Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wall’s final list: Duke, Miami, Kentucky

Former KU guard Thomas hoping for another chance in NBA


KU recruit Beal impressive at AAU tourney

Kansas basketball recruit Bradley Beal was impressive at a recent AAU basketball tournament in Lawrence.

The recruitment of’s No. 1-rated prospect appears to be heating up with a week left in the spring signing period.

John Wall, a 6-foot-4 senior point guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., has a final list of Duke, Kentucky and Miami, according to

Wall’s adviser and former AAU coach, Brian Clifton, told that Baylor, Memphis, Florida and North Carolina State were out. Kansas University stopped recruiting Wall on April 23 after the Jayhawks awarded their 13th and final scholarship to guard/forward Xavier Henry, and added another lead guard in non-scholarship player C.J. Henry. believes Wall’s recruitment is actually a “two-horse race between Miami and Kentucky.”

Kentucky recently signed five-star point guard Eric Bledsoe, while Duke has a clear opening at the point guard slot. Miami also is a serious option, reports. Coach Frank Haith has signed blue-chip shooting guard Durand Scott to go with soph guard/forward DeQuan Jones.

Thomas on top of NBADL: Former Kansas University shooting guard Billy Thomas is an NBA Developmental League champion for a second time.

The 33-year-old Thomas, who won a D-league title with the Greenville Groove in 2001-02, led Colorado to a 34-16 regular-season record and two-game sweep of Utah in the playoff finals in late April.

Thomas scored 27 points in an opening-game victory over Utah and followed that with 14 points in the championship game.

“Hopefully this is my last one. My career is kind of winding down. I’d love to finish it up in the NBA,” Thomas told the Denver Post.

Thomas, who had stints with the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers, averaged 16.1 points a game off 43.5 percent shooting during the NBADL regular season. He averaged 3.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.

In the playoffs, he averaged 17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Pauley renovations won’t affect KU-UCLA: KU’s basketball team, which played one of the first games in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion back in 1965, will be playing one of the last nonconference contests in the building prior to a $185 million renovation.

The Jayhawks will meet the Bruins in a Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Challenge game on Sunday, Dec. 6 at a yet-to-be-determined time on Nell and John Wooden Court. Construction work, which will include a new entrance, locker rooms for the men’s and women’s teams and 1,000 additional seats, will begin sometime in February.

The Bruins, who will return the game to Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse the following season, have not yet decided where to play their home games in 2010-11.

Michigan rumors not confirmed: KU officials had no comment Tuesday on Internet rumors of a possible home-and-home series with the University of Michigan. The Jayhawks, who reportedly will play the University of California next year in Allen Fieldhouse and return the game the following year, are looking for one more high-major team to play in a home-and-home that would start next season in Allen.

KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said he’s talked to numerous schools about possible home-and-homes.

KU officials don’t discuss matchups until contracts are signed.


waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

With a WEEK left in the signing period he cuts the 6 teams he should have cut MONTHS AGO.........

Now that he breaks into a house..... He gets straight with it.....

He wants to go Pro.... he chooses Memphis.... er.... Kentucky. He wants to learn to play "basketball".... he chooses Duke. He wants to be James McClinton.... he chooses Miami.

Ben Kane 10 years, 8 months ago

I hope he goes to Miami. Trust me when I say that UK fans are obnoxious enough already without Wall. It amazes me that they don't even make the NCAA last year and yet think they are the clear favorites next year. I can't wait to make 'em eat it!

Timmay97 10 years, 8 months ago

If Wall cares about winning a title and getting extreme exposure, he should sign with Duke. They already have a great team, TV exposure, play in a strong conference, and play twice in one of the biggest rivalry games throughout a year. I do think Duke is where he will excel.

Having said the above......who's gives a #$*!@

KU is the cream of the crop!

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 8 months ago

i think he'll go to Duke....seems to have had more and more contact with Coach K recently.....and i think he would have more impact there. we shall see.

Seth Peattie 10 years, 8 months ago

what about jail? did wall say anything about jail as a final candidate? if not, all three schools offer a number of opportunities for him to get his break/enter/burgle on!!!

what a tool!!!!!!!

also, kentucky can SUCK IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RockChalkGuy 10 years, 8 months ago

I, for one, enjoy reading about the goings-on in the college basketball world. Please keep us posted on these types of stories. There really isn't much news in the college basketball world during this time of year, so something is better than nothing.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I honestly think he should go to Duke. It's close to home and Coach K is one of the few coaches that can reign in massive egos. I hate Duke, but most players leave there as better people.

ottomark 10 years, 8 months ago

But everyone...How awesome is it that KU isn't even interested in John Freakin Wall?! It's a testament to this coaching staff -- to KU in general -- that we don't have room for this guy. Sorry John, park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told you that. Find another home.

KGphoto 10 years, 8 months ago

Dude plays H.S. ball in Carolina and has a chance to be the point guard at Duke. In a year that Duke is a dazzling point guard away from serious title contention. Yet he waffles, and considers Miami? This says all I need to know about the kid. Zero character. Zero charisma. Probably zero grades, which makes me wonder how Duke could be a possibility to begin with.

That said. If he bumps his head, gets slapped by a wise pimp, or otherwise comes to his senses and chooses Duke? Well, they're gonna be a tough out.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago


Duke is a private school, essentially like Yale and Harvard and Stanford and Northwestern and USC and Pomona and Reed and Carleton and Oberlin and Tulane and so on. George Dubya Bush graduated from Yale undergraduate, and Harvard B School graduate. Does that answer your question about whether Duke could make a place for John Wall, if it were to want him?

Derek Conway 10 years, 8 months ago

I hope he goes to either Duke or Miami. I would kinda like to see what coach K would do with a player like that because Duke doesn't get a lot of those types of players.

I would be pissed if he goes to UK for two reasons: 1. UK fans' heads are already about to explode from their cockyness. 2. I want to see Duke kick UNC's ass twice maybe three times next year.

RockChalkJayBlog 10 years, 8 months ago

" njjayhawk (anonymous) says...

When KU stopped recruiting Wall, the LJW should have stopped the stories about Wall. With KU out of the picture by their own choosing, who cares whether he goes to UK, Duke, or Miami? Let's hope we hear the last about Wall on this web page, unless he shows up opposite KU (in a UK uniform) on the basketball floor opposite KU in the national championship game next year.

May 13, 2009 at 5:53 a.m. ( permalink | suggest removal ) "

Good to know there are still obnoxious people posting on here.

The world doesn't revolve around Allen FIeldhouse.

Joel Hood 10 years, 8 months ago

How many OAD's have gone thru Duke? I remember Deng was a OAD, but I don't recall any other Dukies leaving after one year?

I doubt coach K would recruit a kid who poses academic problems - that just isn't his M.O. I know K hasn't had as much success recently, but I can't see him retooling Duke with soft-between-the-ears OAD's.

jabate - not to get overly political here, but didn't John Kerry have about the same GPA at Yale as GWB? So, actual performance doesn't always equate with what is foisted into the public perception. Just because Wall has Miami in his shopping cart doesn’t necessarily mean he has academic issues.

vmwskywalk 10 years, 8 months ago

If I were a betting man, and I am. I'd bet that Wall won't qualify academically for college. There have been several articles lately expressing those same views. Remember he is also a 5th year high school senior.

jayhawkerjoel - Jaybate is obviously jealous of "W". He mentions him all the time. I think he has a man crush going on.

