Sunday, June 10, 2007

Guest Post: Myths And Realities Of Tubby Smith

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post authored by an avid Tubby Smith supporter. He is a frequent commenter over at in Tubby's Barn. He does a good job of making the case for Smith, and while I agree with most of what is written, I plan to offer a counter sometime next week--unless others beat me to it first. Is Tubby as great as "Friend of Tubby" states?

By Friend Of Tubby
Guest Contributor

Tubby Smith left Kentucky on March 22, 2007 and was named coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers the next day. Since then (and even before), there have been a number of myths about Coach Smith that do not match reality based on a review of the facts.

I’m not from Minnesota and have never avidly followed the Golden Gophers as many of you have. I’m originally from Kentucky but I’m a Purdue graduate (1974) and a fan of the Big Ten conference for almost 40 years.

I’m also a friend of Tubby Smith. I first met him in September 2000 at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He was an assistant coach (along with ex-Purdue coach Gene Keady) on the Men’s team. My stepdaughter was a member of the Women’s team. Players, coaches, friends, and family all stayed in the same hotel in Parramatta, Australia for those 3 weeks. But I knew about him before that. I worked for a company that also employed Tubby Smith’s best friend and former High Point College teammate, Joe “Buck” Colbert.

Anyway, on to the Myths and Realities of Tubby Smith.

Myth #1 – Tubby is just an ordinary coach who doesn’t measure up to the Best of the Best in his era or all-time.
Reality #1 – Tubby is 387-145 in his 16 year coaching career. That’s 24-9 (average) per season. Bobby Knight averages 22-9 in his career. Mike Krzyzewski averages 24-8 for his career. Lute Olson, 23-8. Jim Boeheim, 24-8. Rick Pitino, 23-9. Tubby measures up.
Let’s look over the past 10 years. The best coaching records from 1998 through 2007 are:

Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, 302-53.
Roy Williams of Kansas and North Carolina, 277-73.
Jim Calhoun of Connecticut, 264-78.
Tubby Smith (formerly) of Kentucky, 263-83.
Billy Donovan of Florida, 248-86.
Tom Izzo of Michigan State, 245-92.

Once again, Tubby Smith measures up quite well to the Best of the Best active coaches.

Myth #2 – Tubby has achieved good success in the regular season but not in the NCAA tournament.
Reality #2 – Tubby is 29-13 (all-time) in NCAA tournament games and 23-9 over the past 10 years.

He ranks 11th best (all-time) in W-L (%) record at 69% just behind Dean Smith and Jim Calhoun at 70% and slightly ahead of Al McGuire and Jerry Tarkanian. He ranks 8th best among active coaches. It is clear (again) that Tubby measures up to the Best of the Best in NCAA tournament results. He is one of only 11 active coaches who have NCAA championship ring(s).

Again, looking at the past 10 years, the best coaching records in NCAA games are:

Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, 28-9 in NCAA.
Roy Williams of Kansas and North Carolina, 25-7.
Jim Calhoun of Connecticut, 25-6.
Tom Izzo of Michigan State, 24-9.
Tubby Smith (formerly) of Kentucky, 23-9.
Billy Donovan of Florida, 22-7.

Myth #3 – Tubby Smith can’t recruit. He only wins when he coaches players recruited by someone else.
Reality #3 – Not exactly. Let’s look at several examples. When Tubby took his first head coaching job at Tulsa in 1991, the roster contained just 4 scholarship players returning. He went to work and recruited some excellent players for his system. After 2 seasons, he took the Golden Hurricane to consecutive Sweet 16 appearances (in 1994 and 1995) with 23-8 and 24-8 records. Those were the first NCAA wins ever recorded by Tulsa. Nolan Richardson coached at Tulsa but never won an NCAA game there.

Another example is Georgia. Tubby moved from Tulsa to Athens in 1995. His first team had 8 seniors and produced a third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance for Tubby. That team had 21 W and defeated #1 seed Purdue (my alma mater) in the NCAA tournament. His next Bulldog team was almost completely his own recruits but proceeded to set a school record with 24 W and defeated SEC champion South Carolina (twice) on the way to the first ever (and only) back-to-back 20+ W seasons at Georgia.

