LEMOND: Tubby makes promo stop in Owensboro

Respect. It's something that is earned. and that's why Kentucky head basketball coach Tubby Smith is so respected across the country, as a person, and as a basketball coach. Smith said he learned about life from his father, Guffrie, and he still uses his father's words of wisdom today. The UK coach said, "One thing my dad told me, he said, 'son, you don't have to do anything special or great, just do your job'."

It's a simple message that coach Smith lives by, and he expects his team to live by as well saying, "We try to tell our players that it's more important to give than to receive."

Smith made the comments while making a promotional stop in Owensboro.

His forgiveness was recently tested again when Randolph Morris didn't keep Smith "in the loop", so to speak, when making his recent decisions about the NBA. On Morris, Smith simply said, "Once a Kentucky Wildcat, always a Kentucky Wildcat."

That's why players love to play for him. That's why recruits want to play for him. Anytime a player who is considering attending Kentucky to play basketball, usually the first reason out of their mouth is "Tubby Smith". But his popularity goes way beyond the basketball court. Wherever Smith goes, hundreds of UK basketball fans are there to greet him. Maybe some day, when his basketball coaching days are over, Tubby Smith will run for governor of Kentucky. He would probably win, because everywhere he goes, fans love him.

However, you can't deny Smith's success on the basketball court. Only Adolph Rupp reached 100 wins faster as the UK head mens basketball coach. He is now getting ready for next season. He lost Kelenna Azubuike and Chuck Hayes, but he'll have one of the best backcourts in the country with Rajon Rondo, Ramel Bradley, Ravi Moss, Joe Crawford, and senior-to-be Patrick Sparks. Smith says Sparks is the type of leader that his team needs....a leader that shares the same values as he does, and can still get it done on the court.

Smith said, "He shot the lights out down at Alabama to help us clinch the SEC championship. He hit the big shot against Michigan State in the NCAA tournament, and he hit 3 big free throws against Louisville to win the game. He's the guy who wants to take the big shot, and we want him to take the big shot."

Midnight Madness is only about 2 1/2 months away.

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