STLJHawk86 10 years, 8 months ago

Jaybate, What does the private/public school distinction have to do with an academically challenged athlete gaining admission? Are you suggesting that a state school would somehow be limited in their ability to admit an underachieving student/athlete provided they satisfied the NCAA's minimum academic requirements (that are applicalble to all NCAA member institutions - private and public) compared to a private institution? Or was your post just a ruse to take a gratuituous shot at W? If memory serves W's college grades were on par with the intellectual giant Al Gore managed (I guess we can chalk that up as an "Inconvenient Truth"). Maybe you should stick to spinning yarns about something you seem to know more about i.e. "OkieBall'

Nick Cole 10 years, 8 months ago

Dear Posters,

This is not a political site. This is a site for Kansas sports. That's it. End of story. If you want to talk politics and bash current/former politicians, take your nonsense somewhere else. I truly enjoy reading others comments on these message boards until someone throws in some political and/or religious slam. It is really immature and annoying. All you are doing by saying these things is making yourself (and Kansas fans) look bad. So please, refrain from making an @$$ of yourself and the rest of us by leaving these comments elsewhere (preferably under a non-KU affiliated user name). Thank you.



100 10 years, 8 months ago

  1. Politics -- Robert Dole played Kansas basketball for Phog Allen before going to war.

  2. John Wall -- rumors are going around he hasn't been able to sharpen his pencil during the previous two ACT/ SAT tests he's taken. Apparently an unnamed coach (Rhymes with a delicious tiny oddly chewy dish from the sea) will be not only sharpening pencils for him, but will also be hanging out in the restroom during the test with a cheat sheet. Code word when Wall comes into the restroom will be uttered first by Wall -- "Pro" and the unnamed coach will then flush the toilet and clear his throat,grunting "Bãshun". Only after using his cell phone to call Wall for the 24,000th minute to indeed confirm that it is him in the restroom, will the unnamed coach slide a piece of paper under the stall, inscribed one + zero = zero. Confounded Wall will scratch his head and begin to walk out. Suddenly a gym bag slides underneath the stall. A couple bills fall out. The FBI enters the bathroom. John Wall, realizing he doesn't have to go to college and will be a number one pick, goes pro & UK's head coach is run out of town, just like the last 2.

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

Wall is good, but I question his decision making ability on the court. I think his decisions off the court are indicative of his ability on the court, indecisive! I like the talent and intelligence that Self has brought to KU. X, CJ, T-Rob, Withey and ER all have the ability to make decisive decisions. I'm impressed with their maturity and intelligence in life. I'm really looking forward to them playing together.

Ralster: Elijah took a KU jersey and teased the crowd in Kentucky during a game! But it was all in good fun. He was proud to be a Jayhawk in the boondocks of Kentucky!! LOL

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Bathroom humor aside, John Calipari truly does make the NCAA rules committee look like a bunch of fools.

Even finally coming out of the fray are Memphis fans who now openly admit how Calipari walks all over the NCAA rules (I've seen many claiming a certainty of him paying kids 40K for coaching at camp & extravagant cars etc). He even has recruits (who have now signed with UK) all over YouTube talking about having conversations with him during a non contact time.

It's strange to see Memphis friends of the ex Tiger players on the Memphis paper coming out with this stuff. Think back to when Roy left -- yes we were upset. And yes there ended up being a couple tick violations after he left.

But we knew for certain he was a clean coach. We would never claim any of the stuff that the Memphis fans are now saying.

An old lacrosse coach of mine used to say, " If there's smoke there is ALWAYS fire".

I still believe his simple credo, even more so in fact, decades later.

That's not to say that Calipari won't be able to continue to get away with it -- for all I know he'll never get caught. But the gun is definitely smoking, especially now, in the city that owns every collegiate sports record for cheating, including multiple point shaving scandals.

Calapari fits that place. And they've always been pretty good at keeping their distance from the NCAA unless something obvious is happening (like money falling out of a recruit's bag on an airplane in 1989).

Somethink tells me after reading some of thr Memphis fans commentd that Rose might very well be the next OJ Mayo/ Reggie Bush story.

The question is -- does the NCAA really pay attention until it's too late? Also -- does the rules committee really care about being made to look like a toilet that John Calamari is sitting on?

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

So far all I have heard is that he is a great ball player.... He made this one mistake and everyone jumps to him being a criminal and an Idiot.... I initially made the leap to jumping to the conclusion on this one and DEAD AIR...... Either it got swept under the rug or there was nothing to it anyway..... he will Qualify.... I very strongly doubt he will east ala Brandon Jennings.....

John Wall is not going to be our point guard next year..... That is a relief, we have Sherron .... but it does not mean he's not the type of guy Coach K wouldn't take a gamble on..... Remember, even if Wall's character is questionable ( which we have all piled on about since 1 indiscretion of a teenager ) COach K hasn't fielded a winner the last few years... In fact, with the exception of 1-2 years .... His Duke teams have been downgrading since his last title..... and this year's team wasn't just a guard short... they were playing singler at the post ( which is never good )

K can work this Kid..... believe me.... He can make this kid a star ...... even more so than he already is..... Kobe would have gone to duke had he not gone pro..... this kid has Kobe written all over him...... He could be STRONG and Formidable contention with the right peopl around him.....

Order of which i want to see him go....

  1. Miami.
  2. Duke.
  3. Kentucky.

With Pat Patterson waffling on the pros, that means Kentucky might just be as nasty as we are next year with Wall.... just younger..... and Yet because it's Kentucky and the Snake Oil Salesman... I cannot help but suspect them of tampering for some reason.....

Wall at duke would make them the ACC Juggernaut with the athletically gifted but yet very green freshman at UNC getting better as the year progresses ( Sounds kinda famaliar huh ???? Win a Title ... Lose your seniors have to rely too much on Young Freshman..... ) If we already didn't have the answer I would be sizing Roy and BIll Up this years team for Roy and Last year's team for Bill..... But seriously, no matter how bad they are... They wioll host the first two games of the Ncaa tourney in Charlotte ( alongside Wall and Duke ) and both will be sweet 16 teams.....

Wall at Miami gives another gun in the ACC..... Think McClinton but can drive consistantly..... and isn't as polished from 3...... He could miss the tourney all together He could be a FInal Four team..... WE won't know until March.... and frankly.... I can Wait until March.... WAY TOO MUCH HAWK LOVE TO GIVE BEFORE THEN.

STLJHawk86 10 years, 8 months ago

Dear Bleed

Regardless of your opinion on whether this forum (or any other forum) is an appropriate venue for policital speech, I find it interesting that you describe policy making (and the art of policy making known as politics) as nonsense (would you also include religion). And just to be clear, are you requesting no further posts or discussions of regarding NCAA policies (and the associated politics) regarding player eligibility, recruiting, etc. And what about KU policies and politics, are those off limits too? No conversation about points required for season tickets, allocation of tickets to boosters and students, etc. Under your rules could the name of John Wall's high school be mentioned, should discussion of Simien's current activities be for be forbidden. Speaking of KU, most of us took a class or two at KU that focused on your taboo topics (religion and politics) - Western Civ comes to mind. Should we request the Chancellor to remove offending classes from the catalog, after all on-campus classes and the students who are enrolled are pretty strongly 'affiliated with KU'

Maybe your general point has some merit but if you are truly interested in seeking change rather than merely slamming those that irritate you or disagree with you, I would suggest you rethinking how you frame the issue and reconsider making your request without resorting to name calling. Last, you might review the First Amendment.

Timmay97 10 years, 8 months ago

I just want you all to know........I feel the love! :-)

Joel Hood 10 years, 8 months ago


I appreciate your passion for KU sports, but I don't think you need to bring out the big rhetorical guns just yet. Typically, on this site when posters stray off topic, it corrects itself shortly. I haven’t seen too many (any?) posters usurp the primary focus of the KUSports message boards – at least none successfully.

Sorry if my prior post offended your sensibilities – I was just building on an earlier comment as it related to an analogy. But then again, as the famous Sgt. Hulka once said, “Lighten up Francis.”

