Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Was Tubby’s recruiting that bad?

Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, Gerald Fitch, Chuck Hayes, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford.  All guys that have made a serious mark on UK history.  Some guys who may see their names in the Rupp rafters someday.  All guys who were recruited by Tubby Smith.  There is NO DOUBT that Tubby brought some players to UK, especially in his later years, that just were not good enough.  And they led to Tubby’s leaving the school.  But, does the overall stigma that Tubby was a bad recruiter actually hold weight.  When you look at his yearly classes, you might change your opinion some:

Tayshaun Prince (#12 overall)
Jules Camara (#31 overall)
Desmond Allison (#61 overall)
Todd Tackett
JP Blevins
Recap:Three players ranked in the Top 75 and the other 2 being Kentucky high school elite players.  Should have been a very good class.  Unfortunately, Prince was the only one who exceeded expectations.  Camara became fairly productive his last 2 years.  Allison showed average skills and poor behavior and left.  Tackett and Blevins were never seriously productive.  On paper, this class was very good.  On the court, average at best.

Keith Bogans (#2 overall)
Marvin Stone (#5 overall)
Marquis Estill (#91 overall)
Nate Knight (Junior College Transfer)
Recap: This class was very solid.  Bogans turned out to be one of the 5 most productive players in UK history.  Estill became a very good player after redshirting with knee problems his first year.  Stone became the disappointment of the class, eventually transferring.  Knight was never going to be a serious contributor and transferred after 1 season.

Cliff Hawkins (#36 overall)
Jason Parker (#41 overall)
Erik Daniels
Gerald Fitch
Recap:  On paper, this class was not elite.  Only 2 Top 100 players.  When they left, they had 105 wins and two Elite appearances.  Each guy had a significant impact on the program, with Parker being the only player not able to stay 4 years, due to knee injuries and some conflict with Tubby.  I think you would have to call this class overachievers.

Rashaad Carruth (#21 overall)
Chuck Hayes (#46 overall)
Josh Carrier
Adam Chiles
Recap:If Carruth hadn’t been such an idiot, he was a very good player.  That doesn’t give Tubby a pass for recruiting such a poor character guy, but you can’t say Carruth didn’t have talent.  Hayes became a legend.  Carrier was a disappointment and Chiles only lasted 1 season.  Without Hayes, this would be a horrendous class.  With Hayes, its become mediocre. 

Kelenna Azubuike (#31 overall)
Antwain Barbour (Junior College)
Brandon Stockton
Bernard Cote
Recap:As became habit under Tubby, recruits were either all or nothing.  Azubuike had a very good career.  But Barbour and Stockton produced very little at UK, and Cote produced nothing and transferred.  Tubby does get some extra credit for bringing in Ravi Moss in this class.  Average class. 

Shagari Alleyne (#48 overall)
Bobby Perry
Woo Obrzut
Sherray Thomas
Patrick Sparks (transfer)
Recap:The lowest point in the Tubby recruiting era up to that point.  Sparks would go on to give UK 2 semi-productive years.  But Alleyne was rarely a factor and transferred.  Perry, Obrzut, and Thomas stayed 4 years but struggled throughout to produce heavily.  Perry would have a pretty good senior season.  Still, a very underperforming class.

Randolph Morris (#10 overall)
Joe Crawford (#14 overall)
Rajon Rondo (#21 overall)
Ramel Bradley
Recap: After having his worst recruiting year, Tubby followed with his best.  All 4 players became key cogs in the program for the next 2-4 years.  While never as much team success as the fans would have wanted, these players were all very successful individually.  I would call this a high level recruiting class.

Jared Carter (#99 overall)
Adam Williams
Rekalin Sims (Junior College)
Recap: Pretty sad how bad this class was.  2/3 of it was gone after 1 season.  And Carter was basically gone before he stepped foot on campus.  Carter and Williams scored a combined 44 points in their careers.  Sims actually showed flashes of talent, but would rather sell crack and attack people with machetes.

Derrick Jasper (#52 overall)
Jodie Meeks (#56 overall)
Perry Stevenson (#57 overall)
Michael Porter
Ramon Harris
Recap:Not a highly touted class, but Jasper and Meeks proved to be top talents and would have become huge successes if Gillispie hadn’t ruined them, either physically or mentally.  Stevenson struggled most of his career, but still played serious minutes.  Porter never played his correct position.  And Harris was a late season addition and became a decent player.  This class, with a little development, would have become very good.  Probably ended up average though.

OK, so where does this leave Tubby?  Well, not including junior college players and transfers, Tubby recruited 34 incoming freshman to the program in his tenure, and 19 of them were ranked in the Top 100 entering college.  That doesn’t include Ramel Bradley, who this service did not include but was included in many.  So the question is this: Is having 56% of your freshman recruits as Top 100 good enough?  Well, it was good enough to win 76% of his games.  But, if you are John Calipari, who is batting 100% on his freshman recruits in the Top 100, then I guess it isn’t.  What if we look at the classes individually, ranking them as above average, average, or below average:

ABOVE AVERAGE: 1999, 2000, 2004
AVERAGE: 1998, 2001, 2006
BELOW AVERAGE: 2002, 2003, 2005

Again, it is all a matter of opinion.  Is having 2/3 of your classes at an average or above average level good enough?  People often focus on those 3 terrible classes that Tubby recruited, and those are a big reason he eventually left, but does he not also get credit for the 1/3 of his tenure with very good classes?  I don’t say this to be a huge Tubby defender, but simply try to point out that Tubby was not as bad a recruiter as people try to shape him out to be.  What he wasn’t was a CONSISTENT recruiter.  What he wasn’t was a recruiter good enough for Kentucky.  But is it fair to call Tubby a “pretty good” recruiter?  Has Tubby been unfairly criticized as a poor recruiter?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

135 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Was Tubby’s recruiting that bad?”

