Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at
I’m jumping out of the business and marketing bag for just a moment to talk about sports and something that has been frosting my ass for awhile. Since I live in Kentucky, I hear this garbage all the time about Tubby Smith and wanted to share some facts to question both sides of UK fans’ arguments about their former coach. Here’s an e-mail I sent to one of the local radio sports talk show hosts (Lachlan McLean) in hopes that he shares this on the air.
First off, let me state for the record that I’m a HUGE Louisville fan and loathe the Cayuts. With that said, I’m worn out by the UK contingent whining about Tubby Smith not being able to recruit and/or coach. Which one is it? Far be it from me to defend a former UK guy, but here are a couple of arguments to consider.
If somebody says he can’t recruit, how did he produce 9 NBA players in 10 years? We’re talking NBA—not NBDL, overseas, or any minor league pro basketball. In six plus years of Rick being here at UofL, we have ONE player in the NBA (Francisco Garcia). Here’s Tubby’s list of NBA players for good measure so no one can question the number:
- Tayshawn Prince
- Keith Bogans
- Gerald Fitch
- Erik Daniels
- Chuck Hayes
- Kelenna Azubuike
- Rajon Rondo
- Randolph Morris
- Jamaal Magloire
Of that bunch, the most heralded players were Rondo and Morris—the rest were not super sought after. So that begs the question—is it recruiting or coaching? One could easily argue, with 9 NBA players in 10 years, it was not recruiting.
If it’s coaching, how did Tubby guide them to 1 NCAA title, 3 Elite 8 and 2 Sweet 16 appearances? He never lost a first round game at UK. In the span Tubby was coach at UK, he won 76.0% of his games. The all-time percentage for UK Basketball is (drum-roll please) . . . 76.3%! Compare his winning percentage at UK to that of (mouse face) Mike Kryzewski’s at Duke (77.8%), and he’s not that far off (1.8%). If Kryzewski is considered one of the best college coaches, where does that leave Tubby? What that means, with all things being equal, Kryzewski would win a whopping one extra game in every 55 played based on those numbers. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that’s not very significant.
Let’s compare Tubby’s winning percentage to other coaches in UK’s history:
- Rupp won 82.2% of his games at UK (which equates to winning 1 more game in every 16 than Tubby)
- Joe B Hall–74.8%
- Eddie Sutton—69.2%
- Rick Pitino—81.9% (which equates to winning 1 more game in every 17)
So looking objectively at UK basketball historically illustrates the point that Tubby’s performance was very much in line with the tradition at UK. This notion that Tubby “underperformed” emphasizes how unrealistic UK fans truly are. When placing these facts into their proper context (remember: it’s a UofL fan analyzing them objectively), it makes you wonder what is in UK fans’ cool-aid to make them believe they deserve so much more. Look at the numbers before making the argument that Tubby can’t recruit or coach, and it’s pretty clear neither of those are valid points.
The reason for sending this e-mail and asking these questions is I am sick and tired of hearing UK fans whine, belly-ache, and complain about how terrible things were under Tubby. Ok, the style wasn’t the most enjoyable, but who cares? You won games at an extremely similar clip to what you have all-time so quit whining already!
It’s not my nature to contribute to anything UK related, but the facts tell a far different story than UK fans would like everyone to believe, and it’s time for them to own up to those facts.