Larry Smith 10 years, 8 months ago

You people do realize that Miami is a private school don't you? I am not really following the Duke/Miami, State school vs Private school thing.

If Elton Brand can get into Duke, then anyone can.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 8 months ago

To say Cal can't win the big one is completely false. He had us beat until a miracle brought us back from the dead. You need a little luck to win it all, and certainly don't need bad luck.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see UK win one in the near future.

Tyler Daniels 10 years, 8 months ago

I am torn 1. I want him to go to Miami, I am sick and tired of hearing all these Kentucky fans saying they are back on top with Cal and Cousins and whoever the other recruits that they got, and yet, they haven't even played a game yet and they think they are going to be Nat. Champs again cause they got a bunch of, just out of high-school, freshmen, coming in. 2. I want him to go to Kentucky so I can see the shocked funny faces that are on all the Kentucky fans when they don't win the Nat. Championship even though they picked up God Cal and all of his big mighty freshmen.

Either way, I could care less, KU = National Champions 2009/2010 (and I was thinking that BEFORE we get Henry just incase someone thinks I am a hypocrite for my "they think they are going to be Nat. Champs again cause they got a bunch of, just out of high-school, freshmen, coming in" quote. We were already loaded and Cole and Collins were coming back. Getting Henry was just icing on the cake)

IAHAWK 10 years, 8 months ago

Although I do not fully agree with Jaybate, and politics aside, there is something to their "private" program. I am not sure where I heard it, but Duke has a separate admissions office for their basketball team. Unlike every other student that is getting a degree from a prestigious school, the basketball team is getting a degree handed to them. Although I never want to take away from the possible brilliance of the Duke basketball players, there is no way in my right mind that a student athlete who plays basketball from October to April and then plays in summer league can graduate from any college in 3 years. The good, questionable, players from Duke did just that. I have no proof, only rumor, but how many of the KU athletes can graduate in 3 years. Even the GPA bench warmers take 4 years.

KU cannot claim to be angels I am sure, but we also aren't claiming to be Harvard, or Yale, or any other private school.

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

Look Comparing Dubya ( who himself sardonically commented on not being the greatest student ) is a crime then so be it.....

I think the point was... even the Ivies will let you in if you have the right pull in the right places..... John Wall fits that criterion for these three schools.....

bigbluebear 10 years, 8 months ago

Alright hello everyone my first post here although ive posted on several other sites by several other names. I kinda just came over here to clear the air a little and probably inflate some ego's a little. Ill start by saying yes i'm from Kentucky and a life long Kentucky fan. I like to think I'm slightly more open minded then some of my fellow fans. I have read this sight for a while and must give credit where credit is due the stories are good and the post are usually right on the same level. I agree that the UK fans are out of control right now but for a lot of them especially the younger ones who dont remember the late 80's. These last two years have been hell on earth.

As far as the hiring of Coach Cal maybe he can prove he deserves to be the coach and handle the pressures of UK, or maybe not. Either way he was as good of choice as any after the last two dudes we have had. Tubby wasnt that bad but Gillespie( probably spelled that wrong don't really care) is was and always will be a drunk, you say this is slander I saw him getting carried out of a bar in Lexington with my own two eyes so I in no way feel bad posting this. I ve read about Coach Cal's recruiting record and as a fan I have to hope he keeps it legal(crosses fingers) but either way he is a good recruiter.

Now on to the topic of the post John Wall. Who cares and a lot of Kentucky fans the smart ones anyways don't want him. Another big ego on a team that should already have plenty of those. A one and done nah no thanks no chemistry no building a dynasty. We recently signed Eric Bledsoe a ball smart, high basketball I.q. kid who has mad quicks and is always past first. Also can come in and start right away but will stay all four years the kind of player a b-ball dynasty can be built around our first real floor general in a very long time. So yes Mr. Wall please pick Duke or Miami or the Harlem Globe Trotters anywhere but Lexington.

This last thing I say hurts My soul all the way down, but I felt the KU program and the way it's built deserved this so here goes 2009-10 national champions will be KU no doubt. You all have size, experience, youth, and talent all at once along with an excellent coach who will be giving my UK Wildcats a very hard time for decades to come. So cheers to you all.

One last note Kentucky gets to elite 8 or final four Patterson and Meeks leave, our young'ens get some exp and we get some more recruits really watch for Kentucky 10-11. I had to say that lol I am a die heart Kentucky fan lol

10 years, 8 months ago


Very interesting stuff. I will say, I believe Julian Wright was on pace to graduate from KU in three years had he stuck around for his junior year.

bigbluebear ~

If you are a UK fan, you sound like a level-headed and reasonable one. It takes a lot of humility to post what you did. Good luck to you and your team in the coming years.

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

Blue- we are equal oppurtunity fans but always Ku First.... thanks for coming to our site and being respectfull.... too many others are not as kind as you were.....

May you be blessed With Wall's talent and success or not blessed with his imbecilish decision and one and done ness..... May we all ( because I have yet see a Jayhawk Fan come out and say he's legal ) ( Ps... He was one of our boys back in the day when we had Recruiting violations ) be wrong about Calipari.....

Have fun in the land of Whiskey and Ashley Judd.... Look forward to a renew out there... we need someone to steal some recruits away from roy and rick.... but not us.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

"Two Linked Cinqauins for John Wall"

John Wall Where U Go I Will Follow Without much interest Because...

I know KU has X Henry Now And the Ring of Madness Next Year

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Bigbluebear-- 1. what did your gut tell you about Calipari when he was at Memphis? 2. Why do UK fans seem to forget what they said about him before? 3. Why are your fngers crossed on Calipari? 4. Why did your school (one of the only blue bood programs besides UNC that we actually respected, have to grab the one guy who could turn your entire fanbase into a bunch of morons?) 5. Where did all of the intelligent fun to talk basketball UK fans go to?

bigbluebear 10 years, 8 months ago

I made my post and well was going to leave it at that but some good questions were raised here so why not. First of all go Wildcats(sorry had to its in my heart you all should understand that) anyway Kentucky has had it rough since Pitino, not saying we didnt have a few good years even going to final four once in Bogans senior year. I think that has had a lot to do with the down turn in attitude overall here at Kentucky. Honestly it disappoints this life long fan that with such little amounts of failure could cause such passionate fans to loose there minds. As far as the questions raised by 100 here we go.... 1.I'm not worried so much about what he did at Memphis I can't be they already hired him(Billy Donovan should be our coach) but he has a good thing going cant blame him. I just hope if there were any violations which wouldnt surprise me he will realize he doesnt need to do those things in Kentucky to get recruits much like Kansas and Unc we are royalty in college basketball.

2.All I can say to this is desperation and lack of patients...Hope can cause short term memory loss aparently.

3.Why do you think he gets almost too many recruits but I have to support him cause one way or the other he is our coach. I cross my fingers hoping he's keeping it legal or slick as hell at not.

  1. I can't blame Cal for this one. The drunk era in kentucky as I like to call it did that. Gillespie and his NIT performance=instant moronism.

  2. Well I would hope to think that I would fall into the intelligent or at least level headed category and were still here just kind of in shock at all that has went down. Maybe best explained by taking a back seat and just waiting for a true reason to resurface.

I will end this and say I do like this website its informative and well written with some intelligence associated as a Kentucky fan at this point I'll do anything for some reasonable conversation at this point. If Cal does keep it legal and does keep getting recruits like he is we will be good, hell were already better. Once again I must state I really hope we dont get Wall. Dude is a walking violation with a felony attached be happy with Bledsoe he will be our current and future court general. Once again I must give on going respect to the jayhawk nation and the way there program is built. On going good luck and maybe one day kentucky will get it right as you all have. Cheers on your upcoming national championship and hope to see you in the finals sooner rather than later.

