“Calipari’s Terrific Trio or Quintet?”

For a second year in a row, a former one and done point guard has won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.  And it is by no coincidence that these guys both played for the same coach in college.  The man with the best hair college basketball, Mr. John Calipari. And many think that he may have produced a 3rd Rookie of the Year in a row for next year with the emergence of star John Wall..

Is this great coaching by Cal?  Or is it phenomenal talent?  I would say it is a  mix of both, with a heavier focus on the phenomenal talent.  So Calipari may be under a ton of scrutiny by most NCAA fans.  Both of his former programs before Kentucky have been under big time NCAA investigations and have had Final Fours revoked.  The man with the slick hair has managed to keep his nose clean though.  Now do I think he cheated somehow and knew what was going on?  You better believe it.  But he has not been punished or found guilty by the NCAA personally yet.  We live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty.  I mean take for example the Ray Lewis murder case..

There has never been another coach in NCAA history to have consecutive one and done point guards take home NBA Rookie of the Year honors at the next level.  And really there is a great likelihood that it could be 3 in a row with all the hype surrounding John “Jive Buggin” Wall.  Want to know what is scary?

Brandon Knight, the top point guard in the 2010 class and the top rated high school senior in various recruiting polls is heading to Kentucky.  What if this guy lives up to the hype of his predecessors?  I am talking about the phenoms like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, and John Wall.  Want to know something that is even more scary?

Last week, Marquis Teague, rated the number 1 point guard in the 2011 class by various recruiting websites has already orally committed to UK.  This would be an improbable string of hypothetically the top point guards in 5 consecutive classes playing for Calipari.  That would be an amazing feat.  What if all 5 of them were one and dones who went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year (extremely unlikely but still possible)?

The best part about all of this.  Calipari could go 0 for 5 during these years in actually bringing home a National Title.  And that is what most coaches are in the business for.  Coaches at major programs are there to win titles.  I mean it is great to bring in these amazing recruiting classes.  But if you keep bringing in one and dones, you have no experienced vets.  Plus the majority of these guys will never get to play with the following year’s blue chip recruits.  Coach Cal did an amazing job this past year in bringing in a top-notch recruiting class (whether it was done ethically or not).  Not to mention he already had a fantastic experienced post player in Patrick Patterson ready to roll.

This coming year, and probably in subsequent years, he will not have the luxury of having an experienced leader who is an All American caliber player.  The way I look at it.  If Calipari could not win a title with this year’s amazingly talented group, the odds are stacked very high against him to bring home a title in the upcoming years.  And I will admit, this would make me happy if Cal never won a title.

I personally think he is involved in many unethical recruiting tactics.  But this is just an opinion.  Whether he gets caught or not is another story.  As I said before, in our society, you are innocent until proven guilty.  I will say this though.  Say UK does make a Final Four here in the next couple of years or even brings home a National Title.  Big Blue Nation will go wild and savor it.  The party in Lexington will last a month and it will be an extended Mardi Gras like celebration in Kentucky.

Too bad it will likely be taken away within the next 5 to 10 years due to NCAA recruiting violations..

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.


8 responses to ““Calipari’s Terrific Trio or Quintet?”

  1. I would argue that the talent doesn’t necessarily matter. Would you not say this year’s team was more talented than the team he took to the title game in 08? It’s all about stringing together the 6 wins. It’s no easy feat and he has come close twice, but the closer was with a less talented (not by much) team. The face of basketball has changed with the new one year rule and he is taking advantage of it. The only coach that still recruits four year players is Coach K and obviously it worked out well for him, but the family backgrounds of these kids is much different than the one Cal recruits. Do I think he operates in a grey area. Absolutely. Do I think most coaches do? Yes. Cal’s appeal is his selling himself as a stepping stone to the pros. He doesn’t try to keep his players around if they’re ready, and these kids want their shot. Once he loads up on back to back to back top classes, not everyone will leave the way they did this year. It was an anomaly. There won’t be the PT in the future. Write it down now- UK’s 2011 class will be the best recruiting class of all time. Four players in the top 10, including numbers 1 and 2. Cal doesn’t need to operate in th grey area as much now. With a resume of 5 straight top point guards, and 2 straight rookie of the years, thats all he needs to tell these kids.IN my opinion Wall’s only competition for Rookie of the Year is his teammate Cousins, and maybe Turner. We’ll see. Good post though my man.

  2. Matt,
    I would agree that this year’s team was more talented than the team of 08, but I would also say that they were each the most talented team in the country during their respective year. I would also agree with you that he operates in the grey area. I would say that it is a very debatable statement though that most coaches do too. There are some out there but the mass majority have never been or had their programs under investigation by the NCAA. He has at both of his prior jobs. So you could be right, but there is no evidence that points toward your conclusion yet.

    In addition, this year was not an anomaly in my eyes. The college game has become a one and done playground. He is bringing in guys that are supposed to be sure fire one and dones. I am not saying these guys will be as good as Wall and Cousins, but I still think the majority of them will leave after one year. So the PT will be there. But I guess you could be right, but unlikely. So many players are fleeing to the League even when they are not ready and Cal loves to steer his players towards leaving (because he feels they are ready).

    Next, the 2011 class will be outstanding. Probably the best in the country for that year. But it is hard to say the best ever. You have no idea how the 2011 class compares to previous classes. I will tell you it is highly unlikely that they will touch the 2007 class. So that is a very bold statement and very unlikely.

    Then finally, I agree with you on Wall, Cousins, and Turner being the early front runners for Rookie of the Year next year. A lot will hinge on where they end up and how they fit into their respective team’s style of play.

    But you do bring up some good points. We are both biased on this topic in opposite ways.


  3. No coach has ever had 4 players in the top 10. UK is set to accomplish that for 2011. So it is safe to say that. Michigan’s fab 5 barely had 5 from the top 40, and most would agree that’s the best class ever. Also, if you bring in the caliber talent Cal does every year, no matter how good the guys are, the PT won’t be there for everyone as the classes accumulate.

    • Matt,
      That is a very good point. But what if the 2011 top 10 is weak hypothetically. Like what if the 2011 class is not a strong class? And my point about the PT is these top notch guys are leaving. Even guys like Orton who didn’t start. Therefore, with the turnover rate, the PT will be there for the Freshman.

      But if guys decide to stay, then the PT could be much harder to come by.


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