its success is directly related to having the proper personnel. Several traits that are necessary for starring in the DDM are:
- Requires quick, smart and talented guards
- Relies on agile big men that can shoot form the perimeter and run down court
- Calls for a deep bench of talented players
- Needs good three-point shooters that can punish sagging man-to-man and zone defenses
Further research on the DDM:
- Several plays within the offense
- SI Article that details the Dribble-Drive Motion
- Some of the offensive sets that lead into the offense
- And of course, http://www.dribbledrivemotion.com/
Adapting the DDM to the current Kentucky roster:
1) Jodie Meeks: Meeks is coming off an All-American season, which is impressive considering how things finished this season. He is a great shooter and has a knack for getting into the paint and drawing fouls. Jodie is not a bad ball-handler, but that is probably his weakest area on the offensive side of the ball. DDM Outlook: If Meeks enters an offense that gives him true freedom and allows him to explode to the basket and/or get good, open looks from outside – he could go down as one of the Kentucky’s all-time greats.
2) Patrick Patterson: For the most part, Patterson was Kentucky’s only hope down-low this past season. I feel that he would be better suited at a power forward position, playing alongside a true center. He has shown that he has a nice outside touch and that the can get to open spot when facing the basket. DDM Outlook: Patterson could potentially excel in this offensive scheme. The offense would allow him to play a position that is a little more natural than he has been forced to play in his first two seasons. It will be exciting to see Patrick get up-and-down the court in a fast-paced offense.
3) Darius Miller: Miller came on strong near the end of this freshman season. He showed that he has plenty of upside and will be a nice player for Kentucky down the road. DDM Outlook: Miller would definitely be able to adapt to the new offense. He has shown that he has a consistent outside jumper and he has been one of the better players on the current roster at driving into the paint for short jumpers and layups. Miller is athletic enough to play in Calipari’s system.
4) A.J. Stewart: Stewart has been an interesting case study. It has been hard to determine what is holding Stewart back – himself or his coach? He appears to be one of the finer athletes on the roster, but somehow he managed to play very sparse minutes. A.J. has been an enigma and it is hard to predict his future. DDM Outlook: Stewart appears to be athletic enough to play in this system, but his career to this point leaves me with questions. His future in Calipari’s system is cloudy, but not impossible.
5) Michael Porter: I was proud of all the adversity that Michael Porter overcame last season. He has been forced to play a position that he is not naturally gifted at and he has overcome his inadequacies with heart and determination. He showed late that he can shoot the outside shot. DDM Outlook: I have to believe that Porter will have a difficult time playing significant minutes in Calipari’s system. He can shoot the outside shot, but he is not a great one-on-one player. If Porter stays for his senior season, he will likely be a role player that sees light minutes.
6) DeAndre Liggins: Liggins is a player that is hard to figure out. He showed flashes of brilliance in several games last season, but found himself on the other end of the spectrum more times than not. He appears to be athletically gifted, but seems to struggle with decision-making and staying under control. DDM Outlook: Liggins has the explosive capabilities that could make him shine in Calipari’s system. He has the speed and athletic ability to get to the rim and take advantage of the offense’s spacing. The question that remains is whether or not he has the basketball knowledge to pick up on the keys to success in the DDM.
7) Kevin Galloway: Galloway was the player that the fans called for all season and everyone felt he should have been playing more. Everyone, that is, except his head coach. Galloway is a physically gifted player, but his decision-making and jump shot has been suspect. When he makes the correct decision, he may be the best passer on the roster. DDM Outlook: Galloway has potential to be successful in the new offense, but he needs to work hard on outside shooting.
9) Josh Harrellson: Harrellson was reduced to a role player for the most part this past season. He showed a little promise with his outside jumper early in the season, but was unable to make a big impact once SEC play began. DDM Outlook: I think Harrellson will have a hard time adjusting to the speed that is required to play in the new offense. He will likely be a role player at best.
