Conley thinks Gillispie may face surprises

College basketball analyst Larry Conley thinks Billy Gillispie knows what expectations and pressure he will face during his first season at Kentucky. However, Gillispie still likely will face a few surprises.

College basketball analyst Larry Conley thinks Billy Gillispie knows what expectations and pressure he will face during his first season at Kentucky. However, Gillispie still likely will face a few surprises.

"I think he knows what it is about. He has been in the business long enough to know about Kentucky basketball and he knows the tradition of the program," Conley, who recently went into the UK Hall of Fame, said. "But having said that, until you sit in that chair and really experience a full year of Kentucky basketball and what it is about, I am not sure anybody can really get their arms around it.

"Think about this. Joe Hall followed Adolph Rupp. Joe Hall was a Kentucky player and knew what it was all about because he was an assistant there for many years. He understood that part. Eddie Sutton was a terrific basketball coach, but it took him a couple of years to really understand what it was all about. Tubby Smith came in after Rick Pitino -- and I even think Rick had a little bit of adjustment to it even though he came from the New York Knicks. It took him a while to get acclimated. It took Tubby a couple of years. Eventually they get it. Some get it quicker than others.

"This is a strange thing to say about these guys because they are all professionals and would be at that level where you would expect them to understand it. But being placed in that position and sitting in that chair as Kentucky basketball coach is different than just sitting on the outside looking in."

So what will be the biggest change under Gillispie this year versus how Kentucky played under Tubby Smith?

"I think you will see a better conditioned basketball team. I think this will be a club that will be able to play 35 to 36 minutes with its starters if need be. I wasn't sure they could ever do that with the guys they had before, but they will be able to do that this year," Conley said.


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