VAUGHT: Blue Ribbon's Dortch discusses UK hoops

While Chris Dortch is in Birmingham to promote his 2005 Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, which is easily the best of its kind on the market, he's already hard at work on his annual basketball yearbook.

"I have already written seven of the 12 SEC basketball previews," Dortch said. "I really can't enjoy this from the football perspective because my work has shifted to basketball."

So which team will Blue Ribbon be picking to win the SEC basketball championship? Will it again be Florida as it has been in recent years?

"I told (UK assistant coach) Dave Hobbs earlier that I had learned my lesson. Never again will I pick against the Cats in the SEC," Dortch, who played golf with KSR's Darrell Cartwright Thursday, said. "Trust me, Kentucky will be No. 1 in the SEC. I've sometimes got intoxicated by the talent Billy Donovan has at Florida and have picked them No. 1. But Tubby (Smith) and Dave just get it done.

"They have a program and system that guys buy into or they get gone since that Team Turmoil year. They have had a zero tolerance policy that has worked for them. They have kids who buy what they are teaching and they win ballgames. It is not as fancy, or maybe as fun to watch as Rick Pitino's style of ball, but it is a good system that works well for them."

Dortch will have UK No. 1 with or without sophomore center Randolph Morris. Dortch knows Morris' flirtation with the NBA has been a controversial issue but he has no problem with Smith giving him a second chance.

"I give a kid one mistake. After that, he is on his own. Everybody deserves one mistake, and he's made his," Dortch said. "Good athletes just have to learn to wait on the money. I don't know who got in Randolph's head, but there were three freshmen guards who averaged more rebounds per game than him last year. This kid was not ready for the league.

"Somebody told him he was. But there are a lot of sharks who prey on kids. Randolph was a victim of that. Hopefully, for his sake and UK's as well, he can come back and not do something crazy like go join the NBA midway of next season. He needs to finish career at Kentucky. I guarantee you three more years with Tubby and he will be a guy that is well compensated at the next level."

Former Alabama basketball coach Wimp Sanderson, who does a daily radio talk show with former Auburn coach Sonny Smith, hopes Morris as well as others were "enlightened" by what happened in this year's NBA draft.

"I think certain people better visualize that they maybe need advice from somebody that knows something. You let the player come back like Tubby is and you keep trying to tell your kids that you will be honest with them about their future if they will just ask," Sanderson said. "Tubby could have told him all this was going to happen. Tubby is a good coach and knows what he is doing. Tubby would have done the right thing if someone had just asked him."

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