Give Smith credit for developing talent

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith is very well respected at the NBA level based on what he did with the Olympic team a few years back. I think his name, what type of coach he is and his style of play is known throughout the league.

I think since he took over from Rick Pitino he did a great job in developing Nazr Mohammed and Jamaal Magloire. Chuck Hayes is in the league right now. Tayshaun Prince is there. Keith Bogans is there. Scott Padgett is there. Kelenna Azubuike just signed last week. Gerald Fitch and Erik Daniels have had a taste in the NBA. So maybe he is doing a better job than what people really give him credit for as far as developing players.

His style of play and discipline is kind of what throws people off a little bit because it is not that exciting, high scoring style of play that people want to see. But the bottom line is that these guys are getting taught how to play the game of basketball and it is showing with the way they move to the next level.

Possibly recruits don't realize that. It might get lost in the style of play when you look at Kentucky basketball right now. The perception is that they don't run enough and play an up tempo game. However, when I look at scoring this year, it is up from last year and they are running more. It is just that most people want to see them run more, and it would look better and be more appealing if they ran more. But ultimately if you look at numbers and points they average, they are running more and I hope that will be appealing to recruits.

Maybe recruits should look at Chuck Hayes. He's been a pleasant surprise in the NBA. Chuck is probably about 6-5 maybe, and to play the forward position in the NBA and to hold your own, start and get the job done and sign a contract, that's amazing.

We knew Bogans and Prince had credentials coming in. Azubuike might surprise some people with what he has done, but he hasn't surprised me. He's a great athlete and scorer. He just needed to be in the right system and (Golden State coach) Don Nelson loves two guards that can post up and step outside and score, too. Kelenna can do so many things and could at UK.

Nazr's success is no surprise. I have not seen anyone work as hard to achieve a goal as what Nazr did coming in overweight and having to overcome a lot of things. His work was amazing.

I didn't think Jamaal at first had the offensive skills to play in the NBA, but I always knew he had the physical toughness, shot blocking and being mean in the paint. He had the attitude. But give Tubby credit for bringing out his offensive game. The offense went through Jamaal his senior year at UK and that gave him the opportunity to get a shot at the next level. Once he showed he could score, he had the body and mindset to play in that league.

So those who don't think Tubby can develop talent probably ought to give him a lot more credit than what they do based on what his former players are doing.


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