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Need-to-Know Wednesday Presents: Billy Gillispie, Super Genius

“Though this may be madness, yet there is method in’t.”
-Hamlet, Act II, scene 2

“You always have a plan. Everybody has a plan.”
-UK Head Coach Billy Gillispie

Oh. Hi there, friends. Good to see you again. It’s been a while. The rhinoplasty looks great. No, really. I can’t even tell you had work done. I’m being serious. I am. I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and the holiday season is treating you equally as well. Mine was quite satisfying, as always, and UK’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants me to tell you all he says hello.

Since we last spoke, we’ve all seen our beloved Cats win some and lose some, alternately leaving us scratching our heads in bewilderment or celebrating signs of great life within this year’s squad. As we watch our beloved head coach toy with possible lineups, varying strategies and potential chemistries, we’ve all been undoubtedly left with the same question: What is going on inside this man’s head?

Truly, Coach Gillispie is currently running this team as some sort of eccentric mastermind might, which has left many of the more “realism-centric” fans wondering what the endgame might be. Myself, I love this madman phase of the Gillispie season, and I’d like to remind you that we all had these same questions at this very same point last year, only to pleasantly discover that by the time SEC play rolled around, he’d figured almost everything out. So I have no fear, and nor should you, dear fans.

But what exactly is Gillispie’s plan? I’ve spent the last few weeks sequestered and analyzing the Coach in a special new wing of the KSR Compound recently christened as the “Boone’s Butcher Shop Department of Gillispology.” Many of you were at the open house, which featured the 1812 overture by Maya Angelou and a poem by the Boston Philharmonic, because we printed the invites incorrectly. A good time was, however, had by all. I digress. I’ve spent these past weeks in the luxurious new digs poring over all the Coach’s moves and words, trying vaingloriously to discover the secret. Also, I wore glasses, which made me look and feel smarter. And thus, below, I present a series of quotes, which may or may not be Coach Billy Gillispie’s actual quotes* (*not actual), and which may help give us insight into the machinations of our coaching staff and their plan for the 2008-09 season:

November 5, 2008:
“What we’re trying to do is find the right lineup. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team, and I need to figure out what works. It’s going to be all about trying out different guys, different strategies and different plays.”

November 11, 2008:
“Jodie’s got a good head on his shoulders. But I need to know that he can run just as well backwards as he can forward, because of the plays I might need to call at certain junctures, in certain games.”

November 15, 2008:
“I really like Darius Miller’s style, what I’ve seen so far. I think if we can get him up to a 65-inch vertical leap by the time SEC play starts, he’s really going to be a force to be reckoned with. I have jumping coaches working with him now, and he’s coming along.”

November 18, 2008:
“There are certain things you just need to know about your players. Like, I need to know if Josh Harrellson plays better with or without a cowboy hat on. I mean, when you go up against a team like North Carolina, and you need to be wearing a cowboy hat, and you’re not, that’s the difference between winning and losing. Also, I need to find out if wearing a cowboy hat on the court is allowed by the NCAA.”

November 23, 2008:
“It’s like I told Ramon Harris. It’s not enough to put the ball up under your jersey and pretend like it’s gone. You have to make your opponent think it’s gone. When you’re up against a team like Ole Miss, it’s going to be easy to fool those guys. But Vandy, they’re smart.”

November 27, 2008:
“If we can get DeAndre to play just as well in a crabwalking position as he plays upright, I think we’re gonna be really tough to beat.”

November 29, 2008:
“Sure, we can look at a Patterson-Meeks-Miller-Liggins-Harrellson starting lineup, but there are variables. I mean, if it’s a spanish-speaking team, that’s out the window. Or maybe if it’s one of those post-apocalyptic Thunderdome situations – then you’re relying heavily on Matt [Scherbenske].”

December 9, 2008:
“I think some yellow contact lenses are going to make Patrick an even better player.”

December 11, 2008:
“This week in practice, Landon [Slone] did really well with the ‘playing on ice’ scenario. That’s going to come in handy in the winter months, if the venue doesn’t have a roof, or has a hole in the roof, or no heat. You have to think of these things, and know who to play. It’s basic preparedness.”

December 13, 2008:
“You have to be ready for anything, and be ready with the right team. What if there’s trivia? I mean, Jared Carter’s great with pre-depression Presidents, but Michael [Porter] knows just about everything there is to know about FDR.”

December 15, 2008:
“I think at this point we’re seeing what our team can accomplish. And I think it’s shaping up nicely. I think by the time we hit Louisville, we’re going to be ready for them. With Patrick’s yellow eyes, Jodie running backwards, DeAndre crabwalking, Darius leaping over people and Michael acing the “World War II” category, we’re going to be tough to beat. Unless it’s a Thunderdome situation. And I’m ready for that too.”

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There you go, folks. I don’t know about you, but I’m just going to stop questioning and trust the man. You should too. Have a little faith, he’s got a plan. And with that, I’ll leave you with the following link, to some extremely edited-for-TV scenes from my favorite Christmas movie, Die Hard 2. Embedding’s disabled, but trust me, it’s great. Until next week, friends.

Article written by C.M. Tomlin