Now I know for most people the big story of Thursday was the Billy Gillispie press conference…..but not for me. All other news must take a back seat for a day, because for me, Thursday belonged to the return of Greg Norman to the major scene in golf. As I wrote on here just a couple of months ago, I cant really express just how big a Greg Norman fan I have been my whole life. Outside of UK athletics, I have followed no athlete on a more consistent basis in my life than Norman. Beginning in 1986, I can say that I watched Greg play in virtually every major tournament through the Masters loss in 1996….which was more than I could bear. In recent years, Greg has almost quit the game and at 53, rarely steps on the course anymore, even skipping most Champions Tour events. He doesnt need the money (he is reportedly worth 500 million, even after giving his ex-wife 100 million in his recent divorce) and he has been more successful off the course than he was even on it. But still, I admit that I was excited when I saw the leaderboard today and watched The Shark make par after par to finish the day one back. I know it wont last…..he is 53 and players that age dont win major championships. But it is Norman….but for a day, my favorite pro athlete was back….now if we can just get Dale Murphy to come back, we might have something.
And speaking of having something….Norman is 53, his wife Chris Evert is 54….look at that picture of the two of them….they are seriously getting it done for their (or any) ages…..
Today was of course however Gillispie’s press conference. Little happened, but to get the weekend rolling, here are a few storylines that emerged:
Galloway and Liggins:
Gillispie talked for a moment about the two “will they or wont they” qualifiers, but was quick to point out that he didnt feel comfortable speaking about two guys whose academic situations were up in the air….so one hears that and thinks that both guys may still not qualify. But he quickly follows that up by saying that he has never had a player in his career not qualify and he expects them to be on the court this fall…..sounds like good news, right? Reading tea leaves on these things is always difficult, but today made Gillispie seem fairly confident of their future qualification. Regardless, the date is now dragging….the staff thought we might know this week….the last I have heard is that no one now has any idea when it will come. The story goes on…..
If there is any topic that seems to make Billy Gillispie happy, it is Patrick Patterson. Today he went on and on about Patterson’s on-court leadership, his work ethic, his ability to help off the court with recruiting and overall what he means to the program. Coach said that Patrick was progressing well from the injury and that he wants him to try and be the best player in America next year. I have been a huge fan of Patterson and his family since the first day I met them….but it is clear no one (and that includes Jeff Goodman of Foxsports.com who called him “possibly my favorite player in the country”) loves him more than Billy.
We learned today that Josh is continuing to lose weight (18 pounds since arriving on campus) and that Gillispie feels like he can do special things when he gets on the court. I have spoken with a member of the staff about Josh and they RAVE about him and expect him to do big things next year. I see Josh as a sixth man who likely plays crunch time minutes due to his ability to step out and hit the perimeter shot. People should really like what they see from him next year.
Coach said today that they were close to getting the contract done…..good news to make the story go away (although as I pointed out on a post on here long ago, it really doesnt matter). Billy did however get a lawyer shot in and blame our profession for taking so long….which may be true….but if it the issue being disputed wasnt important to the parties, the fight would end. Still however, this looks to be finishing soon….which is good.
The only surprise that came to me today was that Marc Coury is not for certain off the team yet. Every player that I had spoken with said that Marc was already gone, but Billy seemed to suggest that if he didnt find a scholarship at another school, he may be back. I know Coach likes Marc a great deal and wants him to succeed….and if he wants a scholarship elsewhere as opposed to walking-on here, you cant begrudge him….especially since the addition of Harrellson, likely means the end of “Every day is Senior Day” for Marc next year.
More throughout the day…..Billy Gillispie has rescheduled for my show on Monday night at 8 pm….mark your calendars (in pencil) and listen up!