I had no plans to write this post today. I had plans to rip on Charlie Strong. And I'll probably still do that tomorrow, but when you get the itch to want to rant about something, you have to take it. Yesterday, I put up a post about the 36 retired jerseys of players at Rupp Arena. Frankly, one of the more uncontroversial posts I could ever write. What possibly could get the comments section rilled up about that? But of course, our old friend Tubby Smith. I should have seen it coming.
So, I may as well throw my opinion out there. And my opinion will never change on this topic. TUBBY SMITH SHOULD HAVE HIS NAME IN THE RAFTERS AT RUPP ARNEA.
Period. But I am going to take a different angle than many do. Instead of pitching Tubby's positives, I am instead going to take the negatives that people always say about Tubby and debunk them. And I am going to use yesterday's comments section to do it.
1. Smith probably would be in rafters if he didn’t have half of the ten loss seasons in school history. The man of so called class never even told the school or the players of his departure before hand. Looks like you have forgot the mess he left for BCG. BCG might have screwed up but he inherited a no win situation. -written by commenter "Tubby who"
First things first. Tubby Smith had FIVE 10-loss or more seasons. There have been 18 10-loss seasons in UK history. I know the education system is broken in the state, but most of us can understand that 5 is not half of 18. In fact, do you all remember when Joe B. Hall coached the team? I think he's in the rafters. Hey, did you know he had FOUR 10-loss seasons in his time at UK? And during his time, they didn't play as many games. Eddie Sutton lost 10 or more games in 2 of his 4 seasons. Adolph Rupp also lost 10 games twice in his career. If 10 losses is your barometer for horrible coaching, then John Calipari is on the hot seat right now because he lost TWELVE games last season!
Okay, how about we address what Tubby Smith left Billy Gillispie? He just left him garbage, right? W-R-O-N-G. What kind of roster did Tubby Smith leave him? He only left him a roster with a 5-star Joe Crawford and 4-stars Ramel Bradley, Jodie Meeks, and Derrick Jasper. Oh, and remember Patrick Patterson? He turned out to be pretty good. Well, Tubby did nearly all the work for that kid. Tubby left a thin bench, yes. But is it expected when a coach leaves he is going to leave a roster of 10 AMAZING players? Hell no. Tubby left Gillispie 5 high-level players. And BCG turned that into 13 losses.
2. Pitino and Tubby are not even compairable. Tubby inherited Camelot and left a slum. Pitino inherited a slum and left Camalot! -written by commenter "Tubby who"
Rick Pitino. To me, the thorn in Tubby's side forever. Without Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith would have already been in the rafters. Tubby won a national title, won 7 SEC titles, 5 SEC Tournament Titles, and won 76% of his games. But Pitino did it better. He just did. People who hate Tubby can't just pick somebody who did it better and then say that's proof Tubby did it terribly. What if I compared Rick Pitino to Adolph Rupp? Rupp won 4 titles, Pitino won just 1. What a joke that Pitino was. Adolph Rupp won 82% of his games. Rick Pitino only won 81%. Pitino was garbage.
3. I don’t care what anybody says TUBBY DID NOT WIN A TITLE.The dumbest person on this blog could have coached PITINOS team to a championship. Hate pitino now but he deserves that more than Tubby. That team did nothing but go downhill fast after Tubby took the lead. -writter by commenter "BBN"
And the argument that bugs me the most: Tubby shouldn't get credit for the 1998 title. It is true that Pitino left the talent that won that title. But let's consider what Tubby did in that NCAA Tournament. He made key coaching changes in EACH of the last 3 games to win that title. Comebacks in all 3 games, including the comeback against Duke that saw Tubby allowing Wayne Turner to take that game over. PLUS, Tubby wouldn't take a timeout in that game because Duke had none left. Multiple players from that team talk about what an influence he was. Should we give Billy Gillispie partial credit for the 2012 title because he put Darius Miller on the roster? I don't think so. That 1998 title is Tubby's and Tubby's alone.
And the program went downhill? 6 years after Tubby took over his team went UNDEFEATED in SEC play. The next year they were the #1 overall seed in the tournament. The next year, in Tubby's EIGTH year, they were a double overtime period away from the Final Four. That is quite the successful downhill slide. His last 2 years were down for Kentucky standards, but in those 2 years Tubby still made the 2nd round of both tournaments.
Look, it was probably time for Tubby to go when he did. It seemed the job has worn him down and the momentum he had gained in 2003-2005 had left the program. But, when looking at Tubby's 10 years as a whole, there is no argument that he should not be in the rafters at Rupp Arena. I close with this. I mentioned Joe B. Hall earlier in the post. Just compare those 2 men's careers:
Joe B. Hall (13 seasons):
1 Title, 74.8% win percentage, 8 SEC Championships, 4 10-loss seasons
Tubby Smith (10 seasons):
1 Title, 76.0% win percentage, 7 SEC Championships, 5 10-loss seasons
If you think Hall should be there, and I think we all do, then Tubby should be there too. Rant over.
Follow me on twitter at @BryantheIntern or @mysports790. And if you would like a non-UK sports blog to mess around with each day, I would highly recommend The Sports Pit.