Tubby moved to Kentucky in 1997 when Rick Pitino left UK for the Boston Celtics. UK had experienced uncommon success (best since the 1940’s and 1950’s) during the Pitino era. UK averaged 30 W per season and won 81% of its NCAA games from 1992 through 1997. How can you top that?

Well, Tubby did just that. Despite UK losing 6 players to the NBA draft in the 2 seasons prior to his arrival, he finished out the 1990’s by averaging 31 W per season and winning 90% of his NCAA games. He took players that had never played a major role at UK and coached them to 35 W while defeating three straight 30+ W teams (Duke, Stanford, Utah) to earn the NCAA title in 1998. That’s never been done (before or since) in NCAA tournament annals.

Tubby recruited 6 (of 9) classes at UK that earned Top 15 or better ratings from the RSCI (recruiting consensus) Winners method. No other coach – not Roy Williams, not Billy Donovan, not Mike Krzyzewski, no one – signed more Top 15 rated classes in that timeframe. The RSCI process was created in 1998 by Jeff Crume and is a well respected recruiting Web site.

With 100% his own UK recruits the past 5 seasons, Tubby Smith won 77% of his games (131-40). From 2003 through 2005, he was 87-15 (85%) for the #1 record in Div I Men’s basketball. I’m reminded of the remark by ex-Houston Oilers’ coach Bum Phillips, who once said, “He’ll take his (players) and beat yours or he’ll take yours and beat his.” Tubby Smith wins with HIS players, whether they are his recruits or not.

Myth #4 – Tubby can’t develop players. His players never seem to reach their potential.
Reality #4 – Once again, not even close to being accurate. Tubby had 3 players at Tulsa drafted by the NBA. He had 2 players at Georgia drafted by the NBA. Collectively, he had 7 players make All-Conference teams at Tulsa and Georgia.

He continued that pattern at Kentucky. A total of 14 of his UK players either were drafted by the NBA or made it as free agents. And 16 of his Wildcats made All-SEC. Tayshaun Prince became the first 2-time All-American at UK in almost 20 years. His UK players dot the UK all-time best lists – Keith Bogans, 4th best scorer ever at UK. Chuck Hayes, 7th best rebounder at UK. Erik Daniels and Marquis Estill, the best lefthanded (Daniels) and righthanded (Estill) FG percentage shooters at UK.

Myth #5 – Tubby didn’t measure up to the lofty standards of Kentucky basketball.
Reality #5 – Yes, he did. He won 76% of his games there and 77% (with his own recruits) the past 5 seasons. That meets the UK average (76%) all-time. He won 72% of his NCAA games there. That exceeds the UK average of 69% in NCAA games all-time.

He won 1 NCAA title in 10 years there. UK has won 7 NCAA titles in the 69 years of the NCAA tournament (since 1939). He won 5 SEC titles and 5 SEC tournament championships in 10 years. Both meet UK all-time results in SEC history (since 1933).

Finally, Tubby is one of the Top 10 active coaches in Div I college basketball. He is universally respected (and admired) by his coaching peers. He won Coach of the Year awards in 1998, 2003 (unanimous), and 2005. His streak of 14 straight NCAA appearances and 14 straight 20+ W seasons are exceeded only by coaches like Roy Williams and Lute Olson. He is one of a handful of college coaches to have a winning overall record and winning conference record in every season of his coaching career.

Tubby measures up. He’ll do extremely well at The U. You’ll be pleased 10 years from now when he retires. He’s THAT good!


enjoytubby said...

Minnesota fans, you'll see that Tubby does not and will not get the job done on the recruiting front. He'll put a boring product on the court. He's not all "Friend of Tubby," or more likely Tubby himself, makes Orlando out to be.

I'm a Kentucky fan and am glad he's gone.

Anonymous said...

First of all, why are you camparing Kentucky to other schols? Boiler Maker, of course you wouldn't understand becaue you're not a Kentucky fan. But here in Lexington, we don't get full of ourselfs because we simply do better than most programs and are in the Top 5, but because we are by far and away the best college basketball school in the nation.

