Gillispie reaches out to former players

When Billy Gillispie had a chance to talk to former head coach Don Haskins and Shelby Metcalfe at his previous coaching stops, he jumped at the opportunity. That's why it was no surprise to see former UK coach Joe Hall playing a prominent role at the recent Big Blue Madness.

But Gillispie also wants to make sure former UK players know they are welcomed to be part of his program.

"Sometimes former players do not get the credit and attention they deserve. When I came to Kentucky, I knew the basketball tradition. It was created by the players. I don't want to forget how important a part those former players had. You can't use that great knowledge if you are afraid to ask," Gillispie said.

"I want their opinions. I want to pick their brains on things and let them know this is home to them. They have made this the best program in the country. I think so far we have done a fair job of reaching out, but we are going to do a fantastic job. That is very, very important to us."

That was obvious when Gillispie had former UK All-American Kyle Macy, who will be part of the UK TV Network this season, fly with him to Birmingham for SEC Media Days last week.

"It's always great when a player like Kyle Macy is available to help," Gillispie said. "I'm happy he's going to be part of our broadcast team.

"If there is something Kyle says, it will be in an understated way in a back room or something like that. But our players will know this is a guy who has been through what they are going through. He is a person who has helped young people for a long time and he does it in a way where he doesn't have to beat his chest and get credit. But why wouldn't I want a Kyle Macy around? I want all those former players to know they are welcome because they are a big, big part of our program."

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