VAUGHT: UVA Accepts the Obvious

Finally the University of Virginia has decided to accept the obvious - Tubby Smith is not leaving Kentucky to try and rebuild a struggling Atlantic Coast Conference program that faces far more annual competition than the Wildcats do.

Finally the University of Virginia has decided to accept the obvious - Tubby Smith is not leaving Kentucky to try and rebuild a struggling Atlantic Coast Conference program that faces far more annual competition than the Wildcats do.

About six weeks ago Smith said he had no interest in the job. He's never wavered in that belief despite constant rumors that he was Virginia's top choice and that the Cavaliers would open the bank account for him.

A Kentucky athletics official confirmed today that he's been told Virginia has accepted Smith's desire to stay at Kentucky and will now focus its attention - and money - in another direction.

It was obvious all along that Smith was not interested. He's talked fondly about next year and what kind of team he will have. He's been busy recruiting for next year and has laid the groundwork for a potential banner recruiting class in 2006.

This is not like Smith's flirtation with the NBA when several teams impressed him in past years. He never made any move that should have made Virginia think he was even remotely interested in leaving the Wildcats.

Smith enjoyed last season despite the way it ended. His players gave him no problems off the court and he liked being around all of them. While he would like to see a little faster progress on the promised basketball practice facility, he understands the financial problems and continues to be patient with UK officials on that matter.

So while it is still fine to sweat out recruiting and wonder if there is even a remote chance that another Kentucky player could declare for the NBA draft, don't worry about Smith. Just as he said six weeks ago, he's got no intention of leaving Kentucky and even those optimists at Virginia know that now.


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