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Nice stuff BigBlueBear.

I think you're right about Donovan -- I find it hard to believe he didn't take another shot in Lexington (of course referring to asst coaching stint there).

Bring some more of your good people on -- tradition is what it's all about -- we are the two programs with the closest ties to it's origin.

By the way, do you think UNC will catch you next year? That's a remarkable record and in my book soooo much bigger than UCLA's decade of championships.

bigbluebear 10 years, 8 months ago

First of all thanks for the welcome and the intelligent conversation been a while since ive seen it. Almost didnt know how to react! Anyways with Unc reloading which they did sucessfully but anyways with big Pat Patterson coming back to school those freshman coming in, I dont think they will catch us. As long as Cal stays on the right side of the rule book and doesnt get wins taken away from us a few years from now we should stay on top. If Meeks comes back to help Patterson bring along the young talent we have, which we do have a considerable amount of and Wall doesnt come and try to run the show and ball hog all over the place for the benefit of NBA scouts we should be fine. Also Cal does need to prove himself in the big game on the big stage but that wont affect the main part of the season. We will start off slow with the freshman and a new style by the end however we will make it to the dance. Win a game maybe two sweet 16 tops. Kinda depends on our overall seed and how long we can stay away from you all Michigan St. or teams like Villanova.

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Big Blue Bear,

One more thing since you were so candid -- I really have a hard time believing how "desperate" once proud Kentucky seemed to be to get Calapari.

Pitino would have made sense. But Calapari, nationally, is a huge black eye with a 32 million dollar paycheck. I was really surprised they didn't take a more patient route and hire somebody who really knew Kentucky like Travis Ford. Patience was absolutely the key.

The chance of this backfiring just seems way too likely. (I almost hope I'm right because if you guys are as respectful as I remember growing up, I want you guys to get a real, true bleed blue coach).

Thanks for all your comments & your candar has been refreshing.

bigbluebear 10 years, 8 months ago

At the current time and the current state of affairs in Kentucky like I posted earlier Donovan was the only correct answer I truely believe that. As long as Cal doesnt get us put on some major probation for recruiting violations or something in that neighborhood he is as good as anyone else. Pitino would never come back although that would have been a great great day. He's looking to move forward not repeat the past. Honestly he could have done nothing but fail the expectations would have been out of this world or beyond. As for Travis Ford or Pelphry down there at Arkansas I hope they come home to be a continuation or a savior depending on the situation, however at the current time there not ready. True they really do bleed Kentucky blue and would have understood the mistique of a job such as Kentucky, Kansas, or Unc. They both need more experience and improved recruiting connections(the legal kind). It was either Donovan or bust really but he said it plainly which made me respect him more, that his family loves Gainesville and hes worked his butt off to get them where they are. Why come to a school on the decline with out of the world expectations? Doesnt make since does it. I'm looking at it like this let Cal get his recruits hope for the best dont get put on probation, hell maybe he suprises us all and we win the big one. If he fails miserably maybe we get back in good enough circumstances that a Donovan or Izzo will come who would also have been another excelent choice. But like Donovan he is at home in Michigan St. Things will work out ill give Cal the benefit of the doubt for now and hope for the best. If he keeps us out of trouble he is a good choice and can only improve our current situation. I previously posted this and I believe it any short cuts he took in the past wouldn't be necessary at Kentucky the draw of the tradition and facilities is big enough. I'm tired and rambling sorry about that Long story short Kentucky just wants wins after the last few years and how ever he does it he has always won, on top of the fact that patient or not nobody wanted the job too much pressure to many holes in what we had.

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Good stuff Big Blue Bear.

I would've built with someone with connections to the program that the fanbase (not only yours, the entire nation) didn't mock at Memphis -- but your points make sense for the short term, pay some money, get some recruits, hopefully pick up some W's (like you said barring probation) -- I had no idea it was so miserable with Gillespie.

Thanks again for the Candar. One thing both UK & KU fans know deep in our hearts --there's nothing like a packed gym cheering about a ball going through a hoop.

speedy 10 years, 8 months ago

nice illtell. comments blue bear. thank you. why is it that UK never admits Adolf Rupp was a Phog Allen player way back when? been up to vegas for a few days. never found a mention on Q. Thomas and where hes transfering to. anyone know?

rcjh22 10 years, 8 months ago

I would think he is too stupid to play at duke

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

On UK and KU...

A lot to be learned about the dynamics of organizational excellence from comparing the geneologies of the KU and UK basketball programs, since Phog Allen was unceremoniously, and wrongly, forced out and denied the opportunity to coach Wilt Chamberlain.

Allen, like Rupp at UK, was at KU for an enormous length of time; enough time to create a substantial node of power in the university bureaucracy, its politics and its finances. Allen became a basketball bureaucratic hegemond of a kind in KU sports. Rupp did the same, perhaps even more so at UK. And Allen became an osteopath, so he had some FU money outside the university. I know little about Rupps outside finances, but he was probably not called the Baron entirely for basketball. Allen was a big doer. He got the football stadium built in the distant past. Building anything always makes a lot of friends (the guys that get the contracts) and a lot of enemies (the guys that didn't get to build something else and those that didn't get the contracts to build what was built). I have to assume the same occurred for Rupp. Allen won big. He had a few down periods and survived them. He had a big hand in getting Allen Field House built, though it didn't get finished until after he was forced out. I have to assume some similar pattern for Rupp.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Persons like this make powerful friends, and powerful enemies. And the longer they last, the more of each they make. And all the time they are making them, their very durability (career longevity) is making it so the organization (the university and alumni) is being prevented from having to make many incremental equilibrating and reconciling changes over a long period of time that other organizations internal instabilities are forcing them to deal with constantly. Put metaphorically, a lot of steam pressure from increasingly polarization and deferred political change is building up inside the organizational pressure cooker the longer these 30-40 career legends like Allen and Rupp last. Then, late in their careers, even the most bureaucratically and politically saavy players among them see their power dwindle. Oh, they still have a few teeth in their heads and a few friends down town, so to speak, and they are lauded and revered publicly, but, like King Lears, they face the inevitable problem the lame duck--the leader who has a short time to go and so no more chits in the future to hand out to keep bureaucratic competitors at bay. Sometimes they go out ceremoniously, sometimes not, but they all go and they all try to simultaneously try to clear their wakes and reward their friends (for in 40 years a person has made a lot of friends and enemies that have to be thought of), and the university, which has for so long not had to make any really tough decisions about the basketball bureacracy, goes along with the hiring of someone close to the departing legend as a path of least resistance strategy in the gaping maw of the entrenched, polarized forces in the bureaucracy about what to do.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

After Allen, KU hired his right hand man, Dick Harp, a highly accomplished and respected assistant, who seemed an elegant fit of continuity, especially with Wilt Chamberlain needing to be accomodated. But the problem with Harp is not that he was a bad basketball coach. It was that he was not Allen. Politically, he lacked the elaborate set of friends and enemies that Allen had built up over time to create the strategically equilibrium in the KU bureaucracy to weather bad stretches. And Harp, having learned under Allen during this period of strategic equilibrium, had no training, or experience, or time to learn, about how to craft a new strategic equilibrium in the power vacuum that was created when Allen left. Further, power players, like Allen and Rupp, rarely groom top assistants with the bureaucratic saavy necessary to become and stay the big kahuna, because they know that doing so would be creating a potential threat to themselves. Further, the university administrator, and the enemy alumni, that have been so long outmaneuvered by the legendary basketball coach, are usually the some what stereotypical nutless bureaucrats who care less about basketball excellence than about easing incrementally back into control of the basketball program. The chancellor sees a Dick Harp as a low risk, known quantity, without the political network necessary to overpower the chancellor, and yet with the ability to keep the friends of Allen happy. The enemies of Allen are further angered, but have endure yet another coach they do not want. So, ironically, the dynamics of organizational behavior of the university administrator and the polarized factions and the head coach and top assistant conspire to put a person in charge of the program who is very often utterly qualified as a basketball man in some ways to become the head man, but utterly unsuited to play the game of bureaucratic power brokering that is essential to be played in order to give the basketball coach the power necessary to impose basketball excellence on a bureacracy that usually doesn't give a hoot about excellence. Are you with me so far?

