VAUGHT: Bearup believes in Gillispie

While in Nashville to cover Kentucky's second consecutive Music City Bowl victory KSR's Larry Vaught had an opportunity to discuss Kentucky basketball with Bret Bearup. The former Wildcat, and current Denver Nuggets executive, is a big believer in Billy Gillispie and his ability to win at Kentucky.

Not many people I know really have had a chance to be close to Billy Gillispie. Former UK basketball player Bret Bearup is one person who has.

Even though Bearup now spends most of his time worrying about his job with the Denver Nuggets, he did manage to find time to sneak away to the Music City Bowl to watch Kentucky play Florida State.

However, we did manage to talk a little basketball because I wanted to get Bearup's take on the struggles the Wildcats have endured this year.

"Gillispie is going to be fine. He's a great basketball coach," Bearup said. "He's going to do it his way and he's going to have players do it his way. He's not going to change because someone isn't buying in or playing the way they want.

"He lives and breathes basketball. He's thinking about basketball all the time. No one is going to outwork him."

But shouldn't Kentucky be a little better than what it has played so far this year? "I will give you that. But that doesn't mean Kentucky still couldn't be a better team at the end of the season," Bearup said.

While not wanting to comment on any specific players, he left little doubt that he felt the talent level was way, way down.

"No matter who the coach is, you have to have players. Great players make a great coach. Right now UK needs some more players. That's obvious. When Billy gets the players he wants, everything is going to be fine. He just needs time," Bearup said.

So UK fans shouldn't panic yet?

"Absolutely not. I still think he was a great hire. It would be a huge mistake to give up on him this early. He will get things going. Guys just have to learn that when he says he wants something done his way, he means it," Bearup said.

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