One of the long-standing facets of the community that players were not seen with any regularity was the NCAA sanctioned Dirt Bowl in Douglas Park. Over the last two weeks, Jodie Meeks, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford, and Alex legion have been regular visitors to Douglas Park. Coach Hall has been there to oversee them. While the status quo is being pushed aside in favor of more involvement in the community, Billy Gillispie has been working the recruiting trail tirelessly, and had five players in this past weekend, receiving a commitment from another sophomore.
How and when did Hall, who is African-American, get his start in basketball? Hall, who is from Peoria, Illinois, played at the University of Illinois and graduated in 2004. "When coach Lon Kruger left Illinois to take over the Atlanta Hawks, Bill Self took over and coach Gillispie came aboard as an assistant. At the time I was a sophomore and I made it known that I wanted to coach someday. It was then that coach Gillispie told me that if he ever got a head coaching job he was going to hire me as an assistant," Hall explained.
He said when they first went to Texas A&M, the Aggies were 0-16 the year before. The first year they lost to LSU on a last second shot in the NIT. In the three years they were there things got progressively better and they went to the round of sixteen in the NCAA tournament last season.
"In the time I have been here in Lexington, I have grown to like it here very much. There are many good people here and they make you feel at home," Hall said. As time and events revolving around the UK basketball reveal themselves, we are finding that the status quo is being pushed into the background. Bringing the face of the program to the community will no doubt pay big dividends in the future.