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By LARRY VAUGHT
There are a lot of things about the Billy Gillispie era at Kentucky that no longer surprise me.Ã‚Â However, the news that former Wildcat Derrick Jasper has is joining Gillispie’s staff at Texas Tech shocks me.
Jasper was a four-star recruit from California and ranked as one of the nation’s top point guards when he came to UK and had a forgettable sophomore year under Gillispie when he averaged 4.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game after missing the first 10 games of the season while recovering from microfracture knee surgery. Jasper had averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds while starting 27 games as a freshman.
Jasper left and transferred to UNLV, where rumors surfaced that even if he had not had to sit out a transfer year that his knee was still so weak that he would not have been cleared to play. While Jasper never took any public shots at Gillispie when he transferred and even praised him in a statement when he transferred, there were rumors that the only reason Jasper left was due to the way Gillispie forced him to return from his injury rather than letting him redshirt.
Jasper played in 53 games the last two seasons for UNLV and averaged 6.7 points per game as a junior and 5.1 as a senior. He shot 57.1 percent from the field as a senior, but was hesitant to take shots just like he was at Kentucky.
With no chance at a professional career due to his limited offensive game, Jasper apparently has jumped at the chance to get into coaching on Gillispie’s staff and I wish him well. He was a terrific young man during his time at Kentucky and one you could not help but like. But I just never imagined him wanting to reunite with Gillispie.
Either most of us judged the Gillispie-Jasper situation wrong, or Jasper is willing to forgive and forget for a chance to get into coaching.