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Usually, a top assistant of a legend, when he rises to head coach, is blessed with some great talent. Harp had Wilt. Joe B. Hall had no individual like Wilt, but he probably inherited more talent. Both Harp and Hall, top assistants to their legendary mentors, had some success after replacing their mentors. Harp's success came suddenly and catastrophically with a bitter pill of loss to UNC in the finals his first year. It was all down hill after that for Harp, who could not attract a critical mass of talent, though he landed a few very good ones in Bill Bridges and Wayne Hightower and Jerry Gardner among others. Soon Harp was turned into a caricature--the too nice to succeed Christian. The nice guy who couldn't get it done. And Harp quickly found that friends of Allen were just fair weather friends of Harp. And the bureaucratic and alumni enemies of Allen were just as devoted of enemies of Harp. It is an unfair--analysts call it an asymmetric--aspect of organizational dynamics, but quite real. Joe B's was a slightly slower build, but he too got a bitter pill runner-up finish to UCLA in 1975 just a couple years after taking over.

Fortunately for UK, Hall proved the better recruiter, and perhaps the better organizational in fighter, and one would have to say, the better coach, and improved UK's fortunes steadily despite rampant criticism among UK alumni that Joe B was a big, uncharismatic dolt, who had no business running the storied UK program built by the Baron. And Hall rose to the heights in 1978 and got them a ring with a tremendously tough, physical team with a couple superb perimeter players. But they didn't really run the way the Baron's teams did.

Hall was a basketball man and he knew the game was changing to a more physical style and he was, frankly, just ahead of his time...and never got credit for it. He was also a realist about Wooden at UCLA. Despite all the talk of speed and grace of UCLA basketball, it was the tremendously physical and athletic play of UCLA's big men that was changing the game long term. The full court zone press would be quickly jettisoned. Even the running game would be marginalized in time.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Hall knew the history of the game. He knew from Rupp that Wooden was a disciple of Piggy Lambert at Purdue and that Lambert had, long before Wooden, combined the running game with big bruisers inside. Hall foresaw where all this was headed, even though he came up in the more purely race horse tradition of Rupp's style of play. He also knew that Wooden's game was also greatly influenced in philosophy by Hank Iba. Wooden said so. And UK had to play Indiana, because it was a rivalry, and he knew that young Knight was combining Iba philosophy with high contact Big Ten ball and winning big.

Joe B was no dummy despite what the UK alumni thought. But even winning rings with a perfect adaptation of basketball strategy to contemporary factors and talent on hand does not solve the problem of a good coach following a long timer legend. The factions remain out of equilibrium. The friends of the Baron are not as friendly to Hall. The enemies are just as opposed as they were to the Baron. And the chancellor is playing one off against the other to get control of everything.

Joe had a minor, reasonably expectable slump after the ring in 1978. And UCLA had set the standard of excellence so high that the crazy alumni were running around saying UK has to be as good as UCLA had been, or its just not good enough. And to make matters really tough for Joe B, Louisville had hired Denny Crum from Wooden and it turned out that Denny Crum was darned near as good as Wooden was himself. Right in the heart of Blue Grass country, suddenly Joe B had to the two best coaches of the generation--Denny Crum and Bob Knight, making his success look like a country bumpkin's luck. Louisville had all those guys that could jump out of the gym. And Indiana had this new breed of Big Ten butcher ball crossed with Hank Iba. And here Joe B keeps winning at UK, wins a ring, and no one gives frumpy old Joe B any credit at all. Life wasn't fair again.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Back in Larrytown, Kansas, KU's factions had been axing Harp and replacing him with yet another absolute compromise in Ted Owens. Ted, though a very fine basketball mind and an equally fine man, promptly turned KU basketball into the basketball equivalent of three yards and a cloud of dust, and apparently, the reincarnation of Bruce Drake ball in the palace of all that is holy and good with Naismith the Father and Allen the Legend--Allen Field House. Ted was a good coach that he could get KU back at least to winning Big 8 titles and occassionally making runs in the NCAA. But Ted, like Joe B, was working in the enormous shadow of Wooden's string of rings, and getting beat by him, too, as was everyone else. And Ted, like Joe B, was trying to craft a game in which some big plodders paired with a few great athletes on the perimeter could reliably carry a team to 20+wins year in and year out until this damn Wooden retired and life could get back to normal. And Ted, like Joe B, was dealing, albeit less directly, with the rising stars of Knight and Crum.

Ted lasted a relatively long time--1964 to 1983, but Ted could never win the ring and his 66% winning record had many valleys and many under-performances. The alumni dogs were howling and on his scent even more ferociously than they were on Joe B at UK, who lasted at UK from 1972-1985, again a comparatively long time given the forces against him. Ted survived as long as he did only because the factions at KU had sunk into what I like to call a Do Nothing Equilibrium. DNE's occur when the blood is so bad on both sides that neither side can seize power without being able to fully impose its will on the other in terms of who the next coach will be, and so a weak knee-ed chancellor can hold both sides at bay simply by doing nothing himself.

But eventually the factions find a crack in the other's position, or more often just go insane and act stupidly and impetuously together, and demand the coach be removed, thinking that somehow in the chaos of the situation, each side will some how gain the advantage and get the coach they want. During a sacking following a DNE, both factions with legacies back to the legendary coach (Allen at KU and Rupp at UK), experience a kind of collective delusion that nothing could be worse than what they have and the other faction is believed to be so stupid that it is okay to ally with them temporarily, so that my faction can out smart your faction in the new coach selection process.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Joe B existed largely in a DNE despite his ring. His record of 297-100 at UK, or winning 3 out of 4 games he coached, despite a couple great teams, was just not good enough to keep the factions at bay and he just did lack the bureaucratic chops and powerful friends necessary to build his own fiefdom in the power vacuum that Rupp left. They wanted his head throughout his tenure.

So the DNE ends at Lawrence in a negative unification of the factions and an orgiastic sacrifice of Ted Owens that quenched a blood lust that had built up between 1957, Harp's first year, and Owen's last--1983. Harp's sacrifice was not enough to quench the factions. Owens had to be sacrificed, too. Owens in a very real sense was also fired to help the two legacy factions continue their long slow process of fitful, conflicted reunification long after the retirement of the legendary Allen.

Quite the same occurred for Joe Beasley Hall, but he was not fired per se, as I recall. He was encouraged to "retire," i.e., forced out. But Joe B was not forced out, because he was no good. Nor was he forced out, because he was not good enough. He was forced out, because the factions created by Rupp over 40 years had to finally go through a ritualized realignment and Hall was the designated martyr. He had a good run. He probably was ready to retire regardless, because of age. But he was forced out, as part of the cleansing sacrifice offered up by both sides to the basketball gods.