  1. truth

    no uk fans are just idiots that ran off a good coach and even better person

  2. CadizCat

    Saul Smith was the greatest player to ever put on the blue and white and people forget that without his dad being the coach there is no chance he even comes to UK. Boom!

  3. BIgBlueFan31

    Are you running out of material? The Tubby years are gone. We can’t change the classes. Everyone should know he overachieved with the classes he brought in. He brought in “his guys.” Sure, Cal’s classes are all elite, but I would not mind a few Fitch’s, Erik Daniels or Chuck Hayes type players. Guys that come in under the radar and develope into key players.

    Write something about football if basketball material is at this point. This is dull.

  4. Darryl Isaac

    the Kentucky brand should never have recruiting classes like 2003 and 2005. SMH

  5. Darryl Isaac

    For some reason nobody ever gives you a break BTI. Good read, I enjoyed it.

  6. stevie

    but I would not mind a few Fitch’s, Erik Daniels or Chuck Hayes type players. Guys that come in under the radar and develope into key players.
    I would have no problem with these type players
    IF there were a few great players to go with them.

  7. nashvillecatsfan

    If you want to know how good of a recruiter Tubby was, compare his classes to Pitino’s and Calipari’s UK recruiting classes.

  8. bung

    if it wasnt bad recruiting then it was bad coaching to get labeled 10 loss tubby….after 96 97 98 we should have gotten any recruit we wanted

  9. dan

    @ #1 you’re full of it and probably a UL fan. He didn’t recruit. That simple. Remember what Tubby’s words where when he was asked by the media how he recruited that number one class in ’04? “I offered them a scholarship”……that’s it. That’s all he did. Seems to me he deserves whatever he gets for not recruiting at a place like UK. Not to mention the fact that as soon as he left he started recruiting top 25 players again for Minnesota. Yeah that makes sense. He can recruit elite talent to the frozen tundra but can’t recruit in Lexington? Think about it.

  10. nashvillecatsfan

    I agree that Tubby always did very well with the level of talent at his disposal. The amount of talent was a direct result of his and his staff’s recruiting however.

  11. OldManYellsatCloud

    It wasn’t so much he was a bad recruiter, it just seemed he took years off from recruiting.

  12. Mr Schwump

    You did see games at the end of his tenure, right?

  13. anthonyeppsdrivingschool

    @ 1: False! I feel like Tubby Smith recruited some decent players, but didnt max out their potential while they were at UK. It’s apparent during his last years at Kentucky that recruiting dropped off significantly. And lets not forget team turmoils, the 7-foot centers who were projects, the players who probably did not deserve a UK scholarship in the first place- Jared Carter, Corey Sears, Adam Chiles, Adam Williams, Todd Tackett, JP Blevins, Michael Porter, etc. Oh, and 5 ten losses or more seasons in a ten year tenure. There I said it.

  14. bluebarnes

    I like tubby as a person but not as a coach at an elite program. He undestands the game and can take and develop teams at the like of Georgia and Wichita but, clearly doesn’t want to sacrifice the time and work it takes to win at the top level. That doesn’t make him a bad person. Just the same the state Tubby left the program made it hard for Billy to win ( along with Billy’s self inflicted wounds). While Tubby is in UK’s past there are alot of other bright spots to talk about instead of him. Example the great JOE B. HALL!!!!!

  15. BBN

    2.) Is that you HB

  16. nashvillecatsfan

    One of his problems was his love affair with freakish height. How many guys over 7 foot tall do you need to sit on the bench? I know you can’t teach height, but you can’t teach coordination either.

  17. ukengineer

    Thanks for writing this article Bryan. I had never really given thought to evaluating the quality of Tubby’s recruiting. This was a very intriguing, original look at a topic that most UK fans have probably never even considered.

  18. Cr1spy

    So, in the last 7 year he was here Tubby brought in one top 10 recruit? At Kentucky? Some of those guys were quality players, Hayes, Azubuike, Rondo, Crawford, Meeks. And if Tubby had been able to bring in a top notch talent or two every couple of years things would have been different. Tubby brought in as many top 10 recruits in his 10 years as Cal has THIS YEAR! Sometimes, we need to remember who we are. For other programs, those recruiting classes would have worked, we are not other programs.

  19. bung

    He was not the “Baron of the Bluegrass”

  20. It was worse than I thought

    6 of his last 7 years at UK he signed ZERO top 20 players. At Georgia that’s OK, at Kentucky it gets you another job at Minnesota. The one good year he had was a bit of a fluke. Rondo wanted to attend UL but they went after Telfair so he came to UK. Morris, Ramel, and Crawford were great but were surrounded by mid major talent. Tubby is a great guy and pretty good with X’s and O’s, but he clearly lost his edge halfway through his UK tenure.

  21. nashvillecatsfan

    2009 – 5 commits in the top 50, 3 of which are in the top 25
    2010 – 5 commits in the top 100, 4 of which are in the top 50, 3 of which are in the top 25
    2011 – 4 top 25 commits

  22. Mr Schwump

    Saul Smith just fouled another 3-point shooter while I was reading this.

