So it's no surprise to Dortch that Gillispie has made an early favorable impression at Kentucky. "Anybody who knows him figured the guy would pound the pavement, and he has. He has no family. He answers to no one except himself. The only thing prevents him from going all day is pure fatigue, and he doesn't get tired," Dortch said. "I have just heard a lot of great things. He recently told someone if you get on someone in the eighth grade, you are too late. He was partially joking, but he is looking to the future and who is to say he is getting on these kids too early. I just knew he would infuse the program with energy."
Dortch was also a Tubby Smith fan. Yet he won't deny there is a new energy about Kentucky basketball now.
"It is clear as much as we all respected Tubby Smith for being a good X and O guy and a good team guy, maybe some energy was lacking -- and this guy proves it. He gets it on and comes to play. He hasn't even filled out his staff yet, but he hasn't needed them. Most coaches like to get their staff together, but he likes to get out and work like a whole staff by himself," Dortch said.
Dortch thinks Gillispie is going to change the way other SEC coaches recruit.
"He is going to make them change. I saw a comment by (Tennessee coach) Bruce Pearl where he said we have to get on these sophomores now. That is the way it is. Billy has done elite camps for years and that is how you identify prospects. He has been around kids and the game. He can identify kids early.
Is it risky?
Sometimes it can be, but you know if someone has innate basketball ability and IQ -- and that is the kind of kids he tries to get to commit. Other coaches are going to have to do the same thing to keep pace with him," Dortch said. "But if you knew anything about Billy Gillispie, that can't surprise you."