Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Looks like Thursday was a bad day all around for basketball coaches connected to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
About 12 hours before Rick Pitino held a defiant press conference in which he took aim at the media and Karen Sypher, former Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie was arrested and charged with drunken driving.
Here’s the video, courtesy WLEX-18 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Police dispatcher Todd Sparrow said Lawrenceburg police arrested Gillispie and took him to the nearby Franklin County Regional Jail.
WLEX-TV in Lexington reported that Gillispie was pulled over in a white Mercedes with Texas tags around 2:45 a.m. after someone reported seeing the car driving erratically.
Gillispie, 50, reportedly told police that he and a male passenger, 42-year-old Charles O’Connor, were returning from a golfing trip. O’Connor was reportedly charged with public intoxication.
Gillispie has now been arrested three times on alcohol-related driving charges, once in 1999 when he was at Oklahoma and again in 2003 when he was at Texas El-Paso.
In one case the charge was dismissed and in the late he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, reckless driving.
Memphis coach John Calipari replaced Gillispie this year after a rocky two-year tenure in which the Wildcats went 40-27. Last season’s 22-14 mark tied for the second-most losses in the program’s 106-year history.
RIEK REINSTATED, MUST SIT 9 GAMESJohn Riek had his eligibility reinstated by the NCAA Wednesday but must sit nine games to start Mississippi State’s season.
Although he can participate in offseason workouts and conditioning programs and begin practice with the rest of his teammates on Oct. 16, the 7-foot-1, 250-pound Khartoum, Sudan, native must sit out an NCAA-mandated nine games, which equates to 30 percent of the 2009-10 schedule.
“I’m glad we can put all of this behind us,” 12th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “Now we know exactly what his situation is, and we can move forward.”
Once considered a potential NBA lottery pick, Riek comes to MSU after spending last year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., rehabbing a knee he had surgery on in July of 2008.
Dan Barto, Riek’s coach at IMG, said Riek is ahead of where former UConn center Hasheem Thabeet was at this same point in his career.
“We played against Thabeet when he was down in Texas [at school],” Barto told me. “And Riek’s ahead of where Thabeet was, in my opinion.”
Riek joins Jarvis Varnado and Renardo Sidney in what could be one of the most imposing front lines in college basketball. The 6-10 Sidney is still awaiting word from the NCAA on whether he can compete because of an investigation into how his family paid rent on a $1.2 million home in Los Angeles.
(The AP contributed to this report)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.