Well, it so happened that Joe B. had been studying Eddie Sutton over at Arkansas and he knew that Eddie had the next great advance in basketball--70 point take what they give us. And so while Joe B lacked the bureaucratic clout to tame the stallion of the UK organization (i.e., bureaucracy and alumni) and stay in the saddle, as his own Baron, he could and did have enough clout to personally encourage, or at least pass blessing on the hiring of Eddie.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Hiring Eddie Sutton seemed an absolute stroke of genius at the time. He had had some great teams at lowly Arkansas and good ones at Creighton before that. He coached a brand of Iba ball that seemed light years ahead in philosophy and schemes to what Bobby Knight at Indiana was coaching across the river, and he seemed to have found a way to take the Iba tradition in a different direction than the great Wooden had done in LaLa Land and what Crum was doing in Crumdeville Louisville. Joe B seemed to understand that then and there was the right time to make a complete break with the Rupp tradition; that the factions could unite under an outsider and that his beloved UK (Joe played on a UK NC and coached one, too) could move on once and for all from the vissisitudes of civil war among the factions. Eddie was even a Kansas boy just like Rupp. And somewhere in the arcanity of the living myth of UK basketball (the only other school in the nation that can be said to have a program that is a living myth other than KU, for reasons even yours truly cannot penetrate the mystery of), there can be no doubt that some yin and yang was playing out. Eddie was, after all, blood brother of Don Haskins, and part of the great triumvirate of Iba assistants (Jack Hartman being the third)--the apostles of Oklahoma Hard Scrabble basketball--that spread the modernized Iba game across the landscape of what might be called the beginning of the modern era of college basketball. And it was Don Haskins, The Bear out of UTEP aka Texas El Paso aka the first college basketball team to start five African Americans and win a ring by beating Rupp's still all-white UK basketball team with the great Louis Dampier and the not so great Pat Riley, if I recall correctly.

Note--Digression: pause for an ecstatic, tangential insight!!!! Pat Riley maybe the closest surviving living, working thread of the Phog Allen tradition of play, if as some say, that Rupp's running game was actually very much a part of the Allen Ball tradition!!!!!!!!!! Pat Riley!!!!! Quick! Let's invite, Mr. Slicked Back Intensity to a little party in Lawrence for him. Pat your Grand Daddy!

Now enough digression...back to Eddie and the perfect fit that came unthreaded.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

People forget that the perfect fit started out just fine in deed...on the surface. Eddie promptly went 32-4 and got to the Elite Eight. It made a lot of people on the outside think UK made the right hire at the right time, but on the inside the old pro and anti Rupp factions were warring over control and using the fact that Eddie should have gone all the way with the talent that he had, as an excuse for feuding along Rupp legacy lines. The next year Fast Eddie rebuilt at 18-10, thus committing the cardinal sin at a big time program--never fall below 20 wins, even if you have to schedule nothing but cupcakes to do it, even if you have to play morons to do it, even if you have to play guys you don't like to do it. The factions began to call for Fast Eddie's head. The third year Eddie showed his stuff again going 25-5 with less than a full deck and getting to the Sweet 16. But the factions now smelled blood in the water and no matter what Fast Eddie did it could be bent around into being inadequate by one faction, or the other, neither wanting to appear less gung ho about UK getting back on top than the other. The dynamic plays out in national politics all the time. The USA is Afghanistan and Iran, not because it ever made sense, but because the factions competing for control of USA didn't want to be out done as the most ferocious and gung ho chickenhawks about making America great again after 9-11. Instead of sending the police, or the CIA to apprehend Osama bin Laden, the two warring factions kept raising the rhetoric until both sides had to send two armies into two countries to fight armies that could be snuffed out in a few weeks...but never catch Osama bin Laden in a million years. This is what warring factions, factions arguing over legacy control of a power vacuum do. They do stupid, stupid, stupid things, if some smart inside player cannot get inside the process and tack it hard away from the course of stupidity. In Kentucky, that person never surfaced. In Kentucky, the warring factions eventually prevailed.

They prevailed in the fateful 1988-1989 season--Eddie's last in Lexington.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

People forget that the 1988-1989 season had the ear marks of what could have been another very, very good season, possibly even a great season. Had all gone well, UK would have started--get this--Rex Chapman, Eric Manuel, new recruits LaRon Ellis, Chris Mills and--get this--Shawn Kemp. In short, UK would have had the best starting five in the country. Coaches and programs were still feeling in the dark about early departures at this time in basketball. No one knew yet how to create continuity in programs in this time of early departures and guys changing their minds and jumping straight to the L. So Fast Eddie is felling top of the world until Chapman decides not to come back, Eric Manuel was found to have had his grades "assisted," and Shawn Kemp decided to go straight to the pros. UK which was already on probation for cash payments, suddenly was facing the death penalty over Eric Manuel, and found itself with nothing to put on the floor but Ellis and Mills. Fast Eddie went 13-19, finished 6th in the SEC, and went down whiskey river without a paddle. UK got 3 years probation and 2 years no post season. The famed UK AD Cliff Hagen and Eddie got canned. Eddie said he failed to supervise the program closely enough, but denied responsibility for any of the wrong doing. He went on to have a great coaching tenure at OSU without blemishes or substantial improprieties. Cliff Hagan disappeared from D1 athletics, as nearly as I can tell. In retrospect, Eddie came out of it looking like a drunk who went on a binge after flying into a den of Hagen corruption that had preceded Eddie under Hagan and Joe B. The warring factions were out of control. Hagan, it seems now, was riding a tiger. Neither the pro Ruppies, nor the anti Ruppies, could resist the competition of winning at all costs and Hagan apparently had just enough clout to smooth it all over so that it was out of public view.

Meanwhile, and backtracking just a bit, back in the Father Land, back at Lawrence on the Kaw in 1984, KU's warring Allen factions were dealing with quite a different kind of contextual problem. KU had, under the reign of Owens, become a joke, the doddering old Daddy that every son had eclipsed and was increasingly embarrassed to say they were the son of. UK had, by hook or crook under Hagan and Joe B won a ring and gone toe to toe often with the best in the country. KU increasingly had trouble finding blue blood programs willing to schedule home and homes.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

But unlike at UK, where the warring Ruppisti and anti Ruppisti factions seem to unite behind a Cliff Hagan, of apparently somewhat easy virtue, another kind of former player turned AD surfaced at KU. He was at once a very clever and adroit and audacious man masquerading as just your regular old Jayhawk kind of guy: Monte Johnson. Johnson apparently surfaced and saved KU from its warring pro Allen anti Allen factions at least momentarily (nothing is forever): Monte Johnson. While the warring factions were warring, Johnson slipped under the radar and attracted someone that no one considered anything but the remotest of possbilities: Larry Brown.

In Larry Brown, KU landed an even greater coach in many ways than Eddie Sutton. Larry had no monkey. Larry, though still young, knew everything there was to know about basketball. Larry was a great bench coach. Larry was one tough little street urchin from the Apple. Larry knew how to get the better angle on everyone and every thing. And some how Monte Johnson understood that despite all the NYC shine on the koshire apple from Gotham that everyone was sure wanted only UNC, or UCLA, well, Monte Johnson figured out that Larry was actually a legacy oriented guy. He figured out the tradition meant more to basketball's man of the book than anyone ever fathomed. Monte figured out that if you gave Larry a chance to coach where the college game was invented, at the place where Naismith started coaching it, at the place where the first great coach coached, that Larry would want to coach there to complete the mythological circle between him and the game and the game's inventor.

KU got Larry Brown and Larry Brown shot the doddering old Dad full of youth elixir and sent out to kick some butt and take names later. Larry Brown put KU back on the map and he stole Danny Manning from Dean and how could the warring KU factions do anything but love the sublime paradox of this little mensch in our midst.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Of course, Larry was slick and Larry was wrestless and Larry left KU and Larry left infractions. Lie down with dogs, my mom said, ya get fleas. KU got a ring and it got some fleas. But it turns out Larry Brown, maybe college basketballs greatest man of the book, broke rules in minor ways in comparison to what went on at UK. Larry knew how to play the game, not break the game. On the floor he liked it done the right way. Off the floor, he took every advantage he could get, he bent the rules, but he seemed to have a sixth sense about how to bend them. In short, Larry was not a crook and he was not a crook, and though there were constant rumors about Larry and cheerleaders in the end, Larry left KU vastly better off than when he arrived, even though at that very moment, it was not entirely clear whether KU could recover from both his aura and his infractions after he left. What Larry did was begin in a small way forcing the warring factions of KU into realizing that the doddering old father could be rejuvenated, but not by one faction, or the other winning, but rather by the factions dissolving and uniting.

