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Football: Kentucky 50 - Eastern Kentucky 10 --- Next Game: Kent State - September 8th - 6:00 pm - Commonwealth Stadium ---- Basketball: Welcome 2007 Signees: Patrick Patterson, Alex Legion, A.J. Stewart & Mike Williams

Posted by WildcatDan on 2007/6/26 15:40:54 (1539 reads)

by Dan Rigling (WildcatDan)

Billy Gillispie is incredible. There is not really a better way to put it. Last night he made his first public appearance at a charity event put on by Kicks for Kids and wowed everyone there with his wit and straight-forward manner. In his own words, he is not very good at "Speechin'", but he sure can talk to a crowd!

The event was held at the Newport Syndicate in Newport, KY. The official count for attendees was 530 (but it looked more like 600-700 to me) including some celebrities who were attending the celebrity golf tournament which was part of the same event. Gillispie did a couple of interviews for the TV cameras (which I was somehow in the room for), and then spoke to a small group of media types (which I was also somehow involved in) before the main speaking engagement.

One thing I liked about Coach Gillispie during the interviews with the TV reporters and during a question and answer session is that he did not acknowledge any "leading" comments that were made except to deflect those comments back at the person making them. For example, one guy asked, "What is the first thing you are going to do when you get Carter and Jasper back in action since those are two areas that need the most attention". Gillispie responded with a puzzled look and said, "Well, why don't you tell me what specific two areas need the most attention since you already have them pinpointed? ...but I will let Derrick and Jared know you are concerned about them. Hey, all players need to improve, right?" Another example; a reporter asked him if he was concerned about the "lack of size" in Lexington. Gillispie responded straight-faced that as far as he could tell the people of Lexington were of average size and he was not concerned about it at all. The look on that reporters face was hilarious.

The small group encounter was incredible. There were about 25 people in the room and Gillispie spoke for about ten minutes and then we were allowed to ask questions. I did not have any type of recorder or even anything to write with (stupid!) so I will do my best to paraphrase what was said.

Gillispie spoke about how great it has been to be in Kentucky and the amazing response he has gotten since moving here. He talked about how the guys were "going hard" and working on their game and their conditioning as well as attending summer school. He mentioned having a few of the guys hurt and how it was killing Jasper not to be able to play this summer. He also talked about Jared's shoulder injury and gave some details on that: He had just finished recovering from the first surgery which was for the upper part of the shoulder joint, came back and played five minutes in a pick-up game and injured the LOWER part of that same joint. The doctor that was working with Jared said that it was incredibly rare for that to happen but that he should be fine once he recovers from this latest surgery.

He also mentioned that recruiting was going well and that they are still recruiting for THIS year. He said, "We may be adding one more player for next year... we may not. We may be adding TWO players for next year... we may not." He explained that the reason some kids may still be out there that were worth recruiting at this point is because of a recent change in the way the NCAA allows high school seniors to play in the summer games and at camps. It used to be that once a player graduated they could not play in any of the summer games where their skills could be showcased. The new rule allows them to play in those summer games after graduating IF they are slated to go to prep school the next year. They can still change their mind and declare as eligible for the following year of college if someone recruits them during that time. He then said that if we wanted to know who these kids may be we needed to "Ask one of those recruiting 'gurus' or check on the internet. Those guys have all the answers!"

He went on to say that the coaching staff should be complete within the next few weeks and he considers the group he has to be the best staff in the country. He even mentioned that he knew he had shortcomings and that was why he wanted such a strong staff around him; to cover his mistakes.

He told one story about how people kept coming up to him and mentioning that they had 4 season tickets and he was marking it down every time someone mentioned it to him. By his last count over 12,000 people had told him that so there should be about 48,000 season tickets sold. I guess it is going to be crowded in Rupp this year.

He then opened the floor to questions:
Q: I know you are obsessed with basketball, which we appreciate (scattered applause) and is exactly what we need right now, but have you had a chance to do anything non-basketball related such as look for a house or just experience Kentucky?

A: Well, I have been to three very good restraunts in Lexington. I am sure all of you know which ones from the internet already so I will not mention them again. Actually I have not had a chance to look for a house yet and really that is not very important to me. The Campbell house where I am staying has been great, and if I did not have to entertain occasionally I would be happy staying there. They have been just great. You know, actually I have not even been back to College Station since I left? They sold my house there for me and packed up my stuff and I have not even gone back once.

Q: Did the NCAA grant Carter the medical redshirt for last year?

A: The NCAA does not grant medical redshirts until the player has used up all of their eligibility and then can go back and grant them an extra year of eligibility based on that injury. But to answer your question, that should be a slam dunk.

Q: (Sorry, this is repeat information) What is the first thing you are going to do when you get Carter and Jasper back in action since those are two areas that need the most attention

A: Well, why don't you tell me what two areas need the most attention since you already have them pinpointed? ...but I will let Derrick and Jared know you are concerned about them.

Q: How soon until we go back to the Final Four?

A: Well, I'll tell you... I am planning on going back this year

A: Now, I can't tell you if the TEAM will be there or not, but I am definitely planning to go.

He concluded by telling us that he loved the high expectations around the program, completely understood the demand to cut down some nets, and "I want everyone to be pissed when we don't win it all every year. " There was even more applause as he left the room.

Believe it or not, that was not the end of the evening...

Then came Gillispie's speaking engagement for the main group. This was immediately following the live auction they had for charity. He was introduced and busted out of a paper banner to come up on stage. Actually it took him a couple of tries to get all the way through it and he even commented on how tough our paper was in this area.