  23. Emmert still sucks

    The biggest issue to me was that we were no longer relevant with recruits. I remember reading one year late in Tubster’s tenure that of the nations Top 25 recruits, we weren’t even in the Top Ten of their choices. We had fallen off the radar with the Top players and weren’t getting back on anytime soon. Either Tubby couldn’t close the deal, or his assistants couldn’t get their foot in the door. But the buck stopped with Tubby!

  24. WildcatByTheGraceofGOD

    I think this shows it below the level of recruiting required at UK, especially from having the players RickP brought in prior to (or with Tubby on the bench) and then seeing the level of talent now being brought in by Coach Cal.

    But one thing I think it does show us, Tubby was actually an above average coach. Having the level of success he did with average or below average rosters for 2/3’s of his career.

  25. DCCatFan

    Wasn’t Michael Bradley a Tubby recruit?

  26. DCCatFan

    God was OTS a horrid recruiter…no lottery picks and he got very lucky with Buike falling into his lap and the Hawk/Fitch/ED class being so good since that was another slapdash class.

  27. presence

    all weezer show 10am 1080wkjk get ready

  28. JackB

    The truth is Tubby did get a lot more than expected out of some unranked players like Fitch and Daniels and more than expected with some ranked players like Hayes. But he also busted with a lot of unranked players, he busted with some of his best ranked players (Stone, Carruth, to a lesser degree Morris) and he had years with only 1 or even 0 significant contributors. He was inconsistent at best, and that inconsistency caught up to him the last 2 years especially when he had 2 classes without any elite talent and and one class with an underused Meeks.

  29. Tebkats

    If you look at the lists, I think you can see from 2005 on Tubby lost interest in recruiting.

  30. btowncatfan

    Full disclosure. I am a huge Tubby fan. Good guy and a good coach. His recruiting was fine, if he had been at Minnesota. But at Kentucky, he should have done better.

  31. Championship Or Bust!

    You just reconfirmed with my conscience that the right call was made. In no way what-so-ever does that shine a positive light on his recruiting track record. Love you tubs, but you had to go. And on to something relevant…

  32. yesterdays

    Ramon Harris “decent?” Really?? This guy’s career highlights consist of having loose ball wind up in his hands. I think he shot 17% from 3 pt range and im still not sure he made more than half of his dunk attempts when there was noone within 10 feet of him. OOOhhh, wait….I forgot, he was a defensive stopper. LOL. Ramon seemed like a good kid, but not a decent player. He never should have been brought in mid-season like he was.
    Tubby’s problems were rooted in the highs and lows of the classes you just described. He’d follow a good class with an awful one and then a yr later, hed have 2-3 good players and no supporting cast. Tubby was a great coach, but his tenure lasted about as long as it should have. I think it was time for both parties to move on and despite what the talking heads say, there should be no negative spin on how and why Tubby and UK split.

  33. Levi

    I’ll take all of Calipari’s best recruits and you can have all of Tubby’s best recruits and play a three game series.

    BTI I am actually on here looking for football news don’t run me off!!!!

  34. Lincoln Park

    It is absolutely fair to criticize ’05 & ’06. Not UK caliber classes as shown by the putrid results. Next topic…

  35. Lincoln Park

    33) Well said.

  36. luke2009

    Quit on recruiting. Got lazy and fell asleep at the wheel when the program was at its pinnacle. Drove the program into a self-imposed sanction with his awful recruits and then left like a thief in the night without even a thank-you for being offered the chance to destroy the greatest program. How is he doing in the Minnesota?

  37. Quartet Fan

    I think you just proved the opposite of what you intended. These classes (with the exception of 2004) were not acceptable for UK.

  38. ThatsAShame

    BTI: I am not going to bust you for this topic. As you say this is summer and during the ‘off season’ you have to come up with topics. This applies to every news outlet not just this site.

    That said calling a few of those classes average is quite a gift. On paper the recruits were below average for Kentucky. We should pull one or two top twentyfive recruits each year. UNC, Duke, Kansas all get these so should we. That said Tubby did a below average job given the tools he had at his disposal.

  39. BlueFins

    No, he got one whole recruit in the top 10 and one who was the 10th, that’s awesome.

  40. KSR Spy

    10 Loss Tubby

  41. MtnCat

    Tubby left because the program stagnated to the point he couldn’t reverse. Average recruiter at best. I admire Tubby in a alot of ways but I didn’t care for his recruiting mishaps or the misaligned talent he put on floor many years.

  42. bluesince66

    I’m to the point that I question Tubby being a great coach. A good coach yes, a great coach a couple of years I guess. The fact Tubby took no one with him to Minnesota should tell you something. A staff good enough for UK, but not good enough to take with him. Between that and the lack of recruiting it’s amazing we weren’t in worse shape than we were.

  43. yesterdays

    I’d also like to clarify that Tubby didnt really “recruit” Rondo or Jason Parker. Parker was set at UNC and they couldnt get him in. I dont even think Tubby knew who he was until he got denied by UNC. We all know how Ricky P dropped the ball with Rondo. So, to say that he recruited Rondo is probably giving him a little too much credit. More to the point, it showed me that Tubby wasn’t pro-active with recruiting like you need to be at UK.

  44. Forks

    Good read. Am starting to become a BTI fan. Didn’t realize just exactly how subpar the Tubster’s recruiting actually was. Find it hard to believe Crawford was rated higher than Rondo.