But again, unlike at UK, a guy surfaced at the AD, who made a surprising and incredibly right choice: Monte Johnson again. He hired unknown Deaner assistant Roy Williams to build a program this time, instead of just hiring a coach who would go out and win a ring. And Roy Williams, the adult child of an alcoholic, a man who desparately wanted family stability in father figures and coaching figures, and probably every other kind of endeavor he might have considered, turned out to be the perfect man to build on what Larry Brown started. Roy wanted to win a ring for sure. But he wanted to build a program no matter what. And build one he did. KU inherited the UNC system from Roy and united not only KU's factions, but the entire state of Kansas and was incrementally uniting all of college basketball behind the KU program. Even the great Wooden said that Roy Williams was doing it the right way. Even Jerry West and Pat Riley said Roy Williams was doing it the right way and they wanted him at different times. Larry put KU back on the map. But Roy created the long term lease as the daddy of all programs. He and Monte put the Naismith on Naismith court as I recall. Roy put the state emblem at mid court that eventually united all of the state behind KU. Under Roy, you could feel the pro Allen and anti Allen factions dissolve away at long last. Under Roy, you could see some thing that you could love being built and evolving right before your eyes year after year for 15 years. Under Roy you could win 80% of the time for the first time in the history of KU basketball and go to Final Fours and all doing it the right way. And recruiting only half the country by the way.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

And there in lay the only nub. Roy built a program, but he did not build the greatest program that he possibly could, even though it seemed he was doing so at the time. Like a lot of adult children of alcoholics, Roy had tremendous abilities to compartmentalize and deny. He could in all honesty say that he gave KU every thing he had to make it the best he could make it be, at the very same time that he kept his promise to Dean not to recruit all over the country. And Dean, apparently knowing that Roy was precisely this kind a person, exploited this in him. And Roy was a control freak, like most adult children of alcoholics who will the excellence are not destroyed by their drunken parents. And he tried to create a fiefdom along the lines of his mentor Dean, and along the line of the Baron's at UK, and along the lines of the one Allen created at KU, though Dean's and Rupp's were vastly more sophsticatedly constructed and effective when all was said and done. They learned from Allen's mistakes. Roy apparently created a fiefdom where the outside world (read the university bureaucracy) had only limited control and knowledge. And lo Roy sewed the seeds of his own grim bureaucratic harvest after 12-13 great growing seasons. He ran into an even bigger control freak than himself...the chancellor. And the chancellor fixed Roy's wagon. He apparently engineered Monte Johnson out of AD and shunted him into a tenured teaching position only, while bringing in an AD obviously selected to create instant problems for Roy.

But this circumstance was only more evidence of the end of the legacy Allen factions in-fighting at KU. This was a showdown between a coach and a chancellor with a strong will and an eye on getting control of the dollars. The chancellor had to have understood exactly how it would all play out. He had to have understood he was creating an untenable position for the adult child of an alcoholic with an unwritten pledge to UNC that kept KU from being the best it could be. And to make absolutely sure Roy left, and at the same time remove as much egg from his own face for having brought in the broom of Al Bohl, the chancellor brought in Lew Perkins, a sharp eastern money man AD from UConn who had built UConn up from nothing and would spare no alumni feelings on either side of the Allen legacy in pursuit of optimizing revenues within the rules. In short, he hired an AD that would let KUAD stay an independent fiefdom. He would restructure it into an integral subsidary of the Fortune 500 size corporation that is, effectively, the University of Kansas. And so Roy split without looking back and leaving small infractions in his wake.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

And then another unsung man rose amongst the KU nation--a man who's name I cannot now recall--and it would appear that the chancellor sent him on a mission without telling a soul outside of perhaps the inside players what it was. The mission was get Bill Self, the ultimate organization man and consumate basketball coach and son of educators. Get Bill Self, a man who, if given the chance to bring Okie Ball to the shrine of college basketball, will leave no stone unturned, will make no bargains to recruit half the country, will make no deals with former mentors, and will not rest until he makes KU as good as he possibly can without any conditions but playing by the rules, albeit probably very near the lines.

Now compare instead what UK did after Eddie. The factions submitted to CM Newton, UK's equivalent to Monte Johnson. Newton hired Rick Pitino, who despite many persons reference to him as Slick Rick (yours truly included), actually did a remarkable and admirable job of hauling UK off the probationary and near death penalty ash heap in which he found it. Newton, like Monte Johnson, made a great hire. Rick Pitino was half Larry Brown and half Roy Williams. But where as Roy changed the culture of KU basketball to its very foundations, by insisting that it be a program--a system, Rick Pitino only succeeded in focusing UK more than ever on winning rings and judging everything by rings alone. It seems almost accidental in retrospect. Pitino seems a highly principled person, not a flawless person for no one is in college basketball, or anyone else, but a guy who likes to build organizations. And in fact he did leave his top assistant in charge: Tubby Smith. He did contribute to breaking UK's coaching color line, something KU has failed to do. But the bottom line is that the people, what I would still call the Rupp factions of UK, learned a different lesson with Pitino than the people of KU learned with Roy. Roy built KU a program, but could never win the big one and so the KU people had to learn that there was something more important than winning rings. There was such a thing as a program and continuity with legacy that mattered as much as, perhaps even more than winning rings. On the other hand, Rick built a program for UK, and a remarkably robust one considering Tubby Smith won a ring with it after Rick left and played consistently good basketball during the Smith years. But what the UK people learned from the Rick Pitino era is not the value of a program and continuity: they learned instead the rush of a ring and the insatiable desire for more.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Success not only breeds success. It also telescopes ones values, if one lets it. Rings are so intoxicating that they make merely being good at the game seem inconsequential. Ask any UCLA coach that has come on Wooden's heels about the drug addicted ways of the UCLA factions. Rings can be like a drug that over time becomes such an obsession that you forget why you started playing the game in the first place, about the beauty of the game, about what a great accomplishment it is to just win your conference fairly often. Rings are NCAA sponored heroin for schools. No matter how many a school gets, its factions want more.

What I love so much about KU is that I feel that most KU fans got about as much excitement and sense of accomplishment out of this past remarkable season of KU's when it came up well short of a ring, as KU fans did with the ring team two years ago.

I do not sense the same capacity for joy in the UK factions and fans. Given the same two years, I get the feeling that UK factions would be breathing down Bill Self's neck for not winning it all during the past reloading year, simply because he had a slim chance and missed it. They would not recognize and be thrilled by the great coaching job that Self did with last year's young team. They would instead be saying, "Yeah, yeah, but you better produce next season or else."

The KU factions left over from the Allen Dynasty seem to have been broken down. KU is connected to its legacy, but is not letting it determine it in dysfunctional ways now. I sense that UK has never really escaped the Rupp legacy of excellence (and they were fabulous) in much the same way that UCLA has not really fully escaped Wooden's legacy of excellence either.

Perhaps if Self gets on a roll at KU and wins four rings, the way Rupp did, or even more for that matter, perhaps KU will likewise be consumed by its own success. I cannot say.

But I think it was a very bad sign that a coach of the caliber of Billy Gillispie, a descendant of Don Haskins, was not given a longer chance to build a program and win a ring at KU.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Ooops, make that UK.

