DEMAREE: Why Minnesota?

After ten years in the captain's chair at Kentucky, Tubby Smith has decided to move on and take the head-coaching job at the University of Minnesota. With the University of Michigan job open, the question is why Minnesota?

After ten years in the captain's chair at Kentucky, Tubby Smith has decided to move on and take the head-coaching job at the University of Minnesota. With the University of Michigan job open, the question is why Minnesota?

During the second half of the Clark County versus Christian County game in the Kentucky High School State Tournament at Rupp Arena, the buzz started of circulates around the arena that Smith had resigned and was on his way to Minnesota. Smith dropped the bomb that seemed to surprise everybody. Some of Smith's closest confidants were in the dark including Mister Kentucky Bill Keightley. Former AAU wizard Charlie Givens, who is very close to Smith said he was at the barber shop this morning with Smith and had a relatively long conversation with the coach and nothing came up in conversation about an exodus.

This writer and the star of a recent Hollywood film hit, namesake Will Smith would say it's all about "The Pursuit of Happiness." Tubby Smith was circulating around Rupp Arena on Wednesday with a huge grin on his face and appeared to not have a care in the world. Obviously, at that time he had the weight of the UK basketball program off his shoulders.

"In this job, it's a very tough job," said former U of L coach and now Joe B. Hall's partner on the Joe B. and Denny radio show, Denny Crum. "You have to have pretty thick skin to endure in this job. You're going to be under constant pressure and that's just the nature of the business.

The question was asked Crum by Channel 18 about being careful about what you wish for because Tubby Smith is a pretty good coach? Crum said: "Well Yeah, and that's all part of it, too. Who knows that who ever they get will make them happy, I don't know? I just know it's a tough job, it's a great university but it's going to be tough to fill his shoes and find somebody that's really good to elevate this program to the level they want." Tough in cheek Crum said Joe and I might be interested in this job. Be co-head coaches and find somebody young to recruit and get on with it. Could Smith have made his exit because of lack of support? "I just think that (Mitch) Barnhart didn't publicly support him," Crum said.

Every since the stir over the possibility of Smith leaving, this writer had been suggesting the replacement should be the second-year head coach Reggie Theus presently at New Mexico State University. Before going to New Mexico State, Theus had a two-year stint under Rick Pitino at U of L as an assistant.

So, now the ball in the Mitch Barnhart court. Don't dribble it out of bounds Mitch.


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