This transfer brings two points to mind. One, Smith's team last year obviously had far more chemistry issues than even most of us suspected. Last week seniors Brandon Stockton and Preston LeMaster said as much and indicated another player would be leaving. Obviously, they had heard Sims talking and knew he was gone.
Why have so many players left the program early in Smith's tenure whether to transfer or test the NBA? It just seems like finding the right fit for his system has been a recurring problem for the Kentucky coach.
Of course, I'm one that thought Smith should have helped Sims pack when he first indicated he was unhappy. After all, he averaged 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in 29 outings. He got plenty of chances, especially early in the season, to show he belonged on the court more but in the last 15 games, he managed just 24 points and seldom played at key times.
After Kentucky lost its final game, I asked Sims what the season had been like. "It is kind of hard to explain. It has been up and down. It has not really been the kind of year I wish it was for me, but there's nothing I can do about it. I had injuries at times. I wish I could get more minutes., Sims said.
"But it has been a fun season with these guys. They are all pretty cool. The coaches are great. It just hasn't been the kind of season I wish I could have had personally."
Sims said a back injury and limited playing time kept him from playing to his ability. However, it was obvious his idea of playing to his ability was scoring and that defense, rebounding and teamwork were a lot farther down on the list of priorities.
"I am still a scorer. It has been pretty frustrating not having as many opportunities to score. Coming here I really didn't know what to expect as far as minutes I would play and shots I could take in a game. I just knew this was one of top programs and everyone was good on this level. I thought if I played as hard as I could, that would justify a lot of minutes for me, but things not always go as you want. That is how it has been this year for me. "
So what had the season taught him about his game? "That is a good question. I have not really set down and thought about that. I guess just how hard you have to come out and play every day. It is not easy. Playing for coach Tubby is not easy, either. He demands a lot out of his players. I really haven't learned how hard I have to play every second on the court."
And who should be blamed for that? Did Smith not do enough to teach Sims what it took to play hard? Or did Sims ignore what the coach tried to teach him? Take your pick but the bottom line is that Sims didn't do nearly enough to justify his lofty belief in his own talent and that Smith couldn't find a way to get more out of the potential he had. That's why Sims' transfer probably is not only best for him, but also for Kentucky as well.