He spoke for quite a while and was very entertaining. You could tell that everyone in the room was hanging on his every word. He talked about his history from the time he grew up all the way through his time as a coach. He did do a bit of good natured trash talking about local teams that his previous teams had beat in the big dance... which brought quite a bit of laughter and applause. One comment that got quite a bit of applause was when he said (paraphrased), "I have always been proud of where I am from... I never said I was from Dallas, even though that was the biggest town near me that people would recognize. I would say that I am from Graford, TX. Of course, now I am from Kentucky!"

When talking about the players he mentioned that he would always listen to what they (the players) had to say when it came to how to run the games or do something within the program. He said, "I tell them that this is a democratic society and everyone gets a vote. If you have something you would like to say then you will get your chance to say it. Of course, your votes count for 49% and mine counts for 51% so it doesn't really matter what you say, but feel free to speak up!"

Coach Gillispie started talking about the charity fund raising auction and how it was a great cause and then stated, "...but apparently there is nothing at UK worth having, because I did not hear one item from UK being auctioned off". He was so concerned that he wanted to make it right, so he offered up tickets to a home game out of his own allotment. He also asked folks in the crowd if they would donate tickets to one game for the auction as well. A gentleman sitting right in front of me offered two tickets on the floor for one SEC game (but not Florida). Billy decided to auction off 4 tickets to ANY home game in his section.

The bidding for the two (non-Florida) seats started at $1000 and went up to $3500 for the pair. Then the bidding started on the four seats that Gillispie was offering. It started off slow and someone asked where the seats were. Coach Gillispie said, "I don't know!" and everyone laughed. The auctioneer reminded everyone it was for charity so they needed to get to bidding! The bids went back and forth for quite a while and ended up with two bidders taking it higher and higher. When it got to $8100 for the pair Coach Gillispie said something to the auctioneer. She stepped back up and asked the two parties bidding if they would both be willing to pay $8000 for a set of four tickets. Both parties said that they would, so Gillispie donated ANOTHER four tickets to a different game and both bidders won!

After the applause died down, Gillispie stepped back up to the mic and thanked both bidders for their donations and said, "Now you just have to decide who gets to pick first on which game they want to go to!"

We were supposed to have a question and answer session with him after he spoke, but the impromptu addition to the live auction caused us to run out of time. During Billy's closing comments he said, "I like to start the season fast, and increase our momentum a little each game. That is how I do things. We are going to be working like crazy from the first day and keep on working like crazy until the last day, and hopefully cut down some nets in the middle! Thank you! " He left the stage to a thunderous standing ovation!

I tell you folks, the excitement surround the program because of Coach Gillispie is electric. You could feel it in the during the event and everyone left the place smiling. Almost 24 hours later I am still giddy. If the man can coach half as well as he can recruit and entertain a crowd, we are in for one wild and exciting ride. Fasten your seatbelts!

Posted by WildcatRick on 2007/6/21 22:08:45 (684 reads)

By Jody Demling
The Courier-Journal

Dakotah Euton still has three years left of playing high school basketball at Rose Hill Christian in Ashland, Ky.

So, Euton wasnt in a hurry to make a college decision.

But when University of Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie recently made a scholarship offer, the 6-foot-8 Euton said it was an opportunity he couldnt pass up.

Euton and his family were in Lexington earlier today and met with Gillispie for about two hours, giving the coach a verbal commitment. Players cant sign letters-of-intent until their senior years.

It felt like the right time, Euton told The Courier-Journal in a phone interview. I have been thinking about it for a while and feel like I made the right decision. Its a dream come true for me.

I really love the Kentucky coaching staff. They are really good guys and easy going, but when it comes down to work they are the hardest-working staff I have seen in the country. Plus, theres no better tradition in the country than at Kentucky. I really wanted to be a part of that tradition.

Read More... | 1270 bytes more | Comments?

Posted by WildcatLarry on 2007/5/19 14:04:07 (759 reads)

By Wildcat Larry

By winning two out of three from Florida in Gainesville, the Tennessee Vols claimed the last open position in the SEC Tournament. Kentucky fell apart in the first two games of their weekend series with last place Auburn, allowing the Tigers 31 runs in the first two games of the series and losing both games. By just winning two games of the series, the Cats could have catapulted themselves into post-season play, but it was not to be in this disappointing season.

Key injuries and an early SEC season slump doomed the Cats to their position of looking in from the outside of the SEC Tournament. I the last three years the Cats have been on a rollercoaster ride going from last place in the SEC three years ago, to SEC regular season champions last year, to not making the SEC Tournament this year.

Unfortuantely, John Cohen's Bat Cats will have plenty of time over the summer to have nightmares of what might have been and dreams of better things in the future.

Posted by radiated on 2007/5/16 22:02:06 (623 reads)

By Travis Hubbard
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON Patrick Patterson had dragged out the suspense long enough. So, he didnt put the fans and media contingent at his news conference through any more torture.

Patterson didnt stall, he took the microphone from Huntington basketball coach Lloyd McGuffin and ended the suspense.

Hows everybody doing, Patterson greeted the crowd of a few hundred. The college I will be attending (pause) will be (pause) the University of Kentucky.

With that, he slipped on a tan Kentucky hat to a loud roar of applause. At least 10 Kentucky fans from outside the Tri-State had driven to witness the announcement. One even told Patterson that You just made a 9-year-old boy very happy. Another said, We love you, PP.

--Full Article--

Posted by radiated on 2007/5/16 21:59:30 (676 reads)

By Eric Crawford
The Courier-Journal

The six-week grading period of Billy Gillispies arrival as University of Kentucky basketball coach doesnt end until tomorrow.

But he aced his most important test of the spring yesterday.

The sun was shining and the skies were clear, but the power forward drought in Lexington officially ended when Huntington, W. Va., star Patrick Patterson, a McDonalds All American, signed with the Wildcats in an announcement at his high school.

So lets review.

--Full Article--

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