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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Unpopular Opinions are my Specialty

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Today is Unpopular Opinion day on KSR and I feel like this is really my sweet spot.  I have written for this website for over 11 years now, over 2,500 posts total, and I have put some real doozies on here.  I have believed every single thing I’ve ever posted on here and leaned in to the fact that I am both a cynical fan but also one not so obsessed that I can sometimes see the cracks and faults of the program that the crazy fan can not.  Point being, unpopular opinions come to me easier.  So I thought I would come up with my Top 5 opinions that I strongly doubt many of you will agree with and see where that gets us:

    • Here are players that Tubby Smith brought in to Kentucky: Tayshaun Prince (1998), Jules Camara (1998), Keith Bogans (1999), Marquis Estill (1999), Jason Parker (2000), Gerald Fitch (2000), Erik Daniels (2000), Cliff Hawkins (2000), Chuck Hayes (2001), Kelenna Azuibuike (2002), Patrick Sparks (2003), Randolph Morris (2004), Ramel Bradley (2004), Joe Crawford (2004), Rajon Rondo (2004), Jodie Meeks (2006), Patrick Patterson (2007, sort of)
    • He recruited 2 (Prince and Bogans) players who will certainly have their jerseys in the rafters at Rupp, along with another 3 (Hayes, Meeks, Patterson) who might end up there too.  He has large impact guys in nearly every class he brought in.
    • Tubby’s biggest problem was he also recruited some serious busts, often from the state of Kentucky.  And he didn’t make another Final Four.  But recruiting was typically strong under Tubby.
    • As a group, their impact on the program is undeniable.  But having your jersey in the rafters is an INDIVIDUAL honor for individual accomplishments.  John Pelphrey would be a fringe candidate but still not likely.  Feldhaus and Woods had excellent careers for Kentucky.  Farmer was a solid role player.  But what made them special is their collective ability, with Mashburn thrown in.  And I think they should have went up as a group, the only group in UK history to receive that honor, with the name The Unforgettables, on the banner, not as individuals.
    • When people talk about our home arena, they twist and spin and bend the words so it doesn’t sound as bad as it is.  Here is the reality.  The arena sucks most of the time.  Per capita, it is the quietest big program arena in the country.  The lower bowl is a flat out embarrassment.  The student section is pathetic.  It is not a visually appealing arena on television and the lack of energy in the building is often sad to watch on TV.  It doesn’t sound good, it doesn’t look good, and it is now a 43 year old building.  Some of the new touches have been nice and the reduction in seats is a positive move.  But the reality is our arena does not match the elite nature of our program.
    • Here’s what it is: BIG.  It holds a lot of people, which means during big games those people can make some real noise.  Big game atmosphere is there.  But the big games in the SEC are few and far between and our scheduling method has caused most of our big games to be played at neutral sites.
    • I am not going to actively cheer for Louisville but the reality is when their program sucks it doesn’t help anything.  For a rivalry to thrive and be the most enjoyable for the fans, both programs need to be strong.  That football game this year wasn’t enjoyable.  It was far more enjoyable to beat them in 2007.  It is better to beat a Denny Crum .500 UL team by 30 or beat the good UL teams in the tournament?  I would say the tournament wins are far more enjoyable.  Does it increase the chance of losing to the Cards?  Of course it does.  But big time programs with big time fans don’t fear losing.  We should thrive and enjoy beating the best teams our rivals can muster.  So while cheering for them is sacrilege, recognizing when they win it is good for us is not.
    • Brooks is an excellent ambassador for this school and a wonderful man.  He took over a program in shambles and made it a bowl winner.  But the reality is Brooks plateaued the last few years here and did just enough for us to consider him a successful coach.  He went 2-19 against Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia.  He never won more than 7 regular season games and had a losing record in the SEC in 6 of 7 seasons.  He only went 3-4 against Louisville.
    • But here is what Brooks did: Beat #1 LSU and win 3 consecutive bowls, beating Clemson and Florida State along the way.  For whatever reason, an 8-5 season just looks significantly better than a 7-6 season, even though it is just 1 game different.  And beating two traditional powers in the bowls plus the national champion is something UK fans hadn’t tasted.
    • Brooks almost smartly retired when he did.  If he had stayed around, UK could have continued winning 6 or 7 games a year for eternity.  But the fans would have soured.  Instead, he left when the wins were still fresh and people consider him a borderline legend at UK.  The reality is Mark Stoops has already surpassed him in success.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

19 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Unpopular Opinions are my Specialty

  1. Bruce Dickinson
    10:26 am May 9, 2019 Permalink

    You’ve been writing all these posts for 11 years and you are still an intern. Nice career progression.

