Taylor's Thoughts: Big Blue Madness

Some thoughts to ponder as Kentucky ushers in another basketball season tonight during Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena.

Some thoughts to ponder as Kentucky ushers in another basketball season tonight during Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena.

Billy Gillispie

Kentucky followers have been anxiously awaiting to see the new coach in action since he arrived from Texas A&M last April. Although tonight's event is just a dress rehearsal before the formal event, Gillispie will also get a taste of what life is like in an arena filled with nothing but Kentucky fans.

He experienced the neutral side of Rupp during the NCAA Tournament, but nothing like the welcome he will receive tonight.

He has yet to coach a game for the team and that will be a new experience on both sides of the spectrum.

His first win at Kentucky will be No. 101 of his career.

Patrick Patterson

Gillispie's first signature recruit will also receive a hero's welcome once the introductions are being made.

Patterson, who picked Kentucky over Florida, is Kentucky's most coveted recruit since Jamal Mashburn inked with Kentucky 17 years ago.

Patterson's presence has the same feel as the one that Mashburn brought along with him from New York.

Fans are hoping and expecting Patterson to deliver the same goods that Mashburn did when he played for the Wildcats.

The returnees

Ramel Bradley is back. So is Derrick Jasper, Jodie Meeks, Joe Crawford, Michael Porter and Perry Stevenson.

Nine players on Kentucky's roster played for and were recruited by former coach Tubby Smith. The question is how will the players respond to the new coach and his style?

Recent history suggests that new coaches have fared well at Kentucky in their first season.

Eddie Sutton went 32-4 and lost in the regional finals, while Rick Pitino took a probation-scarred team and went 14-14.

Smith guided the Wildcats to an NCAA title in his first year in 1998.

Like Smith, Gillispie has some tools to work with.

Inside job

With Randolph Morris in the NBA, the biggest question mark will be Kentucky's inside game.

Stevenson and Jared Carter are the top candidates to fill the vacated slot, but neither player has had success over the long haul.

More questions will pop up once the season begins, but for now, those are a few points to ponder as the season begins.


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