  45. KYBLUE

    Did they improve while here?

  46. nintendo

    How many of those recruits went to a Final Four?

  47. Al's IndiCats

    I was a Tubby defender until he brought in Saul, who at best could have played for Transy. Jason Gardner who played for Indy’s North Central was one of the top PGs in the nation. He (as was his whole family) were big UK fans and wanted to go to UK, but after Tubby wasted a scholly on Saul, Gardner decided to go to Arizona because he didn’t want to sit the bench behind the coaches son. We all witnessed what Tubby did with Wayne turner, pulled him out during a crucial part of the game, because he turned the ball over, brought in sonny Saul who turned it over the first three times coming down the court and then launched two 3 pointers that had it not been for gravity those shots wouldn’t have hit the floor.

  48. Brew Crew

    Yes, it was.

  49. Francis the Talking Mule

    Why would a top recruit want to play “Tubby Ball”? He almost ruined Rondo, did ruin Stone.

    I agree with Cadiz Cat (#2). Saul Smith was the man. Prototipical UK point guard. The porgram eventually sunk after Saul left. Sad.

  50. Larry

    In my view what Tubby did was to take a Mercedes level program and turn it into a Chevrolet level program. Given his style of play and his propensity to wait until spring to ramp up his recruiting there was little chance of his ever getting the program back into the upper echelon of the game. 20 wins with today’s schedules is on par with 15 wins in earlier eras. Do you think UK would have been the type of program it is now with 15 win years?

  51. stratblend

    @44 Also Parker had more “some conflicts” with Tubby. He was basically hanging out in a crack house when he was dismissed from the team.

  52. thankfulCat

    Tubby had some good recruits. He never took the governor off of the go cart. He always wanted to drive 55 MPH while the fanbase wanted him to be Ricky Bobby “I wanna GO FAST”

  53. nashvillecatsfan

    How did you determine that Bogans was one of the 5 most productive players in UK history? That seems a bit generous.

  54. Francis the Talking Mule

    48) I remember the Gardner Kid and you are right, he did not want to play behind Saul. Also do you remember OTS playing Saul in the classic 1998 regional game against Duke? Crazy!

    OTS put his son above the welfare of the program. Inexcusable. Glad both he and his son are gone!

    No! OTS has not been unfairly criticized. Not at all.

  55. stevem

    Tubby Smith was a bum. Don’t you have something more constructive to write about than that lazy loser?

  56. Former Coach Enes

    TWO Elite 8 appearances for the 2000 class? When was #2? 2003 yes, but their other 3 seasons were two Sweet 16s and a 2nd Round Exit (the one that hurt the most).

  57. JWest21

    His recruiting wasn’t terrible, but his coaching was. He wouldn’t let his players play their game.

  58. mike

    I think we’re being given a false choice here. Pitino and Cal recruit talent whereas Tubby recruits for his system. They might not be the highest ranked recruits, but they fit where he wanted. If not for a couple bad breaks Tubby would have had one or two more Final Fours and he’d probably still be here. Also, not mentioned is the amount of work Tubby did to recruit Patterson before he left for MN.

  59. BIG BLUE 502

    I think the pressure just got to tubby. After this season Cal will have accomplished more than tubby. Don’t get me wrong. I loved tubby in the early years. Then he got old, and so did his coaching style. Cal has brought tjis program back to life. Plus, whose decision was it to bring in Billy G!?!?!! Sorry, that just drove the program further into the ground.

  60. ebell55

    I’m a big Tubby fan however he did drop the ball on recruiting a few years. He didn’t get young energitic assistants. However he didn’t have the benefit of the one and done rule! As far as Jason Gardner is concerned where does he play ball at now if you don’t have the heart to come compete against Saul Smith we didn’t need him. Like 59 said Tubby cuaght some bad breaks and it hurt when he lost out on Hansboro and Brandon Wright. Silly moves by Bukie and Morris going pro and undrafted also hurt.

  61. JMFATZ47

    Stone ruined Stone. Unfortunately.

  62. Ky Joe

    he overachieved with his classes but with the classes he had he could never win.

  63. As Good As It Gets

    Unbelievable that people still try to prop up Tubby. Since the day he became UK coach until he left town in the middle of the night, he had a host of people making excuses for him. Unfortunately, they always will. Why? Because they are either ignorant or dislike UK basketball. The truth is UK was just another team the last half of Tubby’s reign.

  64. bigcat76

    OK recruiter. The name on the jersey would get some level of talent alone.
    POOR judge of character/intangibles.
    Lots of squandered talent, may or may not be Tubby’s fault.

  65. Owen

    I think I’ve only read this a million times now.

  66. Guck Foodman

    It’s pretty simple really; it’s all about trends. He took a championship team to 9-8 in the SEC his last two seasons. His better recruiting was generally at the beginning and his poor recruiting was toward the end.

    Summary – He was taking the program in the wrong direction.

  67. Charles

    Hey Mike (59), Calipari not only recruits the best, but he recruits for his system which is the dribble-drive motion offense.
    Great coaches overcome the “bad breaks” you claim hindered tubby. Thank God tubby is not here as he was here wwwwaaayyyy too long!
    What makes you think that tubby would have landed Patterson especially when his history with high-rated recruits was so dismal??
    Tubby only recruited two (2) first round draft picks in ten years! Zero Final fours with a team he assembled! No coaching tree to speak of. The big myth was that tubby taught great defense, Calipari is even a better defensive coach among other things!

