VAUGHT: Dortch shares views on UK basketball

KSR's Larry Vaught discusses Kentucky basketball with Chris Dortch, of Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook.

Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook's Chris Dortch was one of the first college basketball writers to note that Billy Gillispie would be a good fit at Kentucky when UK started its coaching search last year after Tubby Smith resigned.

Even when the Cats struggled early this season, Dortch kept insisting he thought Gillispie would be a good long-term fit.

Going into Saturday's game at Georgia, Dortch shares his views on the Cats.

Question: Are you surprised that Kentucky is playing as well as it is now?

Dortch: "I think it was a matter of time before Kentucky players bought into Billy Gillispie's system. It's worked everywhere he's been, and it's beginning to work at Kentucky."

Question: How good do you think Patrick Patterson is and where should he be mentioned when you are talking about the nation's best freshmen?

Dortch: "He's certainly among the top 10 freshmen in the country in a class that is as deep as any in my recollection. He's already become one of the best low-post threats in the SEC, and if you're among the best in the SEC, you're also among the best in the country.

Question: Has Ramel Bradley improved this much, or have SEC opponents enabled him to suddenly start playing so well?

Dortch: "Bradley is competitive and durable. As he continues to figure out what Billy wants from him, he'll only get better. Billy's relationship with Acie Law at Texas A&M was a little frosty at first, but once Law realized he needed to do Billy's bidding, he became, arguably, the nation's best lead guard."

Question: Can Kentucky make the NCAA Tournament and what would it take for that to happen if you think it could?

Dortch: If Kentucky wins 10 or 11 SEC games that will give the NCAA selection committee pause for deliberation. That means Kentucky would have finished strong, won some tough games on the road and beaten some RPI top 50 teams, all measuring sticks the committee considers."

Question: Finally, what is the national perception of Kentucky basketball now?

Dortch: "I think most people expected there to be an adjustment period at players recruited by Tubby Smith learned Coach Gillispie's system and his tendencies. He's as demanding and unrelenting as any coach in the country. He asks a lot from his players, who have to figure out how to give it to him. Sometimes that process takes a while."

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