Demaree: Gillispie more comfortable at UK

With several preseason events already under his belt late October finds a much more relaxed Billy Gillispie that fans, media and players saw a year ago. While it is obvious that Gillispie has grown more comfortable in dealing with everything that goes with being the Kentucky men's basketball coach, it is equally obvious that knowing what to expect has also made the preseason easier for players.

Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie claims that even though it may appear so, there's no change in him from last year to this year.

"It may appear so, but there's no change," Gillispie maintained.

Oh contraire!

The coach is more comfortable with the Kentucky media. Many times last year he showed resistance to some of the questions coming from the media; as evidenced by his short answers and his unwillingness to answer some questions in depth.

Did the enormity of the program overwhelm him at times?

"No," he said. "A coach goes about his daily chores of coaching his team and that's the same anywhere you coach," Gillispie said. "I recruit spirit. I like guys that are fun to be around – I don't like duds. I want guys that want to be there. I want guys that embrace hard work. I want guys that embrace challenges. I think we have a lot of different guys that have a lot of spirit.

Once you've been around, and you are more used to things, that gives you the ability to express your spirit and your personality. Last year I think everyone was walking around not knowing what to expect. This year I think they are walking around with a great deal of confidence. This team has exhibited an enormous amount of spirit."

We think it would be accurate to say that all of the aforementioned reasons given by the Kentucky coach has brought about a markedly more comfortable Billy Gillispie. He used to be fidgety while on the podium at scheduled pressers and post game press conferences.

That seems to have all but disappeared from the demeanor of Gillispie. Now Gillispie seems to talk incessantly, and his answers have a much more free flow to them.

We asked junior college transfer Kevin Galloway what about Gillispie surprised him when he got here?

"I always knew he was a good coach but it's the ability to make you better than what you think you are."

DeAndre Liggins said he wants you to do everything perfect. Liggins said he's a perfectionist.

Gillispie spoke about the funny guys on his team and surprisingly Perry Stevenson was one of them. There is such a thing as dry humor and when we asked Stevenson about the change in Gillispie this year as opposed last year, he said -

"He doesn't yell nearly as much as last year," Stevenson said. "We wouldn't want him to lose his voice (tongue in cheek)."

Jared Carter said he thinks the coach is more connected to them. He said they have gotten a lot better leadership with the coach.

Michael Porter said a lot has to do with fact that they know what to expect from the coach which changes the overall demeanor.

"Last year, I felt like I couldn't do anything right. He's really good with body language. You can't fake it. He can quickly read you when you come to practice less than enthusiastic. As far as his change – I feel like he has a lot less stress off his shoulders with less injuries to deal with," stated Porter. The sum total of the 2008 Billy Gillispie as opposed to the 2007 edition of Gillispie is significant for the players in a positive way. Nothing has changed on the expectations of perfection from Gillispie.

A. J. Stewart, who has been rumored to have been in the doghouse this preseason, said the team has excellent chemistry.

Based upon player comments and observations from the outside Gillispie is not the only individual more comfortable with Coach at the helm of the Wildcat ship, the players are also more comfortable with their coach.

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