    So what was tubby’s calling-card? Mediocrity!!!

  68. John Calipari's Amazing One and Done Flying Circus

    No, it is not an unfair criticism. UK is one of the top 3 elite programs in the country. We darn near toppled until we brought in Calipari. We were becoming insignificant to the best of the best. The winningest program in college basketball history should not have trouble attracting players in the top 10 every year. My count shows Tubby got 3. (Bogans, Stone, and Morris). You want a program where players beg you to come, not where you beg players to come. That’s what Vanderbilt and South Carolina do.

  69. JackB

    Morris was a fool. ‘Bukie had to go pro for his family. It turned out ok for him also. Sad for UK fans, but good and necessary for Bukie.

  70. drewsster02

    I always hate it when people bring up that Tubby missed out on Chris Lofton. But if you can see how the other kids that came from Kentucky panned out for us, you can see why he might have been skeptical.

  71. blue reality

    and………14 players transfered during his tenure.

  72. Checks Pool Room

    IMO Tubby under acheived just look at Rondo and Tayshaun. They were just good solid players,but then they go to the NBA and they are now or have been all-stars.Point being is they were better under good coaching in the NBA.Tubby let go or didnt try hard enough on Brewer from Portland Tn. and another player (cant Think of his name) from Nashville that went to all the major coachs would tell recruits that if they go with Tubby they had no future in the NBA

  73. The Hoff

    Don’t get me wrong some of the players turned into nice pickups, but you could recruit that talent on the name “Kentucky” alone. I could recruit some of those classes.

  74. 2020

    There is a huge difference between #1-#10 recruits and #41-#50 recruits. Tubby had only 2 of 9 seasons in which he landed a Top 10 recruit. UK should have been getting one or two Top 10 recruits every year.

  75. chad

    You are forgeting the michael bradley ryan hogan and myron anthony recruits. I dont remember what year that was. Also what hurt tubby was the indiana stud that had a heart attack tubby was banking on that kid playing at Kentucky for 4 years…..

  76. There is no infinity sign on my keyboard

    Or else that’s all I’d put here. Because that’s how long some people will keep making excuses for the Tubby Smith era at UK.

    I’m not one of the people who’s going to rant about how terrible Tubby Smith was. He wasn’t “terrible”, at least not for his entire tenure. That doesn’t mean I enjoyed much of his stay at UK- he pretty much started to lose me in his 2nd season (if you want the date when I started to lose hope in him, it was 1/12/99, when UK lost an inexplicable 47-46 crapfest, at home, to Tennessee), and though I had some moments of hope, my main feeling all along was that it would never work out. I was right.

    Tubby could not recruit like the (smart) fans wanted him to. Tubby could not promote the program properly. Tubby coached a style best suited to schools that are just happy to win 20 games and make the NCAA’s. Tubby, in short, absolutely refused to acknowledge the difference in expectations between the job he was being paid for and what would be expected at other schools.

    The specific problems, the details about what he did or didn’t do wrong? Who really cares? Things were better before he came, things are better now that he’s gone. That says enough right there.

  77. anthonydavisunabrow

    Tubby mite have not been the greatest recruiter but seeing this shows that he was on hell of a coach because well over half of those players only got better and were very productive at uk… and i think patricks sparks was a lil better than semi productive

  78. CaliUKFan

    BTI: As a follow-up to this post, I suggest a post on LOST recruits under Tubby. I suppose it might be a good parallel. Perhaps compare lost recruits under Tubby to the classes we got under Pitino and now get under Cal.

  79. nintendo

    #76 Michael Bradley, Ryan Hogan and Myron Anthony were all Rick Pitino recruits. Funny thing is, they all sat the bench their freshman years (Tubby’s first year too) while Saul got more playing time.

  80. MammaKin

    Are you joking. You want UK to have top 100 recruits all the time…That mean that they are closer to 100 than 1 when someone says that, you know that right?

    I wat top 20 recruits….if not 10…
    Top 100 = Georgia, MAryland, Clemson, West Virginia, ect. yeah their tough and can win..I want Elite…

    And the 500 game issue. I think Uk should tell the NCAA to stick it…or as flow may say..KISS MY GRITS

  81. KyKid

    Tubby was good with certain types of teams. Look at his results at Tulsa and Georgia. He could get teams to overachieve. BUT this is KY. We don’t want or need to have underdog teams that overachieve. We should always be the alpha dog with some swagger and should recruit the best talent available. Sure, you have the occasional games where the underdog gets hot and beats the better team, but in any situation I’ll take talent.

  82. KyKid

    Another thing – I think Cal takes a bad rap for the whole ‘one and done’ thing. I don’t think many seriously thought Bledsoe and Orton would leave after one year. If you look at Cal’s recruits, there seems to generally be a mix of a couple guys that everyone knows is gone after one year, and another 2-3 very talented guys that you would expect to stick around for at least a couple years. Follow that pattern to greatness, my friends. I will talk that any day.

