Patrick Patterson

Kentucky out of Top 25 for first time under Calipari

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Yes, Big Blue Nation, it finally happened. A Calipari-coached Kentucky team will play their next game without a ranking next to their name.

For the first time since Cal took over prior to the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats aren’t ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. It’s a product of back-to-back losses to Notre Dame on the road and Baylor at home, a loss that was also Cal’s first at home since taking over at Kentucky.

Now breathe. It’s going to be ok.

This team is not anywhere near the caliber of last season’s national champions that steam-rolled essentially everyone (sans Indiana and Vanderbilt) on it’s way to one of the greatest seasons in college basketball history. You probably knew that already.

But first of all, polls are dumb. They are meaningless, really. Especially this early. They factor a little bit into opinions for at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The end.

But mainly, this team has a huge deficiency in leadership and that’s due to the fact that for the first season under Cal, the team lacks the senior leader that has been through the pre-Calipari Domination years. There’s no Patrick Patterson, Perry Stevenson or Ramon Harris. No Jorts, DeAndre Liggins or Darius Miller. No big brother figure that can lead the team mentally and emotionally when they’re tired of hearing it from Calipari. No, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson don’t count.

It’s a newsworthy item because of Kentucky’s recent dominance. But nothing that should send Wildcats fans into a panic. There’s still four months to play until Selection Sunday.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Calipari shares his thoughts on recruiting

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The basis of this video got me to click on it.

Kentucky coach John Calipari shares his thoughts on recruiting and while it runs on CoachCal.com — Calipari’s personal website, which mean it’s not exactly unbiased — it’s interesting to hear a coach who recruits unlike anyone else (he practically coined the phrase “one-and-done”) tell about his philosophies on the non-stop process that is high-major recruiting.

“One, you have a good idea who they are. What they are,” Calipari said in the video. “…The second way is, we don’t beg anybody. It’s not for everybody.”

Calipari also drops the trump card on everyone saying: “If I offer 25 scholarships, 25 guys are saying ‘yea.'”

It’s not exactly rocket science. He’s the coach that gets players to the NBA. From the one-year wonders of John Wall and Derrick Rose, to the relative unknowns like Patrick Patterson and Josh Harrellson. And he’s at one of the most storied programs in college basketball and just won the national title. But it’s interesting to hear some incite into how a guy who essentially has to mold a new team yearly, does it.

I’ll share my thoughts on Calipari with anyone who will listen. Kentucky and Calipari were made for each other. While he had to build programs with risky players in the past (Shawne Williams, Derrick Rose, Marcus Camby, etc.) at places like UMass and Memphis, he’s got the tradition and the solid base to recruit easier at Kentucky. It’s just easier for him now.

Whatever you think about him, he’s got a method to all his madness. And it’s intriguing to hear about.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can find him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Kentucky player verifies Gillispie’s tough practice habits

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By now, you know all about what Billy Gillispie is accused of. Details have come out about all-day practices at Texas Tech, as well as less-than-sound treatment of injured players – the last thing Texas Tech needs in the wake of the Mike Leach/Craig James football kerfuffle.

There are many surprising things about what’s going on, mostly in the vein of “how did you not see this coming?”

You’d think Gillispie, for one, would have reined himself in and avoided controversy. His reputation was in tatters after his time at Kentucky, he spent time out of the coaching game, and he had to know that a third chance wasn’t likely to present itself.

In similar fashion, you’d think that the AD at Tech would be super-duper careful about hiring a guy who had a rep for being rough on players. Again, the aforementioned issue with a concussed player, his famous father, and a potentially dangerous dose of discipline probably should have had everyone walking on eggshells regarding the next big hire.

But Gillispie is accused of being a recidivist, and as often happens when someone breaks the barrier of silence in these matters, more accusers are coming out of the woodwork to pile on.

The Lexington Herald-Leader published a report today based on a conversation with former Kentucky walk-on Dusty Miller, who confirmed that his time under Gillispie had much in common with what Texas Tech players have allegedly gone through.

“I was not surprised by one thing I read,” Mills told the paper. “Nothing was outrageous to me.”

Mills said he was not privy to conversations between Gillispie and other UK players, but confirmed that stars like Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks often appeared to be practicing while injured, and did not seem happy to be doing so.

“Physically, they were playing in pain, and it was hard to watch at times.”

Mills was kicked off the team by Gillispie, but denies that he has an axe to grind. He praised Gillispie’s coaching ability, and thanked him for giving him the opportunity to join the Wildcats as a walk-on. Still, he couldn’t bring himself to exonerate or fully understand Gillispie’s coaching style.
“I think he does really care for his players,” Mills said. “I think he does. He just has a very odd way of showing it. Obviously, something is going on there, and I’m not sure what it is.”