10) Matt Pilgrim: Pilgrim is rumored to be a heck of an athlete but he is yet to take the court for Kentucky. He has sat out his required time after transferring and is looking forward to playing next season. DDM Outlook: There are to many unknowns with Pilgrim to project what he can do in the system. If the rumors about him are true, he is a pure athlete and that will bode well for him.
11) Perry Stevenson: Stevenson started strong last season, went through a long slump during the middle of the season and then finished up strong. He has shown a solid jump shot but has been too weak with the ball around the basket to succeed against the bigger, stronger SEC big men. DDM Outlook: Stevenson would fair much better in a non-traditional offense that doesn’t expose his weaknesses so much. I am interested to see if he can play that post position off the bench for Calipari.
12) Landon Slone: I am including Slone in this conversation only because he received a fair amount of minutes last season. Some may argue that the former coach was using Slone merely as a motivational tool and that is certainly debatable. That being said, he played hard last season and gave the team some valuable minutes. DDM Outlook: I love a player that plays as hard as Slone, but I have problems believing that he can ever contributed in Calipari’s offense. Slone will be a minimal role player at best, in my opinion.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
UPDATE: Previous reports that Zollo had met with Calipari are false. He remains committed to Kentucky, but he has NOT met with the new coach yet.
Five other Kentucky recruits have decided to reopen their recruitment during the past few days.
"We sat and talked and prayed on it as a family," his father, Clay, said. "Dakotah just wants to play basketball somewhere and get a good education. He's just going to open things up right now and see what else is out there."
I see where John Calipari is poised to take the Kentucky job, and I think he’s a perfect fit for the Wildcats. John is a great recruiter and he loves the media. He will do a great job.
He loves the PR aspect of the game and he’s a great motivator. I can’t believe the salary they’re talking about, more than $4 million a season?
It’s been 31 years since we played them back there on their Senior Night when nobody else would. Before that game I had dinner with Joe B. Hall, their coach who was having a fine season, but the heat was on him all year long.
Win the national championship, or else. They were all over his case. He’s the one who built Wildcat Lodge, which initially housed the basketball players and was so luxurious.
It had big beds, the best food … then the NCAA changed its rules so athletes couldn’t get such better treatment than the average student. Joe raised all the money, but they weren’t going to call it Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge.
Joe was hurt. He felt like they were after him. He knew he had to win to keep his job. At dinner, I told him, Joe B., you know what I’d like to see you do?
I’d love to see you take the Tennessee job – it was open at the time – and tell them to shove it up their (bleeps). He went on to win the national championship that season for Kentucky, so they treated him well.
And the dorm is called Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge.
Orton is the top recruit in former coach Billy Gillispie's recruiting class for next season. KC Ross-Miller, G.J. Vilarino and Konner Tucker have all de-commited from Kentucky and reopened their recruitments. There has been no word on Jon Hood, who is Kentucky's Mr. Basketball, yet. There has also been no word on future commits Dominique Ferguson, Dakotah Euton, Vinny Zollo and Michael Avery.
My Thoughts: I think Calipari will work hard to get Daniel Orton to Lexington and will likely keep Jon Hood. I expect him to advise several others to de-commit and look elsewhere.
It is also very likely that several current Kentucky players will be looking elsewhere next season, as well. Calipari will be meeting current players soon and a roster shakeup is expected.
Like always, the alarm sounded early this morning. I went through my pre-day routine of hitting the snooze button a couple of times and using the extra time to think about the upcoming day’s agenda. My wife is out of town for a few days with her job, so the list is a little longer than usual this week:
- Get the kid’s ready for school and daycare…check!
- Get to work on time…check!
- Conference call at 8:30 a.m….check!
- Prepare for the Calipari press conference….
“Wait a minute. John Calipari will be officially announced as the Kentucky head coach at 9:30 a.m. I have to get going!”
With that thought, I hopped out of bed and was ready to attack the day. I was barely able to contain the excitement as I awaited the press conference that would shake the Big Blue Nation by its foundation.