  83. 2020

    BTI’s “Average” Year 2006
    Derrick Jasper #52
    Jodie Meeks #56
    Perry Stevenson #57
    Michael Porter
    Ramon Harris

    Look how many other schools (11) were adding multiple players ranked above our highest player Jasper (#52)…

    Ohio State:
    Greg Oden #1
    Daequan Cook #13
    Mike Conley Jr #21
    David Lightly #31

    Kevin Durant #2
    Damian James #15
    DJ Augustin #29

    Brandan Wright #3
    Ty Lawson #5
    Wayne Ellington #8
    Alex Stepheson #39
    Deon Thompson #43

    Spencer Hawes #4
    Quincy Poindexter #27

    Georgia Tech:
    Thaddeus Young #6
    Javaris Crittent #12

    Gerald Henderson #10
    Lance Thomas #20
    Brian Zoubek #25
    Jon Scheyer #28

    Vernon Macklin #16
    DaJuan Summers #26

    Derrick Caracter #17
    Earl Clark #24
    Jerry Smith #45

    Curtis Kelly #30
    Jerome Dyson #36

    Mich State:
    Raymar Morgan #34
    Tom Herzog #47

    Davon Jefferson #40
    Taj Gibson #46

  84. BIgBlueFan31

    5) BTI, a break? Really? You posted it. You want the fans’ reaction. I realize it’s the summer time and you may or may not have much to talk about. Sure, football is not in season. But, I am sure there is more going on in football right now than what you were able to come up with in this post. And, this is old news. Real fans realize what Tubby brought in.

    You could have simply said…Bash Tubby all you want, but he too has put players in the pros.

    How about a post on the Tubby guys who are playing at the pro level overseas? I think we’d all be interested to know how well they are doing with their respective teams, ppg, contracts, etc. I would rather know who Patrick Sparks is playing for and how many ppg he gets than replaying the dreadful years of 10 loss Tubby…

  85. Marcus L. Owens

    Great coach bad GM. Better man.

  86. dreadpirate

    If you’re only a “pretty good” recruiter at Kentucky, then you’re a poor recruiter.

  87. Pikeville25

    Meeks and Jasper were 33 and 34 on rivals…thats where u shud look at the rankings…morris and crawford and rondo were all higher too…but after tubbys first yr, we had some good seasons but never took us to the FF ….Cal here two years, elite eight and Final Four…Ill take it….

  88. NBA league pass

    I think we should hire Tubby back as an assistant with the specific job of finding diamonds in the rough like Fitch, Daniels, Estill, etc. He could recruit 1-2 of these players per year, the rest is up to Cal, haha.

  89. AML

    I think Tubby has to get some credit on Patterson. He was putting in the work before getting the ax and Billy came in.

  90. David E.

    When Calipari was hired he said something to the effect “If you’re not getting great recruits at Kentucky then you’re not doing your job” At the time I think it was a shot at Gillispie, but can EASILY be applied to Tubby. There was NEVER an excuse for below average classes at Kentucky. NEVER. I remember the subject of recruiting was depressing because year in and year out Cat fans would watch the TOP players go to UNC, Duke, UConn, UCLA, Kansas, and even friggin’ Florida while we waited to see what leftovers we could nab when the “big boys” were finished. I wanted Tubby gone halfway through his tenure and I’m only sorry it took as long as it did. Nice guy. Wasn’t getting IT done.

  91. BillC

    Here’s a question I don’t think I’ve ever seen addressed. Did Tubby recruit while he was a member of Pitino’s staff early in the 90s? If so, who was he instrumental in bringing in here?

  92. ?


  93. RondosDribblingHand

    I seem to remember Brandon Wright was a UK fan but said he didn’t want to come here because of the playing style. Too slow. Tubby was too stubborn to change his style to get the top recruits and that led us to become an average program. That is unacceptable at UK.

  94. CRD

    I would like for Dick Vitale & Scott Van Pelt to check out this blog & these comments. They were so critical of Tubby being forced out. Maybe in retrospect they will understand what the state of the program was. They focused on Tubby’s championship & must have felt that it earned him a coaching job for life at UK. Fact is those teams his last two years were just brutal to watch. I felt like I was doing my duty to tune in and watch each game. There were some games that I had tickets to & couldn’t go (or didn’t want to) and I couldn’t GIVE those tickets away! The nail in the coffin for me was how he could not recruit a power forward. After Daniels & Hayes left as seniors, he couldn’t even bring in a decent recruit to fill an EMPTY position at an elite school! No, we were stuck with Sheray Freaking Thomas for two years. I like #84’s post above – I can count 8 good power forwards in that list. And we got zero. I think that’s a perfect example of how Tubby’s recruiting had dwindled and his heart wasn’t in it at that point.

  95. MNCAT

    I think the list just confirms how bad a recruiter Tubby was. We are the winningiest program in NCAA history with the second most championships and the best fans. We should be getting an average of 2+ McDonald’s all-Americans a year, like the other elite programs. Otherwise, we lose our status, which is exactly what was happening under our previous coaches.

  96. Snowedball

    Tubby did not perform. Everything else is excuses meant to make yourself feel better.

  97. Jared

    #94, I’ve been waiting for someone to point that out. Let’s face it, hardly any recruits come to schools for the name anymore. They come for the coach. This is very evident when you look at all the recruits that de-commit when a coach leaves. They simply don’t care about the school (not saying that doesn’t change later, players leave here loving UK, but that isn’t the reality before), they come for the coach, style of play, and getting to the NBA. Cal has all 3 going for him which is why everyone wants to come. Tubby only had 1. Was he a great person? Undeniably. Was he a good in-game coach? I think so. Was he great at developing talent to NBA level? No. Did he play attractive ball and let his players show off their talent? Definitely no. I beleive there is some truth to the fact that he got a little lazy/tired of recruiting, but I think more so he was tired of fighiting a losing battle. Elite players simply did not want to play for him and his style and examples like Rondo only fueled that thought with later recruits.

