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UK Hall Of Fame To Honor Ex-Hoops Coach Smith

tubby-smith-clapsThe same school that ran Tubby Smith out of town is now planning to induct him into its version of Big Blue Valhalla.  The ex-Kentucky coach will be one of six former Wildcat sports figures to be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.

Smith’s accomplishments in Lexington would have made him a beloved figure at most other schools:

 

*  Five SEC championships

*  Five SEC Tournament championships

*  One national championship

*  A perfect 16-0 SEC record in 2002-03

*  At least 22 wins in all 10 of his seasons at UK

*  Four Elite Eight appearances

 

Ah, but he only reached the Final Four in his first season, when the Cats also cut down the nets after the NCAA Tournament finals.  That won’t cut it in the Bluegrass State.

So Smith got while the getting was good and jumped to Minnesota.  After a six-year run there, he’ll now be taking over as Texas Tech’s head coach this winter.  He’ll also soon become a permanent fixture in Kentucky’s hall of fame.

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SEC Headlines 3/29/2013

headlines-fri1. South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington says he will again play both football and basketball next season for the third straight year.  Ellington is South Carolina’s leading returning receiver.

2. Martavius Newby was a freshman guard on the Ole Miss basketball team – he’s now working out with the football team as a linebacker.

3. Injuries along the offensive line have Ole Miss running out of bodies. Depth will increase this fall.

4. Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James on the group’s potential: “I feel like we definitely have the talent and capability to have the best offensive line, really, in the country.”

5. Vanderbilt lost only one starter on its offensive line. Coach James Franklin’s like the group’s depth.

6. Kentucky’s Alvin “Bud” Dupree started at linebacker all 12 games last year but he’s moving to defensive end for new defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot: ”I had recruited Bud when I was at Florida State,”

7. Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin on new defensive line coach Brad Lawing - who came to the Gators from South Carolina: “He brings a wealth of knowledge of the position, a wealth of knowledge and experience. He’s a great staff guy, a great guy to work with.

8. LSU coach Les Miles on Thursday’s scrimmage: ”The offense is much improved. It’s just that they’re shooting themselves in the foot. ”

9. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix on competition in the Alabama secondary: “When there’s someone trying to outplay you, it helps you go even better, even harder, even faster, when you have someone as good as you next to you.”

10. Auburn Robenson Therezie thinks he’s faster than former Tigers running back Onterio McCalebb. ”We never did (race) but I believe I could beat him probably by a foot.” The defensive back could see some time on offense. Update: Robenson should check with his coaches next time - Right now, he’s 100 percent defense.”

11. 17 Auburn players gained weight in the offseason – 12 of them are a little lighter. What’s Auburn’s first unit on defense looked like today.

12. Georgia coach Mark Richt says running back Todd Gurley looks trimmer but he’s actually gained six pounds. ”I feel like the best I’ve felt in a while.”

13. 22 wins later, assessing Georgia’s “Dream Team” class of 2011.  “The Dream Teamt has done what it came here to do.”

14. Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash: “We’ve got some very talented players. We’ve got some deficiencies at some spots, too.”

15. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on Nate Askew’s adjustment from wide receiver to linebacker:“The great thing about it has been his attitude.”

16. The price of fame for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel – even a trip to the grocery store is no longer simple.  “Twenty pictures later it was 11 at night.”

NFL Prospects

17. Is Mississippi State defensive back Johnthan Banks slipping in mock drafts?

18. Former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy will run for pro teams on April 11th in Tuscaloosa.

SEC Basketball

19. It’s Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast tonight.  That enormous scoreboard at Cowboys Stadium?  It’s longer than the court.

20. Key player to watch?  Keep your eye on FGCU point guard Brett Comer.

21. Florida stayed in Texas after winning in Austin last weekend.  FGCU flew back to Fort Myers from Philadelphia. FGCU coach Andy Enfield: “It took us a day and a half to recover mentally and physically.”

22. Kevin Scarbinsky on how to reinvigorate college basketball in the state of Alabama. Could  the Auburn-Alabama game be played the night before the Iron Bowl?

23. With BJ Young moving on to the NBA, Arkansas has an available scholarship to fill.

24. Ex-Kentucky and now ex-Minnesota coach Tubby Smith could be headed to Texas Tech.

25. As Smith demonstrates, making the NCAA Tournament is sometimes not good enough for a coach.

Extra

26. Oops. Southeastern Lousiana says 137 ineligible athletes competed for the school between 2005 and 2010.

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SEC Headlines – 5/12/11 Part One

1.  Florida’s basketball team won’t be making an international trip this summer as expected.

2.  Coming off a 6-7 season, many ESPN’ers think Georgia has a good shot at bouncing back big.

3.  Former Georgia and Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith says he’s free of prostate cancer after surgery.  Best wishes to the ex-SEC coach.

4.  The UK men’s basketball team posted a 3.14 GPA for the spring semester.  (Take that, Bob Knight.)

5.  This writer says Kentucky had a better NBA outcome than Vandy — UK lost two players to the draft, Vandy none — and that Tennessee basketball is likely doomed until 2015.

6.  The father of South Carolina O-line coach Shawn Elliott is trying to recover from injuries sustained when a car left the road and crashed into him while he was gardening.  Our best to Charles Elliott.

7.  Former Tennessee point guard Melvin Goins has ended his attempt to play football for the Vols.

8.  Derek Dooley believes continuity and stability — for the first time since 2008 — will help his team.

9.  Vanderbilt forward Darshawn McClellan — who redshirted last year and graduates tomorrow — will play as a senior at Louisiana-Lafayette.