Calipari could turn out to be the right fit for UK. I am not as down on him as most here. But I am confident that Billy Gillispie could have been the right fit, too. And Tubby Smith certainly was a perfectly good coach. Add in Eddie Sutton and UK has flushed more fine coaches than 95 percent of Divison One schools will ever hope to have coach at there schools. There is something wrong with this. This is not a functional pursuit of excellence. This is not a sensible pursuit of excellence. It is just obsessing on a ring addiction.

The University of Kentucky basketball program is too important to the legacy of college basketball to let it continue to stew in its own juices this way. College basketball desperately needs for UK to return to prominence. But it needs to return to prominence without the ring monkey on its back driving its every move. It will win its rings. All good programs over time win rings. Most good programs over time go through bursts with great coaches where they win a cluster of rings. UK has already long since proven that it can win rings whenever it marshals its resources to do so; that is not the challenge for UK. The challenge for UK is for it to finally, once and for all, recover from the Rupp legend as a dysfunctional determinant driving its lust for rings, and become a mature basketball program capable of doing it all...consistent excellence, playing by the rules, advancing the strategy and tactics of the game in influential ways, spinning off great assistant coaches, and winning rings occassionally, sometimes in clusters. UK has always been the most precocious and prolific and turbulant and defiant and best of KU's off-spring. But it has yet to mature into a fully functional, mature program.

I actually hope Calipari is successful in a long term sense at UK. I hope he builds a mature, functional program at UK that wins some rings, though not at KU's expense. :-) You want the best for your children. But you also want your children to grow up to be mature adults who can join you in supporting and continuing the community rather than just getting good enough to beat the old man. UK has already had sustained periods where it was good enough to beat the old man and handily. But it has struggled mightily to finally find a lasting mature identity. Welcome to maturity UK. KU has learned how to age gracefully and so can you.

Note: All of the above is opining.

speedy 10 years, 8 months ago

thank you jaybate. the only thing i might add was that allen had already been given an extension once and at age 70 was deemed to old to coach any longer. they had never heard of joe pa at penn st.

seansmall 10 years, 8 months ago

As a Miami grad, I'm crossing my fingers that Wall chooses the U. Rumor down this way is that Brandon Knight (#1 player next year) has privately committed to Haith as well. I don't like Haith as a coach, but he's a solid recruiter. This could definitely be a turning point for our program.

ParisHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Looks like Wall has committed to Kentucky.

Maybe we'll get to play against an NBA development team at the end of the season?

KY_Cats1 10 years, 8 months ago

Yes…Wall commits to UK! The return of Patterson and Meeks (announcement coming soon) cements the Cats as the most talented, deepest team in the nation next year. Add in the best coach and we are a lock to win it all, most likely in undefeated fashion.

How sweet it is to be in the Bluegrass and part of the greatest program in all of college sports. There’s still room for all of you from wannabe programs out there to jump on the Blue Mist bandwagon. Join us now or battle to be among the also-rans in 2009-’10.

Your ’09-’10 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion roster:

Coach Cal Patrick Patterson Jodie Meeks John Wall DeMarcus Cousins Daniel Orton Eric Bledsoe Darius Miller DeAndre Liggins Darnell Dodson Jon Hood Matt Pilgrim Perry Stevenson Kevin Galloway Ramon Harris

Just try to find a weakness…you can’t. There isn’t one. Talent and depth greater than any other team in the land.

The banner for title number 8 will look so sweet in Rupp Arena when it takes its place in 2010. Banners for numbers 9 and 10 to follow shortly thereafter.

Go Big Blue!!!

Jason Roberts 10 years, 8 months ago

KY_Cats1 - don't get ahead of yourself. Kentucky was barely a Top 20 team without Wall. Do you really expect one "potential" player to vault the Wildcats all the way to the top? Calipari is under enough pressure to win at UK.

Get back to me when you beat Louisville.

seansmall 10 years, 8 months ago

Heard a rumor that Cal came up with a boatload of cash at the end, but I think there's rumors like that around every late commitment, due to people not wanting to accept it. I'm disappointed he didn't come to Miami, but whatever. We still beat them at Rupp last year!

jchawkfan 10 years, 8 months ago

KY_Cats1--I see couple weaknesses, almost half your team hasn't played a D-1 basketball game yet. And the one big weakness I see is that top name.. Coach Cal.

justanotherfan 10 years, 8 months ago


UK was barely a top 20 program last year, correct.

However, more than Wall is coming in. They get Meeks and Patterson back, two likely NBA players at some point.

Liggins, a higly touted recruit last year, should improve in an offense more suited to him (DDM).

Hood, Bledsoe, Orton, Cousins, and Wall are all coming in as freshmen. According to Rivals, those are the number 40, 23, 22, 2 and 1 ranked players in the country. By themselves, they are close to what Michigan had with the Fab Five in the early 90's. Dodson is one of the top JUCO players in the country. That's a lot of talent.

Add to it the fact that all of these guys fit well into Calipari's system and I think it's pretty reasonable to say that UK is a top 5 team.

Next years top 5 is probably us, UK, UNC, Michigan State and Villanova in some order, maybe:

1) Kansas 2) North Carolina 3) Kentucky 4) Villanova 5) Michigan State

We've already seen what Calipari can do with a dynamic point guard running the DDM. He has that again. Watch the John Wall videos on youtube. Every bit as good in high school as Derrick Rose was. Remember, there was debate in high school as to whether Rose was even the best guard in his class (Mayo and Eric Gordon were considered better by some). Nobody questions that Wall is the best. He's perfect for that system. Will that win them the title? I don't know. But it puts them in the conversation.

Joel Hood 10 years, 8 months ago

KY_Cats1 –

Please, Please, Please keep coming back to our message boards! We need tools like you to remind us of how fortunate and spoiled we are here at KU. We have astronomical expectations at KU (as can be seen on these boards), but at least we have some degree of reality in our collective conscious.

I assume you are representative of a typical UK fan. My God, no wonder UK fans have screwed with your program so much over the years – you actually believe your own hype and go insane when it falls short. For example:

1950’s – Players take money and shave points for alums.

1960’s – To satisfy your racist fans you mandate Jim Crowe recruiting policies until 1969. Then, you ran off your first African-American recruit, Tom Payne, after only 1 year. UK hometown fans booed him – your own player – in Lexington!

1980’s – Paying recruits & academic fraud to the brink of the NCAA death penalty.

1990’s – Hire slick Rick only to run him off after he almost wins a 2nd NCAA title for you.

2000’s – See slick Rick go to Louisville; run off Tubby (a return to the 1960’s?); hire a very good coach, only to run him off because he was about 1 year off from rebuilding a solid program (Billy Clyde may drink and carouse a bit, but he was on his way.)

Based on UK’s history from the 1950’s – present, I’d say UK has found their perfect coach. One who isn’t afraid to live up to the UK fans’ expectations.

So KY_Cats1, I repeat, please keep posting on this site so we can all reminisce about the true nature of UK’s glorious past.

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Don't forget 4 UK head (head) coaches born and/ or graduating (or coaching first) from Kansas.

UK has hired one coach in it's entire history from UK. One.

And even that didn't work out very well.

In that, I think Jaybate makes an excellent point. Programs like the top five (especiallly with the pressure at UK) have to breed a local product to be a great coach & a great recruitor.

UK has never had the patience. Maybe its the bourbon. Maybe its the betting. Truly I think it's bigger than that.

And thus, until they end their fascination with a Kansas Jayhawk who obviously loved becoming king there, they will always have a need that can't be quenched. It's almost, deep down, painful for them that the original successful coach (a guy who felt no pressure because in 1930 he took over 30 years of mediocre basketball) was not a guy who grew up bleeding blue.

In this way we, at Kansas, have so much to be thankful for. We are truly blessed that Naismith fell in love with this town and persuaded Phog to come play for him. It all blossommed from there.

Excellent post Jaybate.

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