That leads me to my next point. In none of those categories where you were comparing Tubby's statistics while at Kentucky to other coachs', never was he the best in ANY of them.

Secondly, Rick Pitino won an average of 30 games per season which also included two seasons prohibition. You can't argue that Tubby Smith inherited a great team that was destined to be a prime candidate for the National Championship, or at least make the Final Four the third time in a row.

Thirdly, Tubby CAN'T develop players to their full potential. Yes the good players he had went to the NBA, but were they as good as they could've been? Randolph Morris- we ALL know he didn't do nearly as good as he could have; very inconsitent. Rajob Rondo- although a JERK, he would've performed a whole lot better had Tubby let him speed it up even a little bit. Marvin Stone- need I say more?

Thirdyly, Tubby, in fact, CAN'T recruit. Who gives scholarships to players such as Adam Williams, Bernard Cote, Sheray Thomas, Adam Chiles, etc.? Who lets recruits like Corey Brewer, Tyler Hansborough and Brandon Wright slip away?

The reason why his NCAA winning percentage seems so good compared to those other coahes is because the NCAA now has 64-65 teams, in case you haven't heard. Back then, you only had to win three or four games (instead of six now) to win the National Title. There were no "fluff" teams back then. The tournament had more talent per capita, so to speak.

How about Ben Howland goes nine years at UCLA without even reaching a Final Four? Or Coach K at Duke? What if Roy Williams went nine years at UNC without a Final Four? Or Bill Self at Kansas? Fans WILL get restless. They'll wonder why it's not working. They'll wonder why he dind't pick up some of the recruits he could've easily had.

But at the end of the day, UK now has the most dedicated and hard-working coach in the nation. We'll be winning again, and you'll be trying to give excuses on why Tubby can't deliver in Minnesota. It's always SOMETHING.

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

I see the Kentucky faithful from SEC nation have made their way over here. Welcome. I'll save my counter arguments for 'Friend of Tubby,' but I will say I'm not expecting him to be as amazing as 'FOT' writes nor as bad as his Kentucky detractors would have us believe.

However, I do have some concerns about recruiting--and by that I mean current recruiting, not from UK. I'll lay out those concerns on another day.

Anonymous said...

we have been over this time and time again. You are NOT a Kentucky fan. I don't know why you even pretend to be one. Go polish your prestigious "local engineering awards".

Anonymous said...

PagingJim, it's FOT here.

You'll find these Tubby Bashers to be among the few racists in the UK fanbase.

I'll share more information by private E-Mail but these idiots will be around no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Now I'll address the specific mistakes made by the UK idiots above.

Pitino averaged 27 W if you count probation but 30 W AFTER probation was done. (183 divided by 6)

Tubby averaged 31 W as I said in the 1990's. (63 divided by 2)

I'm not Tubby but a friend of his.

I've listed all of Tubby's UK recruits elsewhere. The majority were very good, some excellent. A few were not either category.

Like Carlos Toomer, Aminu Timberlake, Jody Thompson, Oliver Simmons, and others by his predecessor.

Tubby's NCAA W-L % of 72% is among the Top 5 percentages of the past 15 years. Apples to apples, he's among the best of HIS era.

These idiotic, racist posters come from a UK "fan" website called Dynasty Defenders run by avowed racists Katman2000 and ruppsrunt2.

Anonymous said...

#1-Tubby Smith inherited a program coming off a 6 season run in which it had gone 183-30. He went 69-13 with two teams composed mainly of players he inherited, 194-70 once those players were out of the program. Decent, not great. Not at Kentucky.

#2- Tubby Smith's 23-9 record in the NCAA Tournament at Kentucky included 11 victories over teams seeded 12th or lower, and no victories over any team seeded higher than 5th since his first year at the school, despite his teams being seeded 5th or higher 7 years in a row after that first season.

#3- He certainly did better with players he inherited, and he recruited no first-team All-Americans or lottery picks to a school that has produced more All-Americans than any other, and had produced 6 lottery picks in the 6 years prior to his arrival.

