Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gillispie impressed

A&M coach says KU 'getting better'


— To say Texas A&M; basketball coach Billy Gillispie is impressed with Kansas University's talent would be an understatement.

Brandon Rush, the Jayhawks' most talented player, scored 22 points in 37 minutes, mixing in floaters in the lane with highlight dunks.

"Rush is a pro," Gillispie said. "He's not only an NBA player, but a potential NBA all-star, in my opinion, with time and maturity. He's a great player. He's shown the capability to just totally dominate games at this level."

To say that Gillispie was impressed with the Jayhawks' effort level Wednesday night at Reed Arena, where KU defeated the Aggies, 83-73, would be another understatement.

"Got a good whipping tonight," Gillispie said. "They played harder than us. They played much, much, much smarter than us. ... They executed, played with discipline, they played hard, they got to the basket, they did what they were coached to do. They have good players, and I can see why they are getting better in a hurry."

The grades Gillispie gave his own team didn't compare.

"We made so many mental mistakes I cannot count them," he said. "We got whipped in every phase of the game. That is embarrassing as a coach. That is my fault. Our guys are going to try hard. They have a lot of try in them. We have to play smarter to win games and go on to the next level."

In rebuilding a program that didn't captivate the public, Gillispie has taken the approach of scheduling weak opponents during the nonconference schedule to build confidence in preparation for the Big 12 schedule.

The Ags are 28-5 at home in two years under Gillispie, an assistant to KU coach Bill Self at Tulsa and Illinois.

Gillispie has received kudos for the job he's done recruiting Texas talent, and he also has recruited the student body and the townies to support the team.

"It was a good atmosphere," Self said. "It could have been a great atmosphere if A&M; had gotten the lead in the second half. Fortunately, they were not able to make that happen."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.