I searched my list of favorite Kentucky basketball-related sites with a reckless abandon as soon as I sat in front of my computer. I broke down the threads on Bluegrass Preps to see if I could discover any breaking news. I checked out Kentucky Sports Radio to see what Matt Jones and his crew had to say about the day’s events. I hopped over to John Clay’s Blog to see what he was reporting. Oh cool, John gave me props for reporting Calipari to Kentucky on Sunday! I check Maggard’s site to see what he was talking about. I was a Big Blue junkie that needed my morning fix.
Based on my own experiences since the NIT loss to Notre Dame, I would boldly predict that work productivity was down on a statewide basis for the past few days. Employers may not realize why production has been lacking, but they should join the Kentucky fans in rejoicing John Calipari. Work may return to normal after today.
I maximized the Internet Explorer window that would allow me to view the live feed of the Calipari press conference. I noticed “9:27 PM” on my computer’s clock, and for no reason at all; I hit the refresh button three times in succession.
Finally, the video feed came to life and the cameras were focused on an open door. It was 9:30, but all the feed showed was various members of the media shuffling about. I waited nervously until Kentucky’s new coach made his way through the door. He had entered the door that would lead him to the top of the Big Blue Nation.
Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart opened the press conference. He detailed the hiring process and outlined the new coach’s contract – 8 years and $31.65 million with incentives. As if to illustrate that this coach was already ahead of the last, Barnhart made sure to add that this contract had already been signed. He listed various accolades that Calipari has accomplished and finished with, “he can flat out coach.”
John Calipari grabbed the audience and opened by stating that he is humbled to coach such a storied program. He immediately recognized Mr. Wildcat Bill Keightley and his family. He then mentioned that he personally called former Kentucky coaches including Tubby Smith, Rick Pitino, Eddie Sutton and Joe B. Hall. Next, he made references to Kentucky greats such as Kyle Macy, Rex Chapman, Dan Issel, Nazi Mohammed and Tayshaun Prince. At this point, I was already thinking that this man understands what it takes to be the coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.
He went on to add that he is just a normal guy.
“I'm a regular guy, folks. I do not walk on water."
He exclaimed that the program would be about the players first - that is quite a different philosophy from what we have seen the past couple of seasons. He will implement his infamous dribble-drive offense. He added that he would evaluate all players currently on the team and all players that have committed to the team. If they are able to assist in winning a national championship, he will welcome them with open arms. If they cannot contribute in his program, he will be honest with them and help them find a better future.
After hearing John Calipari speak, I found myself more excited about the Wildcats than I had been in a very long time.
I returned to work and tried to refocus on my task list. As the day progressed, I returned to the Internet to see what was happening. I tuned into a press conference in Memphis that featured the Memphis Athletic Director. I then listened to Calipari’s press conference from the front lawn of his Memphis home. I learned that he would immediately leave Memphis to visit Daniel Orton’s family and try to insure that Orton would be in a Wildcat uniform next season. I was excited that he was working on recruiting during his first day on the job.
Later in the day, I heard that the nation’s top player, Xavier Henry, had de-committed from Memphis and would reopen his recruitment. Could this mean that Henry will follow Calipari to Lexington?
Then, I read that Kentucky commits Konner Tucker, G.J. Vilarino and KC Ross-Miller have chosen to reopen their recruitments. My first thought was that the players have read the writing on the wall and decided that their best options may lie elsewhere.
Tonight, I learned that recruiting guru Bob Gibbons was reporting that point guard stud John Wall would likely commit to the Kentucky Wildcats before Monday. Wall could single-handedly fill one of Kentucky’s biggest voids next season.
In a single day, the Kentucky Wildcats have gone from mediocre to a potential top five team next season. The program upgraded from a Billy Gillispie that was probably in over his head to a John Calipari that is a top coach in the country. The Kentucky roster will likely be rebuilt and filled with a level of talent that has been missing for several years.
Tonight, I am wondering how the day could have been any better. As a Kentucky Wildcat fan, for the first time in a long time, it was a beautiful day.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Here is the story from TrueBlueKentucky.com
Konner Tucker Reopens Recruitment
Bob Gibbons from Rivals Radio is reporting that point guard sensation John Wall plans to talk to Kentucky head coach John Calipari and will likely commit to the Wildcats before Monday.
