Friday, April 06, 2007

Moving On Up: Billy G Style

On Friday morning, Billy Gillispie was named head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats after three successful seasons at Texas A&M. This year, the Aggies won 13 conference games compared to zero in 2003-2004, the season before he took the reins in College Station. In short, it's impossible to understate the achievements of Billy Gillespie as a head coach and a program builder.

However, let's be realistic. If Gillispie was to be offered a job better than the one he has, and especially one from a top 5 national basketball program, it was no question that he was going to be take it. The next few years will determine whether Gillispie is qualified for the undertaking and dedicated to resurrecting UK basketball.

* In five years as a head coach, Gillispie has one remarkable statistic that stands out. He has taken two different teams from having single-digit number of victories in one season to having over 20 wins in the next season. He'll be acquiring a better situation at Kentucky, but the expectations will be exponentially higher.
* Gillispie is an awesome recruiter. Despite only 6 wins in his first campaign as a head coach, Gillispie demonstrated his expertise as a recruiter by bringing in a top 25 class headlined by JUCO stars Filiberto Rivera and Omar Thomas. He has continued to recruit successfully in the state of Texas.
* Gillispie's teams have had 3 NCAA tournament appearances, with one Sweet 16 showing (2007).

When Gillispie swapped UTEP for Texas A&M, his sincerity came under scrutiny when he had allegedly agreed to sign an extension at UTEP. As a result, the lack of an extension meant a lower buyout for Texas A&M, who swooped in for their man. According to ESPN, when offered an extension at Texas A&M, he agreed to terms but did not sign in order to keep himself available for the Kentucky head coaching position.

Larry Brown's Offspring?
Not yet. As it is, Kentucky signed Gillispie to a 7-year contract earning $2.3 million per year. If Gillispie bolts for another head coaching in four years or less, then he can be certified as Larry Brown's offspring and a guy who's only in it for the money. I'm not saying that's who Gillispie, but he's definitely heading down that path.

* Bob Huggins was introduced at West Virginia University today. In the coming days, we'll find out about which Kansas State recruits decommit from their scholarships.
* This isn't news, but Colorado landed Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik earlier this week. Although he couldn't get Air Force into the tournament this season, Bzdelik has left coaching positions in a better situation than the one he acquired. Let's not forget about what he did for the Denver Nuggets.
* Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall is a frontrunner for the Arkansas position, according to Yahoo! Sports.
* Arizona's Marcus Williams will be entering the NBA Draft. Washington's Spencer Hawes will be doing the same, but he will not hire an agent.

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