#4- Two first round picks at Kentucky that he actually recruited and coached. Two, and one of them (Rajon Rondo) was basically pushed out the door because he was so unhappy.

#5- Tubby went to one FF in 10 seasons at a school that had appeared in the FF 12 times in the 59 tournaments prior to his arrival (6 times post-Rupp-25 seasons- along with 6 other appearances in the Final 8 post-Rupp). Tubby won 76% of his games, but that was dropping dramatically, and he accomplished that at a school at which Adolph Rupp won over 80% (for over 40 years), Joe B. Hall won 75%, and his predecessor went 219-50 (despite two years of probation at the start). Even Eddie Sutton went 76-21 his first 3 years, before the program imploded in his 4th.

Realism does not equal racism. Tubby Smith is a decent coach. Maybe he'll do well at Minnesota (fine by me if he does). He was not a good fit for the Kentucky program, and it had nothing to do with skin color. He showed no compunction to aggressively pursue National Championship-caliber teams, he resented the intense level of attention that came with the job, and he was completely incapable of generating any enthusiasm around the program.

He mishandled the Saul situation dramatically, saw the media as his enemy, and bored the fans to tears with his style of play (when he was hired with the expectation that he would continue to play a style at least somewhat similar to Pitino, something that had become a part of the identity of the program in 1997). He was given the opportunity to make dramatic changes in 2006, after the debacle of the 2005-2006 season, and refused to do so.

He had his chance, a very fair chance by modern college sports standards, and he couldn't get it done. Minnesota is not Kentucky, so maybe that will be a far better fit.

BlueCat said...

OK, just so the UK fanbase has some equality in the posts here I decided to chime in on the subject.

Tubby Smith IMO is a great coach, and an average recruiter. I supported Tubby for a long time when many were jumping ship and calling for his ouster. Tubby did an excellent job at UK for most of his time there, but fell short of the expectations of many. There is a small group of fans that made life miserable for Tubby every chance they got. There were many others that began believing some of the garbage being spewed forth by a few. Most fans still today believe that Tubby is a great coach, and a great person, but there are still a few that even today continue to spew forth hate. These are not typical of the UK fanbase, but they are the one's getting the attention.

Tubby has a proven track record of success, and I believe he'll do well in Minn. and have the Gophers near or at the top of the Big 10 in short order.

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

Thanks for weighing in Bluecat. It seems the loudest voices in the UK fanbase have an intense hatred for Tubby Smith.

Is it just fanatcism? Has race played a factor? Do they just shout the loudest?

I can understand some consternation from UK fans for less than stellar seasosn, by UK standards. But the hatred spewn about Tubby amazes me.

As a Golden Gopher fan, I couldn't be happier. Anyone doubt Tubby has one giant chip on his shoulder and is out to prove his detractors wrong?

I think us Gopher fans will get to enjoy the spoils.

Anonymous said...

screw this garbage. Tubby will have you languishing in the bottom half of your conference for years to come, I'll promise you. And I'm NOT a racist you fucking dork. You probably met Tubby Smith one time and it was the only famous person you ever met, so you started sucking from his balls like a little kid who is totally enamored with something/someone. Sort of how I looked up to my father when I was a little kid and thought he could do no wrong. But guess what, I GREW UP.

You can use 1,000,000 statistics if it makes you feel better. All you have to do is WATCH THE GAMES, if you know anything about basketball, and you will see that Tubby ran one of the worst offenses the past couple years at UK I have ever seen in my entire life. I swear to God. It is sickening. You stand around the 3-point line and pass until the shot clock runs out and you are forced to chuck up some pile of shit. That's it. That's your offense. There is no penetration, there is no movement, it is just HIDEOUS. And his ball-line defense, lol, don't get me started on that please. Especially with the 3 point line about to be moved back. Whatever Tubby once had that allowed him to rise through the coaching ranks is GONE. He has been passed by in the coaching and recruiting world. That is a fact.

You'll be wondering why you are paying Tubby so much very soon.