Wall has stated that he will not return to Duke for a visit.
“That was the reason he went there — the style of play, Coach Cal,” the elder Henry said. “I haven’t talked with (Xavier) since Coach Cal signed at UK, but I know Xavier won’t be at Memphis. Once I talk to him Thursday when he gets back from Florida, we’ll get an idea of where he’ll end up.”
Article from KYKernel.com
- He left because it was his dream to coach at Kentucky someday
- Players were angry that it happened, but not angry with Calipari
- He hopes that the program is better than it was when he arrived 9 years ago
- He has had many opportunities to leave, but never did; It was not about the money
He abruptly walked away from the press conference and walked into the house.
- Associate says this is very difficult for John; He will come back out when he regains composure
- He hopes the Memphis recruits will all stay at Memphis
- He does not mind being a second choice behind Billy Donovan
- Feels that the Memphis program will be just fine going forward
- Kentucky is, "one of those jobs that I would have left for."
- Says he was offered more money a month ago but rejected it because of the economic climate at the university (laying off professors, etc.)
- Talked to Rick Pitino for 5-10 minutes yesterday
- Going to Kentucky is easy; leaving Memphis is the hardest thing he's ever had to do
- Still watching the doorway for Calipari's arrival
- Barnhart, Todd and Calipari at the table
- Mike Pratt had a hand in the hiring process
- UK performed extensive questioning and background checking around the country
- 8 years, $35 million dollars; completed and signed
- "He can flat out coach." - Mitch Barnhart
- Calipari is humbled, but excited to lead this storied program.
- Recognizes Mr. Wildcat Bill Keightley
- He talked to Tubby Smith, Rick Pitino, Joe B. Hall
- Making references to Kyle Macy, Dan Issel, Rex Chapman, Tayshaun Prince, Nazi Mohammed
- "I'm a regular guy, folks. I do not walk on water."
- "This program will be about players first."
- "Our goal will be to make the entire Commonwealth proud of this team."
- Memphis reporter claims Calipari stated that he would not come to Kentucky; asks him what happened; he responds, "did I say that?"; says it is his dream to coach at Kentucky
- To Alan Cutler: "Did you chase that guy? Do you have tennis shoes on right now?"
- He wants the team to have fun
- States that he knows Jodie and Patrick but he honestly doesn't know the current team very well
- "Do they question coaches here?"
- He will definitely implement the dribble-drive offense
- 3 Keys to winning a championship: 1) have really good players, 2) have really good players, 3) have really good players
- Next season we'll have 12-13 players on scholarship; hopes players that signed at Memphis will go to Memphis
- "I do not throw kids under the bus at the first sign of trouble."
- Says he will watch every future commit and then be honest with them; If they are good enough to play and help win national titles, he'll welcome them; If they are not good enough, he will tell them
Here is the article from Maggard at TrueBlueKentucky.com
Congrats to Mr. Hood!
Article from the Courier Journal
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This was just announced by the Memphis Athletic Department.
I am still awaiting word on the flight and its arrival time in Lexington.
Calipari Text Message to ESPN.com: "I'm accepting the Kentucky job. Go Big Blue!"
- John Calipari has landed at R.J. Corman's private airport in Jessamine County
- TCP reports that Calipari HAS signed the contract
- Tyreke Evans of Memphis will enter the NBA Draft
- Nice Article by Gregg Doyel
- John Wall is now considering Duke
- 8 years; $31.65 million with $2.5 million as a signing bonus
- Coach Calipari will be introduced at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning at the Joe Craft Center
- All former UK players have been invited to attend the press conference tomorrow
I will be here throughout to give full updates.
Calipari Second Guessing?
UPDATE: There is a plane on the ground waiting for Coach Calipari. He is in a meeting with his team at the moment. Stay tuned.
UPDATE #2: John Calipari is coming to Kentucky!!!
The plane is expected to touch down in Memphis at 6:15 p.m.
