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WATCH: Joe Crawford tells tales from the Billy Gillispie Era

Throughout the pandemic, Bradley McKee has been keeping busy by catching up with former Kentucky Basketball players on Zoom. This week, he dialed up Joe Crawford, who played for Kentucky from 2004-2008 under Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie. Crawford and his quarantine beard opened up about the differences between the two coaches, including some stories from the Gillispie Era, like the time Billy made the team go through a “crazy ass” practice right before the Gardner Webb game, which, of course, Kentucky lost.

“I get on the court and the Gardner Webb player makes a back cut and I go to move but my legs are just dead. You know what I’m saying?” Crawford said. “I was like, ‘This is going to be a long night. I don’t have nothing.’ I knew if I was feeling like that, everybody else was feeling like that. There was no way they should have beaten us but we had nothing in us. Nothing.”

Crawford also talked other, happier memories from his time at Kentucky, his professional career, and what he’s been up to since. Check it out below.

While you’re at it, catch up on Bradley’s previous interviews on KSR’s YouTube page:

 

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

18 Comments for WATCH: Joe Crawford tells tales from the Billy Gillispie Era



  1. Ipeeblue
    2:47 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    I wish we still had Gillespie, he was a fine man and even better coach! Calipari sucks! Screw this I’m gonna play playstation, drink mountain dew and eat cheetos all day since it’s raining and dream about the Gillispie days!!!!



    • UKFanSC
      2:53 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

      That blue pee likely contains evidence of hallucinogenic drugs.



    • BlueByYou
      3:04 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

      Open a window in your room in your mom’s basement. Some fresh air will do you good.



    • JASUN74
      2:41 am May 28, 2020 Permalink

      UKFanSC. That was awesome man. Lmao. My thoughts exactly. Haha. I haven’t been one to say too much about ol Billy and at first I did like the fact that he was going to make us a tough team. Well it went all the helll quick. Haha. Now the truth is if he wouldn’t have been a drinker and would’ve had him a good little woman and a kid at home, Billy could have possibly been a good coach here maybe she would’ve told him to quit being so mean to everyone and maybe no three hour practices on game days. Lmfao.

      I really do believe he was thinking he was going to turn Kentucky into this Hard, Mean, Tough team that would just be hard to beat. He was going to be like Bear Bryant and the Junction Boys. Ha. Anyway, thing is at Kentucky, you can’t lose ballgames Like he did and still be an asshole to everyone all the time. Now if you’re winning every game and going to the finals every year, it may work, but you can’t lose and be like that.

      He was honestly just a terrible fit and wasn’t near qualified yet for this job. Now Cal was born to be Kentuckys Head Coach. Like the perfect computer generated program could be ran ten thousand time and Cals face would Be on the screen 95,000 times. Ohh well, I still love this players on this and Tubbys teams. We got to know them and they become family. I’ll always love Crawford and Bradley together and how much heart they had. Soo good to see Joe and hear some great stories. I appreciate this Mrs T T. Wonderful joe as always. Thanks.



  2. Dr. Tom
    3:02 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    Joe Crawford was one of my all-time favorite wildcats. When Joe was on the court, there was no one any tougher than him. He and “Smooth” were quite the pair. Good to hear from him and that he is doing well.



    • JASUN74
      2:45 am May 28, 2020 Permalink

      Yes Sir. They were two of my all times favorites. If Billy would’ve just let Joe play to begin the season with Jodi on the other side. Wow. He had all he needed to win 28 or so games and be close to a three or four seed anyway. Bad thing is, if that team made the final four or something, he would’ve probably got another year and Cal may have ended up with the Lakers or un telling.



  3. VirginiaCat
    3:04 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    The curious part of the Gillespie era was why he was hired in the first place. There were so many red flags that would have been discovered with just a modicum of due diligence. It was a monumental setback for the program that could have been avoided with better judgment on the part of our AD. Honestly, he should have been fired over the debacle. Yes, he redeemed himself to a degree by eventually hiring Calapari, but the Gillespie hire was truly unforgivable.



    • IrishCat
      5:05 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

      3 1/2 years after Billie’s first game at UK, we were in the Final 4 again. It was a bad hire, but hardly a monumental setback, thanks to Cal.



    • JASUN74
      2:55 am May 28, 2020 Permalink

      I hear you. He’s definitely redeemed himself in my book With Cal And Mark Stoops hires! They’re two of the best at Kentucky At the same time since Rupp and Bryant were here. The craziest part for me with the Gillispie hire was We actually hired a service to find a coach and do the background stuff and still hired him. You know Mitch had to know every single detail about him before he hired him. Just wild how it happened. After all the Kentucky Basketball Head Coach’s position has to be one of the top five jobs in any sport. Live and learn I suppose, but if he would’ve laid an egg with Cal and Mark both, I can’t see him still being here today.



    • zoupman
      7:46 am May 28, 2020 Permalink

      I agree with Vcat, Billy should never have been hired to begin with. Makes Barnhart look bad. Cal wanted the job then.



  4. VirginiaCat
    3:04 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    The curious part of the Gillespie era was why he was hired in the first place. There were so many red flags that would have been discovered with just a modicum of due diligence. It was a monumental setback for the program that could have been avoided with better judgment on the part of our AD. Honestly, he should have been fired over the debacle. Yes, he redeemed himself to a degree by eventually hiring Calapari, but the Gillespie hire was truly unforgivable.



  5. ClutchCargo
    3:11 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    I’m still mad at Mitch for hiring BCG. More than anything, I feel bad for guys like Joe Crawford who had to suffer the consequences of that terrible decision.



    • ClutchCargo
      3:21 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

      This interview pisses me off all over again.



  6. UKLugo
    3:14 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    How many times could this guy have transferred? Much respect for this dude.



    • CrystalBall
      6:35 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

      Joe wanted to transfer to Mich St during his Freshman year. Izzo talked him out of it. Told him to stay with Tubby.



  7. Bruce Dickinson
    5:16 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    That certainly explains why they lost to Gardner Webb. Pretty stupid to have a practice like that before a game.



    • UKfanman01
      5:25 am May 28, 2020 Permalink

      Those teams were so under coached. They were all held back. Crawford, Bradley, Morris, Rondo. We had a really solid team in those kids



  8. Fitz
    6:02 pm May 27, 2020 Permalink

    Well, it was Gardner-Webb?