It was with great amazement and shock today that I read ESPN’s report that Texas Tech basketball players had actually met with school officials to air complaints about the practice habits and coaching tactics of head coach Billy Gillispie.
It was equal amazement that I read that Gillispie had to be hospitalized in Lubbock for some sort of mysterious ailment, as well.
Surely this isn’t the same Billy Gillispie that when rumors began to surface about his treatment of players at Kentucky, wrote a big check to the Dance Blue charity and then cried like a baby during the charity’s function.
That’s not the Billy G. we know, the Billy G. who practiced his Kentucky teams relentlessly the day of games, who put Josh Harrellson in a bathroom, who clashed with Jodie Meeks and who incessantly questioned Darius Miller’s toughness, sparking a similar player revolt.
Here, Billy G.’s favorite games were mind games.
To me, one of the worst Billy G. player-treatment stories involved Derrick Jasper, who underwent microfracture surgery on his knee, then returned probably sooner than he should have returned.
I remember walking into the back of Rupp Arena just as the team bus was unloading. I noticed Jasper limping on the way to the entrance door. After the game, someone asked Gillispie about Jasper’s limp. Gillispie dismissed as “a habit.”
Riding his players to the brink of revolt is apparently a habit Billy Gillispie can’t break.