Here is the article from My Fox Memphis:
Calipari Making a Tough Decision
The Infamous Plane Tracker
My Thoughts: I always love when the Kentucky coaching search involves anything having to do with a plane. This time, however, it appears as if there really is a plane heading to Memphis to pick up Calipari. I fully anticipate that Calipari will board the plane and leave Memphis in the sunset.
I have been unable to make updates until now as the admin page times out, as well...
Anyways, all signs point to an official announcement on John Calipari soon. The Memphis folks are all reporting that it is a done deal and most of the Kentucky media is hearing the same. I will have some updates soon - hopefully we'll be discussing an official announcement and the potential revival of the Kentucky basketball program.
"Mr. Calipari, Chuck Noland on line 2."
I guess we'll find out soon enough which forces are driving Coach Calipari to Lexington.
Here's the article:
Report: Calipari is Kentucky’s new coach
Several University of Memphis boosters, including FedEx Corp. executives, had been working to put together a package that would keep Calipari in Memphis. Some reports have valued the package at $7 million per year.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh
James Harden, Arizona
Stephen Curry, Davidson
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut
Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky
Jerel McNeal, Marquette
Terrence Williams, Louisville
Toney Douglas, Florida State
Sam Young, Pittsburgh
Sherron Collins, Kansas
Gerald Henderson, Duke
Earl Clark, Louisville
Orlando Mendez-Valdez, Western Kentucky
UPDATE: Another source feels strongly that John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Nolan Dennis may follow Calipari to Lexington.
Here are some sources:
My Article from Yesterday
Source: Calipari going to Kentucky
Memphis Requests Permission to Talk to Anderson
That is the statement made to MyEyewitnessNews.com by a member of this year's Tigers team following a team meeting with the coach. "Yes, we met with him. He was talking like he was going to leave," was the quote from the player who attended this morning's meeting.
Tigers Player: Calipari Probably Leaving For University Of Kentucky
"While Calipari did not say explicitly what he planned to do, players left the meeting convinced that Calipari would take the job. According to the source, Calipari told the team that Kentucky was the Notre Dame of basketball."
Source: Calipari meets with players, hints at departure
(1) Louisville 52
NCAA Tournament National Quarterfinal
Michigan State controlled the second half against Louisville yesterday and will be rewarded with an appearance in the NCAA Tournament's Final Four. For the Spartans, the road to the Final Four will be a short one, literally. They will travel approximately 90 miles from East Lansing to Ford Field in Detroit where they will face Connecticut in a national semifinal. The other semifinal will be a battle between North Carolina and Villanova.
Michigan State (30-6) was only up 30-27 at the half, but took advantage of cold Louisville shooting in the second half to stretch the lead. The Spartans were led by Goran Suton with 19 points and 10 rebounds, including 17 first half points. Durrell Summers added 12 points and Kalin Lucas chipped in 10 for Michigan State. The Spartans shot 46.2% from the field, including 8-16 from beyond the three-point line.
For Louisville (31-6), the story was ice cold shooting, particularly in the second half. The Cardinals shot only 38.3% for the game, including 6-16 from deep. The most disappointing stat may have been shooting 55.6% (10-18) from the free throw line. The Cardinals were out-rebounded 35-27 for the game. Earl Clark led Louisville with 19 points. Preston Knowles added 11.
This is a disappointing end to a great season for Louisville. They entered the tournament as the top overall seed and were picked by many to make the Final Four. Louisville coach Rick Pitino gave all the credit to Michigan State and Tom Izzo. He credited Michigan State for playing a physical, deliberate style that finally broke the Cardinals -- just as Izzo choreographed it.
Game Recap from ESPN
Box Score from ESPN
Tomorrow is another big day for Dad. He has been sedated all weekend and seems to be doing well for the most part.
He is scheduled to be awake and the ventilation tube removed in the early morning. He has had trouble twice coming off the ventilation tube and breathing has become difficult for Dad. I'm very anxious what tomorrow brings but I know the good Lord will keep his protective, patient hands over Daddy and help him through this.
Another thing that concerns me is Dad's bleeding. He has been bleeding out of one of the incisions in his stomach which causes concern for his blood being too thin; however, the risk is far greater for clotting in the bi-ventricular assisted device than the loss of blood.