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

A lot of anger there, anon 7:01. I'm not going to try and speak to Tubby's offense in 2006-07, seeing as I didn't watch a whole lot of UK basketball.

But I would imagine someone penetrated the defense at some point during the season. I'd venture a guess that someone threw an entry pass into a big man at least a couple times. So, I think you are exaggerating just a tad.

You also say Tubby will have us "languishing" in the bottom half of the Big Ten for years to come. I don't remember any of his teams ever being anywhere near the bottom of any conference. He won his fair share of SEC titles, no? An NCAA Championship?

How soon you forget.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:01

You would imagine that someone penetrated at some point during the season, wouldn't you? And you'd be right. But JUST BARELY. I sat with my father and watched the games the past several years and we used to just laugh (once we stopped being able to compete with the best teams in the country, and in turn, stopped caring) at our offense, and we would actually COUNT how many times we got penetration in a game. You will think I'm kidding, but the usual result would be somewhere around 1-4. It is unbelievably awful. Literally, almost, unbelievable. Trust me. So yes, I'm exaggerating, but not by a whole lot.

And yes, you will be in the bottom half. That's the problem with people who just look at all Tubby's numbers at UK instead of actually WATCHING GAMES! Folks, those numbers he amassed at UK were gathered on the strength of UK's name alone and ability to get talent. It had nothing to do with Smith. Can you imagine a coach at Kentucky NOT winning 20 games?!? Over 100 schools won 20 games last year. If Kentucky didn't win 20 games the entire state would flip upside down. It would be hard NOT to win 20 games and win a game in the NCAA's with the name value/facilities UK has.

So anyway, yeah there was a lot of anger in my post about Tubby Smith. Doesn't that clue you into anything? I was a huge Smith supporter in his early years, just like you are now. We'll see how long it takes for this subject to make you angry too.

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

Anon: Tubby had success before he came to Kentucky. He won in Tulsa and at Georgia. You don't get offered the Kentucky job without having success.

If the Gophers AREN'T in the bottom of the Big Ten this year, I'll call Tubby a miracle worker. Our talent has been depleted by years of sanctions.

And you talk about 'name value/facilities.' Those are surely plusses. But the game has changed since the Kentucky legacy was built. We're in a text messaging society. The stars aren't coming out of rural Indiana and Kentucky anymore, they are coming out of the big city. Do 17-18 years olds--the majority of them--want to spend their college careers in Lexington, KY? Other than a legacy, the state doesn't offer much to entice recruits these days, does it?

I believe Tubby will have an easier time recruiting kids to Minnesota, to a metropolitan city like Minneapolis.

ICUBlue2 said...

Tubby Smith would have been booted yrs ago if he hadn't won it all his first yr. He was a bad recruiter and didn't teach the players that he had anything on or off the court. IMO it seemed that Tubby had more players transfer or quit that he had Graduate. To support Tubby now that he is gone just shows that you are a Tubby fan and not a UK fan. You are most likely a ban wagon fan that started liking UK when they won it all in 98 "w/Rick's Guys". Tubby will not do a thing for UM but take their $$$$$$$$. And why would any recruit want to go to UM unless they enjoy Ice Fishing LOL....

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

This back and forth has gotten a little out of line. A few moments ago I responded angrily to Iceblue's relatively innocent 'ice fishing' comment. I stated Minneapolis was a forward-thinking city, inferring that those in Kentucky, well, are backward-thinking. I meant nothing perjorative, but nonetheless I wasn't happy with the way it sounded when I read it a few minutes later.

I'm closing comments on this post. It was created to give Gopher fans a chance to discuss the pros and cons of Tubby Smith.

As a Gopher fan, I have some reservations about Tubby Smith. I'm happy he's with us, but I'm not as gung ho as Friend of Tubby.

Kentucky fans, you're welcome here anytime. But let's not get too accustomed to tossing around f-bombs or regional stereotypes (this goes for me and Gopher fans too).

For now, the comments on this post are closed. But I have a feeling UM and UK fans will have plenty of opportunities to go after one another.