Dear Tubby, What Have You Done With Randolph Morris..

    
December 10th, 2006

Dear Tubby Smith,

Ok, good one. The joke’s on us. It was a good effort, to be sure, but now we’re onto you. We just want to know how you did it.

We want to know how you managed to find someone who not only physically resembled center Randolph Morris, but who also had his stoic demeanor down cold. It’s not as if you can just walk down the street and find someone 6’10” who has solid footwork and a decent jumper, as well as an expression that could melt ice.

But you did it. Not only did you find someone, you managed to sneak him onto the team this year, and you even kept your smile in as you watched him post a double-double in the season opener. He followed that up with a game in which he scored 18 points, all while committing exactly zero personal fouls. Zero. That should have been our first clue.

But you stayed strong. You didn’t tip your hand as you watched him dominate All-American Tyler Hansbrough at UNC, instead focusing on the turnovers that led to a defeat. It was the same story in Maui, where you spoke about a loss to Memphis rather than this imposter’s 18-point, 8-rebound effort.

You see, we know this can’t be the same Randolph Morris who has donned the #33 jersey in Lexington the last two seasons. That guy, for all his physical ability, never gave the slightest hint that he cared about the outcome of the game, or even the welfare of his teammates. Yes, he was a big-time recruit, even a McDonald’s All-American, but high school stats don’t mean much to the Rupp faithful when you don’t hustle back on defense.

After an unspectacular freshman season in which he posted averages of eight points and four rebounds per game, that guy declared for the 2005 NBA Draft. As if there aren’t enough stiffs in the league already.

To no one’s shock (except maybe his own), he went undrafted. It was then, and only then, he decided that school might not be so bad. After sitting out a suspension for close to half of the season, he posted solid numbers upon his return, although it was hardly Michael Jordan returning to the 1995 Bulls. In fact, the team went just 12-9 with him in the line-up, and bowed out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

But you knew then what your plan was. With all of the attention focused on Glen Davis in Baton Rouge and Joakim Noah in Gainesville, you figured you could sneak this new guy into the league, and no one would notice. After all, you already had enough new players coming in this year- what could one more hurt?

But now the league is catching up to your thinking. If they haven’t already, they’ll soon figure out this isn’t the Randolph Morris they’ve seen in the past. They’ll take one look at the deadly-accurate, mid-range jumper, or the way he crashes the glass, and they’ll know something is up. When they see this guy doesn’t leave his feet for every pump fake, and even blocks a few shots, they’ll be on the phone to the league, wondering where he came from. And by the time they hear him bark out orders to teammates on the floor, or see him yell emphatically after finishing a dunk, they will have caught on to your scheme.

It’s not that we blame you Tubby. Who wouldn’t want a player like this new guy? But we know what you’ve done, and as much as the fans may like him, it’s not fair to keep parading this poor guy out there disguised as Morris.

If you’re not careful, this guy might end up finding his way onto some All-SEC teams, and he might even see his name mentioned with some All-Americans. In fact, next thing you know, he’ll be on the radar of some NBA scouts, and then he’ll have to deal with all of the pressures that come with being a millionaire before he even turns 25. How would you feel about that?

So now the word is out Tubby, and I just have one more question for you before I wrap this up. I promise you it has nothing to with how you did this, or why you did this, or even where you found this guy. I won’t ask how his teammates are responding, or what the fans think, or what you’ll do when his cover is blown.

Just one simple question.

Can we keep him?