In the past 5 days, Dad has had a platelet transfusion, and 3 units of blood transfused and may possibly need more. Any blood he receives causes concern(s). One of them being antibodies that might be rejected by his body. If this happens, then a heart transplant can not take place.
Each day brings something new and I know Our Almighty God will continue to be with us.
Again, I ask you to lift Dad up in your prayers.
Many blessings to you.
Continue Praying for Former Cat Mike Casey
Mike Casey Update
Prayer Request for Wildcat Great Mike Casey
Update on Former Wildcat Mike Casey
Here is an article by Andy Katz:
Source: Kentucky job on Calipari's plate
- Larry Vaught at the Advocate Messenger
- Stephen A. Smith at ESPN
- Doug Gottlieb at ESPN
- Commercialappeal.com in Memphis
- Jay Bilas at ESPN while speaking on Mad Dog Radio
- Gary Parrish at CBSSports.com
UPDATE: Add Cowherd to the list. He states Calipari to Kentucky is the right move at the right time.
My Article from Yesterday
Sunday, March 29, 2009
He said that he firmly believes Kentucky will be announcing someone from their "A List" as the next coach. He added that if he were a betting man, he would put his money on John Calipari from Memphis. He thinks that Kentucky targeted Billy Donovan as the first choice, but Donovan opted to stay at Florida.
John Calipari's career record is 446-140 in 17 seasons. He spent eight seasons at Massachusetts, where he was 193-71. In 1995-96, Calipari led the Minutemen to the NCAA Final Four and had a 35-2 record. He has gone 243-69 at Memphis, including an NCAA Runner-up finish in 2007-08.
UPDATE: Larry Vaught is reporting on Kentucky Sports Report that a meeting with Calipari “has occurred or will be soon”.
UPDATE #2: I'm not sure what type of connections he has at the college level, but Stephen A. Smith (ESPN) states that John Calipari "will" be the next coach at Kentucky.
UPDATE #3 - Breaking News - ESPN Radio is reporting that there is mutual interest between UK and John Calipari. ESPN Radio reports that Kentucky has asked for AND received permission to talk to Calipari. ESPN TV reports that Kentucky has not asked for permission to speak with Calipari. Here is a link stating that Calipari is on Kentucky's radar.
UPDATE #4: CBSSports is reporting that Calipari and Kentucky could meet Monday. Here's a similar article from the folks in Memphis.
Billy Gillispie is currently unemployed on the heels of a University of Kentucky press conference yesterday announcing that Kentucky basketball was going to take a different direction. The university’s president, Lee Todd, and Director of Athletics, Mitch Barnhart, teamed for the press conference to announce their decision. There has been speculation of a Kentucky split with the head coach for weeks and it seems as if the fan base was universally split on which path should be taken. On one hand, there were the Gillispie supporters who felt strongly that two seasons was not enough to get a true evaluation of a coach. The other end of the spectrum were those who felt that Gillispie just had to go for any number of reasons from bad coaching to bad personality.
The national media, of course, has thrown their two cents in on the situation. There has been talk of Kentucky basketball on basically every media outlet across the nation. I was surfing channels on Sirius during a long drive last night and it was really amazing to hear the Wildcats being discussed on so many different channels. I have heard the entire ESPN basketball gauntlet giving opinions on the subject. I have literally listened to hundreds of opinions on the subject of Billy Gillispie’s dismissal at Kentucky. One thing I have observed across the board is a disconnect in the opinions of those in the national media as opposed to those that are close to Lexington and the Kentucky program.
When the first news station, WHAS 11 in Louisville, broke the story, a breaking news message scrolled across the screen. It popped up on the screen, “UK Coach Fired,” indicating that the university’s administration had reached their limitations and decided they had no choice but to get rid of a known problem. As it turned out, WHAS was given a statement later that night that said Gillispie had not been fired and no decision had been made. Of course, we now know that there was a brief meeting between Gillispie, Todd and Barnhart the next day in which Gillispie was made aware of the decision to let him go.
