Report: Ugly details of Billy Gillispie’s mistreatment of Tech players

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The news broke on Friday.

Billy Gillispie, the man who was the hottest coach in the country back in 2007 when he was hired by Kentucky, was on the verge of losing his job after his players at Texas Tech had accused him of mistreatment.

The accusations at that point were pretty vague. Officials at Tech were looking into “concerns within the leadership of our men’s basketball program” that may have involved “the number of hours they were being asked to practice.”

Gillispie was coming off of a season where his team went 8-23 and just 1-17 in Big 12 play. He had seen more than half of his roster leave in each of the last two offseasons. We knew things were bad there, but it wasn’t until Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com really got to digging that we learned just how bad it was.

Since Gillispie took over the program 18 months ago, 15 players have transferred out of the program. That includes Wannah Bail, who was the (now aptly named) crown jewel of Gillispie’s 2012 recruiting class. Those players make up less than half the number of people associated with the program that have left during Gillispie’s tenure, more than 30 people including secretaries, academic advisors, assistant coaches, and student managers. He’s blatantly lied to numerous people about job openings on his staff, even allowing some to quit their jobs before telling them that the position he had offered was no longer available. He left players in scholarship limbo, including two Canadians that were told that if they used the $1,000 airplane tickets that they bought to go home they wouldn’t be allowed back on the team.

He’s a (insert word that’s not acceptable on College Basketball Talk). We know this.

But what makes him a truly despicable person is this passage. From CBSSports.com:

“We used to go more than four hours all the time,” added Jaron Nash, who transferred to North Dakota after last season. “I remember that day when we went almost all day. We didn’t leave until 9 p.m. or so. It was pretty bad. A lot of guys were really hurt after it. One guy had a stress fracture in both legs.”

One source identified that player as African native Kader Tapsoba, who did not play last season while dealing with multiple stress fractures.

“He was literally crying at practice,” said the source, who was with the program last season. “He couldn’t even run and Gillispie had him running up and down the steps at the arena. I remember the doctor getting the X-rays back and coming to practice and telling Gillispie it was really bad. He’d just ice him up and tell him to go practice.”

“He shouldn’t have been practicing,” he added. “But he bullied everyone, including the trainer. He’d make the trainer make kids come back. Bodies were dropping like flies. One day I walked in and the whole team was in the training room. All the players and even the managers. He’d make them practice.”

The team’s star player, Jordan Tolbert, cut his hand on the rim one day last year in practice and suffered a four-inch gash across his fingers. The next day, according to one source, Gillispie had the trainer bandage his hand and then instructed Tolbert to dunk the ball every time he caught it.

There really are no words to say here.

Calling that kind of behavior unacceptable would be the understatement of the year. Gillispie is a complete (insert word that’s not acceptable on College Basketball Talk), but what makes matters even worse is that he won’t even stand to face the music. He’s hiding out in a hospital, claiming that he had a “stroke or a heart attack”.

I don’t see anyway that Gillispie can come back from this given his track record, which includes well-documented issues with drinking and driving, plenty of incidents that have come to light regarding his time at Kentucky and one not-so-flattering rumor regarding a night in a bar with ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards.

How can Texas Tech keep him as a head coach? How can any other school hire him?

It’s incredible, really. Five years ago, Gillispie was the nation’s premiere, can’t-miss coaching prospect. Now he’s the drunk that once made a player practice for so long that he got stress fractures in both legs.

I’d never send my kid to play for him.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Old Dominion lands former four-star center

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Elbert Robinson came out of high school in 2014 as a borderline top-50 recruit with offers from the likes of Florida, Kansas and Louisville before he ultimately chose to attend LSU.

The 7-foot-1 center, though, never even averaged 10 minutes a game in Baton Rouge and now will be finishing his career as a graduate transfer at Old Dominion, according to multiple reports.

“Old Dominion was perfect for him,” Lawrence Johns, Robinson’s grassroots coach, told the Virginian-Pilot. “I know for a fact that nobody in (Conference USA) is over 7 feet.

“I told him to go there and show people why he was the No. 1 center the year he came out.”

Robinson, who sat out last year for medical reasons, could step right into a major role with the Monarchs, who lost their starting frontcourt this offseason. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game last year for the Tigers.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.