  2. TheAssman
    10:47 am May 9, 2019 Permalink

    Unpopular Opinion: I think Paul Finebaum is boring, awkward and fail to see why he is on the air.

    • rosquirto
      1:24 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      totally agree with theassman

    • ClutchCargo
      1:27 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      That might be more popular than you think. I completely agree. I have no idea why anyone would watch his show unless they were stuck in some waiting room with it on the tv.

    • J-Dub421
      1:49 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      The Finebaum show is like the Jerry Springer of college football.

  3. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    10:59 am May 9, 2019 Permalink

    1. Disagree, UK is a good recruiter, Tubby wasn’t. Who did he get at any school since?
    2. Agreed.
    3. It doesn’t suck, but it isn’t that good either.
    4. Agreed.
    5. “Brooks almost smartly retired when he did.” Do you write for a living? This is an awful sentence.

    • rosquirto
      1:25 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      spot on especially, uk was the recruiter as well as the momentum pitino had going.

    • makeitstop
      8:16 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      lol agree – and I had the same thought on 5, WTF kind of sentence is that? My daughter is at SMU and she sends me papers and I FedEx her The Elements of Style. Can anyone write anymore or will we just use emoji? And aren’t Emoji just basically digital hieroglyphics? But the teachers need a raise…

  4. Smyrna_Cat
    11:13 am May 9, 2019 Permalink

    Is this BTI piss down his leg day?

  5. The Professor
    11:20 am May 9, 2019 Permalink

    Tubby could coach but his mediocre recruiting is what got him fired at other schools and would eventually have cost him the KY job.

  6. RC
    11:34 am May 9, 2019 Permalink

    OTS produced ZERO lottery picks during his tenure at UK. Not a single one. Did some of our guys become really solid NBA players? Absolutely (Prince, Rondo, Hayes). But Tubby failed to land the elite HS kids that became brilliant college players (Hansbrough) or the flashier 1nD types (Rice, Deng, Wright, Conley).
    His best class (Rondo, Morris, Crawford) underachieved on the court and he couldn’t follow up with another good class. The next year he missed on Hansbrough, McRoberts, Miles, etc.
    Today we see that Calipari can lure elite talent to Lexington with the prospect of them playing with the best of the best teammates and getting to the NBA asap. Tubby seemed to loathe that strategy but it became a reality he needed to embrace.

    • The Big Lebowski
      8:32 am May 10, 2019 Permalink

      I thought Prince and Rondo were lottery picks?

    • The Big Lebowski
      8:35 am May 10, 2019 Permalink

      Apparently not!

      Prince was 23
      Rondo was 21

      hugely underrated


      And both have Championship rings and were integral to those Championship teams.

  7. Rick_S
    12:55 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

    “recruiting was typically strong under Tubby.” How do you have a job..You know very little about basketball

    • ClutchCargo
      1:33 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      There are unpopular opinions, and then there are bad takes. Tubby being a strong recruiter is a terrible take.

    • makeitstop
      8:21 pm May 9, 2019 Permalink

      Yea ask Tubby – he hates recruiting. And it shows. He got some good kids and they were solid coaches but not great. The record reflects his failure to attract or fully develop talent.

  8. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    2:23 am May 10, 2019 Permalink

    Disagree about Brooks. Brooks didn’t have any help and accomplished something. Stoops had several recruiting tools handed to him in the form of money and upgrades, had the university pushing a football agenda, and has had the east absolutely sucking minus 1-2 good teams.

  9. The Big Lebowski
    8:27 am May 10, 2019 Permalink

    Tubby brought in some good recruits.

    His best recruit ever was Rondo. Rondo came to Kentucky because Louisville pissed him off. He was all but Louisville bound and only came to Kentucky because Louisville was foolish and tried to recruit over him for a guy who was always going straight to the NBA. Rondo wound up being the bigger talent and actually had [has] a career in the NBA where as the other guy (whose name escapes me) lasted long enough for his coffee to go cold.

    Tubby’s biggest problems were that he never had a complete team and he rarely developed the talent that he was able to recruit. He also remained loyal to a Coaching roster of old has beens who could not recruit or coach worth a damn.