After the meeting that spelled the end for Gillispie, there was a press conference held and Todd and Barnhart informed the public of their decision. After a few introductory statements, Barnhart stated:
“This is not a place I thought we would be at this point, or one that I would want to be. However, after long and deliberate discussions, President Todd and I have decided we must chart a new direction for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program. Unfortunately, there are times when a situation and the people involved simply do not create the right chemistry or right fit. It is our belief that is where we are and where we find ourselves with Kentucky basketball today. For that reason, we’ve decided to not bring Coach Gillispie back to lead our men’s basketball program. We firmly believe that moving in a different direction will be in the best interest of everyone involved with this program….”
Barnhart’s statements sounded as if he and Todd were backed into a corner that left them with only one decision – fire Billy Gillispie. The way I interpret the statements, they did not necessarily want to get rid of Gillispie, but they were in a very difficult situation and had to choose the lesser of two evils. Barnhart hired Gillispie, after all, and one would assume that his intentions were for the coach to succeed in abundance for many years in Lexington. It was obvious to me that Barnhart and Todd were in the camp of believers that felt Kentucky had to get rid of Gillispie.
Once word was out that Kentucky was canning Gillispie, it raced through the national media. I first saw and heard about it on ESPN. They immediately had a breaking news article on ESPN.com that read:
Billy Gillispie out as coach of Kentucky Wildcats in second season
The first thought that came to my mind as I clicked on that article is that they made sure to throw in the “second season” reference. I immediately knew that the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation should prepare for an all-out assault from the national media. That particular article began:
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Billy Gillispie thought winning at Kentucky would be enough, that adding a Final Four banner to the rafters at Rupp Arena would endear him to one of college basketball's most ardent fan bases more than any handshake, autograph or toothy grin ever could.
He won, but not enough. He shook hands, but not enough.
After just two years, Kentucky had had enough…
Notice how they make reference to “just two years” once again.
Next, the television analysts started chiming in. I listened as they all described the Kentucky fan base and administration as a bunch of basketball fanatics that run great coaches out of town. They beautifully painted Gillispie as a victim that had no idea what he was getting into with a program like Kentucky. There were several remarks about how twenty-two wins would get you an extension at many programs, but not at Kentucky.
I spent a few hours in the car last night and took the opportunity to listen to several sports talk shows on Sirius Satellite Radio. I ended up settling on most of The Gresh Show, hosted by Andy Gresh, on Mad Dog Radio. I listened to roughly fifty phone calls and probably forty-eight of them involved Kentucky basketball and Gillispie. Gresh and his loyal following basically described Kentucky fans as a bunch of hayseeds that are only satisfied with thirty-plus wins and a Final Four appearance. Gresh even stated that Kentucky was no longer a top ten program. Gresh felt that it was ridiculous to fire a good coach after only two seasons. Every single Kentuckian that called the show last night tried to explain that there was more to the story and that wins and losses were not the basis of Barnhart’s decision, but the host was having none of it. Again, it was the national media’s perception that the Kentucky fans have unreal expectations and we have once again chased a great coach out of town. The national media is off base on this one.
If the problem is not wins and losses, what could have possibly prompted Barnhart and Todd to dismiss Coach Gillispie after only two seasons?
As Paul Harvey used to say, since the Kentucky press conference ended, we have began to understand the “rest of the story.”
It has been common knowledge for sometime around the fan base that Billy Gillispie:
- Is not a great public speaker and many times appears quite abrasive with the media
- Is a pretty stubborn guy that is set in his own ways
- Uses some stern motivational techniques on his players
- Failed to sign a true contract for two years
- Struggled with relationships and speaking engagements that are expected of the head coach at the University of Kentucky
- Has provided two seasons worth or bizarre substitution patterns and unimpressive game strategies
- Watched Derrick Jasper transfer to UNLV and Alex Legion leave for Illinois
- Kicked walk on Dusty Mills off the team
- Had some strange altercations with ESPN’s Jeannine Edwards during a pair of halftime interviews
- Followed up the embarrassing Edwards’ stuff with a weird attack on Tom Leach
- Stated that he was not an ambassador for the university during the SEC Tournament
- Stated that coaching at Kentucky is just another job
A few of those things ultimately led to Gillispie’s demise, in my opinion - particularly the strange altercations with Edwards on national television and the idiotic statements about his job. Another damaging blow is the fact that many people believe Gillispie caused permanent damage to Jasper’s knee by rushing him back to competitive play too soon, which probably led to his departure.
