VAUGHT: Applaud Gillispie's discipline

Like everyone else, I've not agreed — or understood — everything that coach Billy Gillispie has done this basketball season. Did he practice his players too hard before Gardner-Webb? Is he juggling his lineup too much? Has he pushed players too hard and caused injuries?

However, I want to applaud what he did with freshman A.J. Stewart after the Stony Brook game.

Stewart fell asleep in a team meeting and did not get to play in the game. We're not even sure if he will play Saturday against North Carolina or not.

Normally at UK, a player who did not play would not be made available to the media.

Certainly a player who didn't play for disciplinary reasons would be not available. However, Gillispie made Stewart come to the media room and explain why he didn't get to play. To me, that's making a player take responsibility for his actions. Stewart, not Gillispie, got to explain how he was tired and nodded off during the film session. Stewart got to explain how he disappointed himself and his teammates and would not let it happen again.

The good thing is that Stewart humbly accepted his media punishment. He wasn't pouting or tight-lipped. He openly admitted his transgression and even managed a smile before he left the media room.

Gillispie obviously sent a message to Stewart by not playing him. However, I think he also sent a message to his players that they were going to be held accountable for their actions and have to explain their actions rather than being shielded from the media and the public.

This was not a horrible mistake Stewart made — and I would wager my house that it never happens again.

But I like the way Gillispie handled the problem by doing not only what was best for his team, but also what was best for the player in the long run by teaching him that he really is responsible for his actions on and off the court.

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