    Camara was a decent role player. He wasn’t elite.

    Yes, Tubby brought in some of the biggest busts in program history. Some of them, though, were his fault. He misused talent. He was arrogant in his steadfast refusal to abandon that hideous ball line D that he lived and, ultimately, died by.

    He could not coach talent. I’m pretty sure that he actually said that he hated recruiting and it showed. He could not get the real top talent. He got the occasional Top guy but mostly he recruited the second tier. He got lucky with some guys like Meeks and Hawkins and he got what he recruited in guys like Ramel Bradley who were limited talent wise but full in spirit. I called it in ’99 when he lost to Michigan State. He would never get back to the Final Four because he could not build a team.

    Tubby gets a pass, though, because he left when it became obvious that it was time for him to go and he brought in Tayshaun Prince and Cliff Hawkins who are two of my favorite Kentucky Ballers of all time.

    Brooks did an admirable job and it was mostly smoke and mirrors. He brought in just enough competition to make it seem like Kentucky deserved a bowl game and won that magical six games required to go to a bowl. It was the era of Smoke and Mirrors. But he did it. And it set up the Stoops era. Without Brooks, I don’t think Kentucky would have been attractive enough to get Stoops.

    He whiffed on Joker and that almost completely negated anything that Brooks accomplished. Joker almost destroyed the program. Joker wouldn’t even try to recruit above a mid-3 Star. At least, that’s what I was told. Not even in State kids. Joker was a joke and should never have been a D1 Coach. He can barely coach Pop Warner.

    Agree on the Unforgettables, Rupp Arena and Louisville.

    A good Louisville team brings out the best in Kentucky teams and it helps with seeding especially when Kentucky puts the beat down on those good Card teams.

    The Unforgettables should have been on a single banner that listed their names in small print and it should have included Mash. Mash deserves to be up there individually as well.

    Rupp Arena — Holy smokes….I cannot count the number of times that I’ve sat in the lower arena and been nagged at for standing up and cheering on the team. My little brother and I like to stand and cheer and yell and participate. The old Blue Hairs like to sit there and be social. They should watch on TV. It ain’t a social event. It’s a time to rock out and cheer on the team.

  10. The Big Lebowski
    8:49 am May 10, 2019 Permalink

    Tayshaun Prince (1998) GREAT KID, GREAT TALENT

    Jules Camara (1998) Role player at best upon whom Tubby had to rely because he couldn’t recruit an elite big man.

    Keith Bogans (1999) GREAT TALENT limited by injuries which cost the Final Four because Tubby had no reliable back up.

    Marquis Estill (1999) Decent talent. Not great. Limited

    Jason Parker (2000) Decent talent who came to Kentucky because UNC couldn’t take him due to his GPA and test scores

    Gerald Fitch (2000) Limited talent WARRIOR SPIRIT

    Erik Daniels (2000) Another guy with limited talent who had WARRIOR SPIRIT

    Cliff Hawkins (2000) Great passer, limited shooter but I loved this kid. He had fight and no quit.

    Chuck Hayes (2001) I was never sold on Hayes. He was short and limited talent wise though he was a great leader

    Kelenna Azuibuike (2002) Another guy with limited talent who went to the NBA too soon. He probably would have been a lottery pick under Pitino or Calipari though as he would have underwent a development plan and put in position to show his abilities. Still he was limited in the same way as other guys who go to the Lottery and don’t quite pan out.

    Patrick Sparks (2003) went to Western Kentucky first and only came to Kentucky because of a coaching change at WKU Great shooter, slow white boy, limited defensive ability

    Randolph Morris (2004) He was a good get but never quite became what he could have under a good player coach.

    Ramel Bradley (2004) Extremely limited. Role player who was a starter because Tubby whiffed on PG after PG on the recruiting trail.

    Joe Crawford (2004) Limited talent, slow, moody, sulky a lot, never grew into the promise of what could have been

    Rajon Rondo (2004) Uber talented and misused the whole time by Tubby. The stories of the clashes between Tubby and Rondo are legion AND legendary.

    Jodie Meeks (2006) Under the radar steal by Tubby. Probably his great recruiting coup. He was the one that got away for that early Cal team. Had Meeks stayed….that would have been Final Four and Championship #8.

    Patrick Patterson (2007, sort of) Tubby doesn’t get credit for a guy who came to Kentucky after he left. Who knows if Patterson would have come or stayed if Tubby had mismanaged him as he did others.