Let’s ignore, for a minute, our “reliable sources”: those various real estate agents, tax attorneys, mailmen, garbage men, and con-men who report that Billy D to UK “is a done deal.” Let’s face it people, just because we want him here doesn’t mean he’s coming, no matter how lucrative this supposed offer is. The only certain in all of this is that it’s Donovan’s gig to accept/turn down, but Mitch is certainly hedging his bet. The backup list reads like a Stuart Scott highlight: Tom Crean, Billy Gillispie, Jay Wright, Rick Barnes, ya Cousin Ray-Ray, and ya Uncle Pookie…
To put it frankly, it looks like Billy D or bust. Tom Petty or the Heartbreakers. Sure, these are fine coaches; each a proven winner and all are on the front side of 40, but are they really that good? Good enough to hang their hat on the rack with champions Rupp, Hall, Pitino, and Smith? Inebriated enough to store their bottle in the cabinet with Sutton? I’m not so sure. True, the hiring of Pitino was considered a gamble, and Tubby Smith was no more qualified than our current list of perspectives, but I think Barnhart should look lower if he whiffs on The Kid. If you don’t get the big dog, roll the dice. I’d rather take a chance on Ford/Pelphrey/’up and coming’ outsider then see the program bestowed upon Jay Wright. At least they know EXACTLY what they’re getting into, and I like their odds of success when given Kentucky’s resources–just as much as I’d like Wright’s, Crean’s, Gillispie’s, Barnes’s, and Ray-Ray’s.
If you really want to go low, consider:
Coach Carter: While Coach K gets paid to say he “prepares his kids for life”, Coach Carter actually does…and in only 2 hours no less.
Positives: Um, Samuel L. Jackson at a post-game press conference: “SAY WHAT AGAIN, TIPTON! I DARE YOU, I DOUBLE DARE YOU!”
Negatives: Even with all of his accomplishments, it remains to be seen if Carter can get it done in real life.
Pete Bell: Guided the storied Dolphins of Western U to a national title during his tenure, but was forced to resign amid allegations of various NCAA violations.
Positives: Dynamite recruiter; convinced Shaq, Penny Hardaway and Matt Nover (?) to sign with Western even after they’d already played college basketball. Knows a lot of famous people, and rewrote the book on the motivational half-time speech.
Negatives: Likes the sauce, a lot. Questionable ethics, as evidenced by his recruiting tactics which included John Deere tractors and duffle bags filled with cash.
Winston Bennett: Former UK standout and assistant under Pitino in Lexington and with the Boston Celtics. Later coached Kentucky State where he led them to a conference championship in 2000-01.
Positives: Former Wildcat player and coach. Snazzy dresser cut out of the “Untouchables” mold. Could probably get him cheap, as in free.
Negatives: Well, got into some “extracurriculars” while in Boston, and was fired from his post at K-State for hitting a player. Intelligence: gave us the famous quote, “I’ve never had major knee surgery on any part of my body.” Whereabouts unknown.
Joe Lunardi: Certified Bracketologist/ inventor of Bracketology. Radio analyst for St. Joseph’s basketball.
Positives: Will know where Kentucky is playing in the NCAA Tournament before the season starts, giving him an obvious advantage in preparation.
Negatives: Technically, not really a scientist nor Ph.D. No head coaching experience and more than likely, no playing experience, either.
Steve Burtt: The Turkey Hunter’s choice, Burtt coaches the touring And1 All-Stars, earning the moniker Steve “All Day” Burt. Played collegiate ball at Iona.
Positives: Basically a poor man’s John Calipari, his team plays a highly entertaining brand of ball that will leave fans screaming “Oh baby!” Could work wonders for Ramel “Smootha than you” Bradley, and Derrick “pass first, pass second” Jasper.
Negatives: Defense, in that there really is none. Also, SEC refs might have a problem with the frequent carries and walks, as that is usually the point of emphasis each year, as is “flooring” opponents before a crossover. Makes players run suicides for every jump shot taken.
Tellis Frank: Coach, Harlem Globetrotters. Was a standout at Western Kentucky before playing in the NBA.
Positives: Kentucky ties, outstanding win/loss %, plays entertaining and downright hilarious basketball.
Negatives: Fans sitting behind the bench will get showered with a bucket of confetti each game. Washington Generals do not play in the SEC. Behind the back passes aren’t as “hip” as they used to be.