  98. stevem

    Tubby was such a “good man”….what kind of good man deliberately attempts to take down a program which made him the highest paid coach in America all because the nepotism with his son was such a disaster as to leave fans critical of his judgment and his priorities? What kind of “good man” leaves the team in the dead of night without even telling his players he was leaving? What ever Tubby might have been in the first half of his UK tenure was up in smoke when he was pressured out. Good riddance and my sympathies to Minnesota.

  99. Allen Iverson


  100. Ummm

    in my opinion, if you are coach at Uk and 2/3 of your recruiting classes are average or below, then you suck at recruiting. We have tradition, we have the facilities, and we have a fanbase that is passionate. If you cant recruit above average talent at Ky. then recruiting just aint your game.

  101. stevem

    Toward the end of the Tubby era, I remember when Greg Monroe (from either Tennesse or Louisiana) was the #1 ranked player in America (and who went on to be an All America at Georgetown), was a senior in high school. He was interviewed and said that he had grown up a Kentucky fan. When asked whether he was leaning toward signing with UK he said “no….I haven’t even heard from them.”

  102. RondosDribblingHand

    71) Even if Kentucky had of gotten Lofton, I seriously doubt he would have been the player he was at Tennessee. Can you imagine him jacking up those threes with Tubby on the bench. Tubbys eyes would have fell out of his head from staring so hard. One or two misses and the Tubster would have had Lofton on the bench because he wasn’t following his offensive game plan. That game plan of standing around and dribbling the ball with no movement sucked btw.

  103. KBIT

    Im with #19 Cr1spy (above)…. # classes below average,we’re Kentucky,not Idaho St or something ! 3 classes below average is way to many for the years he was here,and even the talent he did get their was not enough of it. Should have been alot more classes like the Rondo,Morris,Bradley,Crawford years ! And even at that, he completely coached those guys wrong,especially Rondo. I saw Rondo play in high school,even wrote a big piece on him,and knew exactly what his potential was ! So,to see his sucess at Boston is no surprise at all to me. Tubby slowed Rondo down,he needed to let him go,let him move and distribute the ball to those guys,but when he held him back,chemistry issues started,and that class ended up being nowhere to what it should have been. I love Tubby the man,he was a great guy and ambassador for the Wildcats,but his recruiting was not what or where it should have been. Even Tubby himself at 1 time admitted he didnt like to go on recruiting trips and to travel,so he brought much of it on himself !!

  104. theoledog

    the problem isn’t that he was a bad recruiter….
    the problem was he was the only recruiter…..

  105. RondosDribblingHand

    98) You are spot on dude. The coach is what brings in the players, that is how it is now a days. I can’t wait for coach k to retire from duke just to see whats gonna happen to their recruiting. That school will not be nearly as relevant once he leaves imo. Tubster was a great guy, but lets face it, he hurt many players draft stock with his style and unability to change. Rondo would have been a top 5 pick had Cal been here during his years. Crawford and Morris might have been first rounders and Buike would never have went undrafted with his talent and skill set.

  106. Eli

    It depends on what your expectations are.

    Some people apparently think getting to the top and staying there isn’t something fans should ever want nor expect, and so are very happy to just be in the top 25. However, Kentucky has been historically great because the fans have demanded it. You get what you ask for, and Tubby didn’t do that.

  107. a


  108. Ummm

    I agree that Saul was not Uk caliber talent. However, while he was on the squad he was probably the hardest worker on the team. He gave all he had. I remember thinking back then that if every other player played as hard as Saul we would have been one tough team. Another thing, Saul listened to all the rants about his dad and his coaching style and kept his mouth shut. He conducted himself with class. It is not Saul’s fault that his dad gave him a position on the team. Same thing with Porter. He would have had to be stupid to not want to play at UK. Two classy guys that get run down a lot because they weren’t as talented as we would have liked, but give them credit for being smart enough to want to play at UK.

  109. JMFATZ47

    78) Patrick Sparks was actually an overall better player at WKU. He was in much better shape, much quicker and still had the excellent 3 pt shot. Not to mention, WKU torched UK with Sparks as Tubby coached.

  110. CAUKFAN

    Tubby is no John Calipari. But he was better than Billy.

  111. cracka

    bti, you gave some good information on why tubby wasn’t that good of a recruiter … not sure why your opinion didn’t match the info

    the problem was that if tubby would have just had 3-5 recruits every year and not taken as many chumps as he did, he could’ve coached them up and did well … only 5 top 20 recruits in 6 years? only 9 top 35 guys total in 6 years? if he could have just brought in, for example, 2 guys in the top 30 and another 2 in the top 60 EACH AND EVERY YEAR, he would have been fine … he would have had athletes to learn and play his style of ball. but he couldn’t even do that, and that’s sad for a uk coach.

  112. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    With the talent Tubby did recruit he couldn’t manage. I believe this lead to Tubby and his staff being hesitant to go after top 20 recruits consistently. Only when fans started howling about it did he reel in the #1 class in 2004. When he realized that Crawford wanted to leave, Rondo wanted to play a different style and Morris needed serious motivation, he laid off the top 20 recruits again. By the time he left we weren’t even an NCAA tournament team anymore. It wasn’t so much that top talent didn’t want to come to Kentucky. It’s that top talent didn’t want to play for Tubby. I don’t think Tubby was a bad recruiter. He was just selective in how he recruited because he knew he couldn’t manage top talent. It also didn’t help that he had a poor staff especially his last few years. Tubby hasn’t been unfairly criticized for anything. At Kentucky you get the best players possible. If you can’t or are unable to coach them then this job isn’t for you.

