Posted: Feb 25, 2011 1:42 PM by Alan Cutler
Updated: Feb 25, 2011 1:45 PM
Since UK can't win the SEC East and the Cats are looking at least 10 losses unless lots of things change. As you know, there are a lot of very unhappy True Blue Fans.
I'm driving home after UK lost yet another close game on the road, this time in OT to Arkansas and I'm listening to the post game show on radio.
"I love Coach Cal, but I'm starting to question if he can coach," said a very nice sounding lady.
When I hear that kind of ridiculous comment on a post game call in show, I laugh. I've dealt with plenty of calls like that as host of the Cincinnati Bengals radio network. I understand that many fans lose perspective.
Cal, if you are smart, and normally you are, you need to know that no one wants to hear that you have a young team anymore. You say it all the time. UK is closing in on 30 games. STOP! is how you would put it. You are making it a built in excuse.
The coach recruits the players. You want one and dones. You could have recruited a couple of other really good players who would stay longer, but you decided not to. I'm fine with that, but that was your choice.
Fans around here like to say you can't win with one and dones. They wouldn't be saying that if Enes Kanter was your starting center.
One of the reasons why you are getting ripped is that you don't play your bench. You could rip Stacey Poole, but you take the high road. I understand he doesn't play well enough in practice to earn playing time. Fans never see practice. The media rarely sees practice. So, fans don't take this into account when they complain.
If any team doesn't play hard enough, I always blame the coach. Generally speaking, I think you are a big time motivator. I also understand that a player has to want to do it. But you get paid 4 million plus a year to get players to play as hard as you want. I would feel the same way if you were making $100,000.
DeAndre Liggins is not a great decision maker. Down the stretch in two SEC games going into Arkansas, he made costly mistakes. Even though Doron Lamb was having an off night, why was Liggins the one with the ball in his hands? Of every player that you use who handles the rock, isn't he the last one you want with the ball in his hands?
There you go. Even the media is second guessing because that's what we do. And believe it or not, sometimes we're right.
If you've tried every motivational trick in your bag, do what you do best. Call one of your basketball coaches you are friends with and see if there is anything you haven't thought of.
Since I see you yelling all the time, I would try a very quiet conversation with the team. I would almost whisper and sound like a friend, not a coach. But, you might have already tried that.
Bottom line is, you pride yourself in helping your teams get better. This team hasn't improved the way it should have, and that's on you. And I say that with the thought process that you are one of the best coaches going. But, even the best coaches have seasons that didn't work out.
Alan S Cutler