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New Names Appear On The Arkansas Coaching Watch List

For the final month of John Pelphey’s tenure in Fayetteville, many Arkansas fans kept their eyes on the Missouri Tigers.  Mizzou head coach Mike Anderson is a “40 minutes of Hell,” pressure-defense, Nolan Richardson disciple.  Anderson is the man many Hog fans want leading the UA program next season.

Of course, there are many other fans — and quite a few impact boosters — who do not want any part of Anderson.  Why?  Well, did we mention that he’s a Nolan Richardson disciple?  UA and Richardson had a harsh split and despite the fact the ex-coach returned for a game this year, many hard feelings remain.  Some fear that bringing in Anderson would re-open the door for Richardson to try to exert some influence over the program.

But Anderson — as we’ve noted more than a few times — might not be a viable option in the first place.  The Tigers’ coach has already turned down more lucrative offers (from Georgia and Oregon) in the last couple of years to remain at Missouri.  He’s already put his lesser money where his mouth is.  And earlier this month he actually called a beatwriter for The Columbia Tribune to say: “I plan on being at Missouri for a long time, retire here.”

If Arkansas chooses to make a run at Mizzou’s coach and can’t convince him to move six hours to the Southwest, where will UA turn?  And, no, we still don’t buy the Tubby Smith-to-Arkansas talk (though Kentucky play-by-play man Tom Leach told me during his radio show yesterday that he wouldn’t be surprised to see the ex-Wildcat coach land in the ACC).

From Day One of the search, the names Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M), Buzz Williams (Marquette) and Frank Martin (Kansas State) have been floating around.  Harry King of ArkansasNews.com adds the names Greg Marshall (Wichita State) and Mick Cronin (Cincinnati) to the list today.

Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispee’s name has made its way around the rumor mill a couple of times, but Arkansas AD Jeff Long said this week that the Razorback job “will command a sitting head coach at a high level.”  That doesn’t describe Gillispee’s current situation.

So do any of those names — Turgeon, Williams, Martin, Marshall and Cronin — really guarantee success?

On the “big name” front, Tim Floyd (and his NCAA baggage), Bill Self (Kansas) and Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh) have also popped up in messageboard chatter.  Enough so that they’ve made one blog’s “rumor” list.

HawgSports.com — the Rivals site covering Arkansas — tosses out a few more potential candidates: Scott Drew (Baylor), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), Billy Kennedy (Murray State), Shaka Smart (VCU), and Doc Sadler (Nebraska). 

Obviously, the fanbase will clamor for Anderson, Self, and/or Dixon.  But we’ve discussed Anderson’s apparent desire to stay put (and the political battles his hiring would bring).  Self won’t leave Kansas for Arkansas (or any place else) regardless of the Big 12′s shaky future.  And Dixon turned down perennial power Arizona last year.  Why would he jump at the Razorbacks’ opening now?

If the Hogs don’t land one of those big three, then there will be question marks about UA’s new hire.  Arkansas fans tired of Pelphrey will tell you that anyone on the above list would be an improvement, but the truth is, UA canned Pelphrey in the hopes of returning to the glory days.  Would guys like Turgeon or Williams or Cronin guarantee such a rebound?  The jury’s still out on that one.

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UGA’s Fox A Candidate At NC State?

Mark Fox has only been at Georgia for two years, but his name is already being floated in connection with another opening.  SportsByBrooks.com suggested yesterday that NC State AD Debbie Yow would have Fox on her list of possible replacements for Sidney Lowe… assuming she does oust Lowe today as expected.

According to the site, Fox would be a candidate along with Rick Barnes of Texas (won’t happen), Sean Miller of Arizona (won’t happen), and, of course, Tubby Smith of Minnesota (whose agent has to be behind all the name-drops of his client).

NC State is believed to be willing to pay a significant sum — $3 million? — to keep up its their nearby neighbors Duke and UNC.  Sounds good.

But the SEC just got more teams into the NCAA Tournament than the once-heralded ACC did.  And if Fox thinks it’s tough to recruit against Kentucky and Florida, he should try playing third fiddle (or fourth behind Wake Forest) in the same state to the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels.

Georgia fans have little reason to worry at this point.

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Smith Not Going To The Hogs

Yesterday, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Minnesota coach Tubby Smith was “close” to being hired by Arkansas. 

We linked you to that report, but we also pointed out that Smith has been in contract negotiations with the Gophers on an extension.  We showed you a comment from Smith — “I’m going to finish my career here” — and asked if that sounded like a man preparing to pick up stakes again and move at age 59?

Turns out, it still sounds to us — and to many others today — like Smith is very much a smokescreen in the Arkansas search.  Minnesota’s coach said during his weekly radio show last night if he expected to return to the Gophers next year.  “Yes I do.”

The coach also said that he is continuing to work on a two-year extension with the school’s athletic director.  On that front, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that reps for Smith might have leaked the Arkansas story to drive up the value of their client.

Either way, it’s hard to picture Smith moving again at this stage in his career.  And Arkansas fans might not be thrilled with bringing in a man who lost 10 of his last 11 games last year.  Razorback AD Jeff Long might not want to bring in a 59-year-old either for fear of having to go through the hiring process again in just five or six years.

Never say never, but this one sounded fishy to begin with… and even fishier now.

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UK past and present part of Rose Garden scene

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

As Kentucky and Portland continue warming up for the game tonight, more than few blue-clad fans have the chance to look at UK past and present.

Of course, the present Cats are stretching and working on shooting drills.

As for the past Kentucky program, that can be seen on the jumbo video screens hanging over the court. Minnesota, coached by former UK boss Tubby Smith, is leading North Carolina.

So far, there’s no audible reaction to either the past or present UK programs from the fans.

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