SEC Media Days: Dykes praises Gillispie

ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes knows plenty about college basketball, including what it takes to win at Kentucky since he was on Eddie Sutton's staff at Kentucky.

ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes knows plenty about college basketball, including what it takes to win at Kentucky since he was on Eddie Sutton's staff at Kentucky.

If Dykes is right, Kentucky has made a terrific hire with Billy Gillispie.

"I think they hired one of the top five coaches in college basketball right now as far as preparation and kids understanding the commitment to the game as he wants it to be played. Nobody is going to outwork him, his staff or his kids. He has the entire package," Dykes said.

"I watched him work at Texas A&M when he didn't have a lot of talent. His teams don't beat themselves, which is a real plus and something not talked about enough in college basketball these days. Wildcat fans are going to be thrilled with the effort that his kids play with."

Dykes says Gillispie devotes the day-long attention to UK basketball that Kentucky fans demand.

"That is what he does. College basketball is his life. He is going to have to make some inroads in recruiting. But the good thing is that Kentucky still has that national name and draw," Dykes said. "The other thing I like is that he will adapt to what talent he has and what style has to play. He will play small this year because he has to.

"He can coach any style, but the bottom line is effort, fundamentals, attention to details and absorption of scouting reports. All things that go from being a good coach to a great coach, he has got it. Kentucky fans are really going to be impressed with how his teams play. They are going to lose games and there will be fans who say maybe this is not the guy. That is how Kentucky basketball is. But in the long run, he is the guy. He is awfully good."

Dykes says recruiting at Kentucky is not as easy as when he coached there about 20 years ago.

"There are a lot of good programs out there that have things to sell. Twenty years ago Kentucky was one of the two, three or four nationally recognized programs year in, year out. A lot of people have gained ground because of all the TV exposure and facility races going on," Dykes said. "There are a lot of programs out there that have the same to offer as Kentucky. For years Kentucky was the only one to stay you are going to play in front of 22,000 or 23,000 fans on national TV. There are a lot of those programs now. The recruiting for Kentucky has become more difficult the last 10 years. But with that being said, they should still hold their own with anyone in the country because of everything they had to offer."

Dykes remembers when only schools like North Carolina, Indiana and UCLA could offer the same things to entice recruits Kentucky could.

"I think that list now has grown to 15 or 20 schools or more. They have to battle Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Ohio State right close to home. Those are programs 10 to 15 years ago were not a factor in recruiting for Kentucky, but now they are. But just as hard as Billy Gillispie works on the floor, he will work in recruiting. Kentucky is fine. They are in great shape with Billy Gillispie."

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