The aforementioned issues could have probably been resolved through meetings and perhaps even a probationary period, but there were other problems that most people were not aware of. I feel that those unknown demons are the primary reason why Billy Gillispie is currently unemployed. The problem that surely caused the most concern was the brutal treatment of the Kentucky players.
I watched a couple of disappointing losses several weeks ago and I made the comment that Gillispie had “lost the team.” I had no facts to base that opinion on, but I could see something very noticeable with the team’s demeanor. I felt that something was very wrong behind the scenes.
It was rumored that several of the key players for next season would have transferred or gone pro if Gillispie remained at Kentucky. Only minutes after the press conference yesterday, Jodie Meeks’ father was quoted with some very strong comments:
"You don't want to throw gasoline on the flames, but, clearly, a lot of things happened behind the scenes that made it difficult for the kids to play basketball and focus on winning," Orestes Meeks said.
Of his relationship with Gillispie, the elder Meeks cited his son's UK record 54-point performance at Tennessee on Jan. 13.
"I got calls from every coach he ever had: baseball, basketball, all of them," Meeks' father said. "Except his current coach. His current coach never called. That said a lot to me. ..."
"When you start placing blame, tell them when the ship misses the harbor, do they blame the harbor?" he added. "I don't think it's anybody's fault but his own."
Then, Matt Jones at KSR passed along some insight that really makes me feel sorry for the Kentucky kids:
- Coach told Jodie Meeks in a number of games to stop shooting and decried him for his selfishness, even during his 54-point performance in Knoxville. He told Meeks he should quit on a number of occasions and even threatened to kick him off the team in his last game ever, in South Bend during the NIT.
- At halftime of one game, he forced a player to sit in a bathroom stall with the door closed during the entire break because he said he couldn’t stand to look at him.
- On more than one occasion, when a young player went into his office to ask for advice on how he could get better, he returned from the office having been berated by the coach and crying as he returned to Wildcat Lodge.
- On one road trip, a player who had been injured but was deemed to be too “soft” by the Coach was told to walk to the hotel from the arena, and only after teammates said that they would be get off the bus and walk with him, was he allowed back on.
- On another road trip, a player who felt the criticism was so strong that he locked himself in a room crying, while the team bus waited outside.
I talked to a few friends inside the program and discovered several other uncomfortable situations that were created by Billy Gillispie. I discovered that he was obnoxiously rude to many within the athletic department. He once told a worker that was simply trying to replace a light bulb in the coach’s office to “get out and return when the season is over.” In another instance, a new employee was being introduced to Gillispie. Before the conversation could ever start, Gillispie rudely exclaimed, “I don’t have time for this.”
I was told that he filled the entire department with negativity and the feeling that everyone near him had to “protect themselves from his fury.”
After looking a little more closely into the situation, it is easy to see why a change was necessary at Kentucky. The national media knows a different Billy Gillispie than the people in Lexington know. They see a great coach that has been wronged by a crazy fan base. We see a crazy coach that has wronged the University of Kentucky.
I will issue a friendly warning to any school that joins the national media’s idea of Billy Gillispie:
The smooth-talking Billy Gillispie that was answering questions during a press conference of his own this morning is not the same Billy Gillispie that coached the Kentucky basketball team. The man we saw this morning was the same deceitful being that slid under the Kentucky administration’s radar and planted a sneaky seed of negativity into the greatest college basketball program of all time. That seed quietly sprouted and grew roots behind the scenes. This season, that troublesome plant flourished and depleted the Kentucky basketball soil. Only now has that weed been pulled.
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03/29 - 04/05
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