  113. wake up and smell the coffee

    I swear, if I were Tubby I would have a restraining order against BTI. There has never been a man crush this strong in the history of time. Why are we burdened with your Tubby love so often, this is KENTUCKY sports radio. Give it up BTI, he’s gone…

  114. Buzzard

    I remember as a senior on Senior Night Sherray Thomas was afraid to shoot. He had no business being a Wildcat. And Boobie Perry was not much better.

  115. kycager

    what year would John Stewart been a part of?
    i think tubby gets a bum rap, he developed players as well as any coach not named cal, as well.

  116. kycager

    sean sutton, leron ellis, dale brown, gimel martinez…


    Doesn’t matter. UK wasn’t ranked in the top 25 Tubby’s final 2 years, and things were just getting worse. It was time for him to go.

  118. Fake Kenny Payne

    Clearly UK expects recruits to have better bona fides than “Top 100 player.” You know who could really address this issue? This guy:
    Too bad he doesn’t have any eligibility left.

  119. stevo 51

    too many duds = poor recruiter

  120. bk

    Tubby was not a bad recruiter, far from it…. His problem was taking that talent and removing everything they knew and forcing them to fit his system. There are many examples, Rondo being just one of them. Tubby needed to adjust to the talent he brought in and just simply could not do it.

  121. The Vig

    Dick Stalker says it’s not BTI’s job to drive the short bus, yet he does it because it’s his career ceiling.

  122. bdud

    2 words CHRIS LOFTON

  123. J cruse

    TLT ran KY’s program into mediocrity… His boring style, stubbornness in hiring and keeping sorry assistants, daddy-ball with Saul and laziness in recruiting are enough said.
    Cal being here makes TLT’s time here look even worse!

  124. ky1der

    The best palyer Tubby recruited and signed for UK never saw the court as he died during the Indiana State Tourney………John Stewart. It seemed after Stewart passed away that Tubby lost his heart for recruiting.

  125. BB DeeTees

    Wow !! Good point KY1der.. i never really thought of that until i read your post.. I remember Stewart dying, the impact on Tubby was evident at the game that night. I liked Tubby myself. He did have some recruiting class stinkers during some of those year, and “quite frankly”, you should never a non ranked recruiting class at Kentucky, and Tubby had 3 ranked outside the top 25. No excuse period.

  126. Catblue in LR

    2003 and 2005 were THE TWO WORST recruiting years in 108 years (or whatever it is) of UK basketball, period. 2002 was right behind with only Kelenna saving any face for that group, and he left one year too early to really leave his mark in UK history. Those three years were awful. But that’s not the whole story. The stagnation on offense started almost immediately–it was even evident in ’98 before things turned around after the Valentine’s-Day loss to Ole Miss. And his take-no-chances Ball-Line D created too few turnovers most of those years. I get that Matt and Thomas and the others on here were too young to really understand the depreciation the program was going through during those years, so they rip on Gillispie with no mention of Tubby. But his tenure was the time the program started its nose dive, and I’ll always have a very hard time forgiving him for that.

  127. bk

    Apparently 120 is the limit. Discussions post this point are ignored. Has anyone had success past this point? I have not.

  128. bk

    ky1der: It is possible that Stewart could have had a tremendous impact. However; that young man never took the court. My guess is that Tubby would have taken all those skills and tried to find a way to break his offensive game. Tubby didn’t want offense…. he wanted defense.

  129. Reality

    Tubby recruited a total of 7 top 25 players in his 10 years at UK. 7. Cal has landed 11 (not counting Harrow and Kanter) in less than three. This illuminates, I’d think, rather clearly, that Smith was underperforming for the Kentucky standard. If Cal continues at this rate, he will have landed about 40 top 25 players in the same span of time that Tubby worked at UK. He’s almost already doubled Smith.

  130. UK Wildcat

    125 he wasn’t a top recruit. He might have been top 100 but I doubt he was better than Prince, Bogans, Meeks, Rondo, etc.

  131. RondosDribblingHand

    Look at all the responses BTI.

  132. Frank

    Tubby was not a good recruiter and he was horrible at coaching players up. How many times did we see very talented players either regress or at best not improve during Tubby’s tenure? Tubby and UK both almost never recovered from his biggest recruiting gaff, Saul Smith.

  133. Kevin

    BTI has unintentionally what a pathetic recruiting operation Tubby oversaw at UK. I’ve been watching UK since the 1970s and the supposedly average Tubby classes are near the bottom of the recruiting classes that I have seen. I love Hayes, Fitch, Bogans, Prince, etc. but overall the quality of players being brought in was very poor by UK standards. And UK usually sells itself particularly in the immediate post-Pitino years

    All you really need to know is in 3 years Cal has had twice as many top ten recruits as Tubby (6) and half-again as many top 25 recruits (11).

  134. Katbluefan

    Why in the world are you even bringing up “10 Loss Tubby”, he is gone from UK, Thank Goodness, never to return. Just look at his record since he has been at UM, cost them in court, ran off players just to name a few things. Tubby was a joke at KY, won a Nat. Champ. with Pitino’s players and then downhill. Let’s forget the Smith era and on to better basketball.