UT has insight into new UK coach

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl won't need to make any phone calls to get a scouting report on new Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie. Pearl can obtain all the insights he needs just by chatting with the Vols' newest assistant.

Steve Forbes, who joined the UT staff one year ago, spent the two previous seasons as an aide to Gillespie at Texas A&M. Thus, Forbes knows Gillespie's system, his philosophy, his coaching style and his tendencies better than probably anyone Pearl could consult.

Forbes was a first-year assistant for Gillespie's 2004-05 Aggie team that went 21-10 and played in the National Invitation Tournament. Forbes also was a staffer on the 2005-06 team that went 22-9, beating Syracuse in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament and losing at the buzzer to LSU in Round 2.

Forbes believes Gillespie is an outstanding coach who will do well in Lexington. Still, the Vol aide is glad to see his former boss joining the Southeastern Conference coaching fraternity.

"I'm very happy for him," Forbes told InsideTennessee earlier today. "He's a close personal friend of mine, and has been for some time. I have a lot of respect for him, as a coach and as a person. I don't think they could've hired a better guy to be their head coach."

Like predecessor Tubby Smith, Gillespie is a strict, no-nonsense coach.

"I'd describe him the same way he would describe his team – tough, hard-nosed and disciplined," Forbes said. "That's the way he is as a person and that's the way his teams are, as well.

"His motto is: 'Play hard, play smart, play together.' He gets his teams to be the meanest and toughest and most competitive they can be."

Forbes believes Kentucky will play a little quicker tempo under Gillespie than it did under Smith. Otherwise, their styles of play are fairly similar.

"I wouldn't say he's up-tempo," Forbes said, "but I think it will be a little faster. He runs a high/low offense. He likes to get the ball inside and he likes to shoot uncontested 3s from inside/out action.

"His teams have a lot of balance, as far as inside/out action. Defensively, he favors pressure man-to-man in the halfcourt. In some ways his team will be like Tubby's. In some ways it won't."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories