A lot can be said of what John Calipari has and will continue to accomplish as the head boss in the University of Kentucky’s basketball program. He’s become a recruiting dictator, seemingly grabbing whatever he recruits he deems worthy, and the unparalleled talent the Wildcats rush into Lexington every year becomes more and more apparent as each season trudges onward. Well, Winter is Coming, and the Wildcats, unsurprisingly, have the most talented laden team in college basketball. Julius Randle is going to manhandle anyone daring enough to challenge him for post superiority, James Young might become the most hated sharpshooter in the country before season’s end, and the Harrison twins are 6’6″. When the shortest player you usher onto a basketball court is 6’6″ you’re either the Philadelphia 76ers or the Kentucky Wildcats; however, for all his talent and ability Calipari chose to unleash a little verbal tirade recently which sent this writer into a tizzy and the rest of the nation into absolute apathy.
I’ll post the comment as a picture, because I have the ability.
The irony behind Coach Cal’s complaint is honestly hilarious since he’s the cause. I understand his is probably just Calipari giving the media a little tidbit, hell maybe the guy was even trying to cover his future tracks in case the Wildcats lost to the Spartans…which they definitely did! His point resonates, a team like Michigan State with talent and experience is likely to jump out to an early lead and do little things in a game which his inexperienced yet far superior talented freshman might not. He’s not wrong with the content of his quote, it is irrational to expect a Kentucky team with four freshman starters to be tantamount to a highly experienced Michigan State team on November 12th (just a couple of games into the new season). The content is fine, but Calipari has absolutely no right to be criticizing his team’s situation because he created it. Everything boils down to Calipari and his system, his way of trying to win. Remember?
He tore down the walls of college basketball, showed that his system works: you don’t have to have anything but talent to win the championship! He proved you can simply through the most talented team out there night after night after night after night after night…..I go caught in a never ending loop….and stomp all competition into fine powder without any experienced players leading the way. This is the best recruiting class in history, right? Even more to the point, he actually returned two starters from last year. Experience? Calipari is rife with it compared to his UK teams of recent past. Now, after his success…his championship, he has the gumption to turn around and mutter, “This isn’t fair” like a schoolkid whose recess was taken away because mocking the teacher finally caught up to him. Our little simile created his persona, the class clown, running with it throughout his school days. The crowd loved him and he was a winner, but eventually he was caught and punished…unfair? Like our simile, Coach Cal has created his own system, his persona if you will. Cal recruits the most talented and most NBA-ready players to Lexington, sends them out on the court for a year, and watches them evacuate to the NBA come summer. So, while it isn’t fair to expect his teams to make the quantum leap to Michigan State level chemistry and ability in a few months of playing together, who is to blame?
Blame the schedule makers? Blame Tom Izzo? Erroneous! John Calipari needs to shoulder the blame…why? Because he chooses to recruit the same ilk of player. Would you argue Calipari has the ability to recruit say an Adreian Payne type player to Lexington? Payne lacked the skills to enter the draft for the bulk of his career, but has matured and grown under Tom Izzo to become one of the finest college basketball players in the country. Will Payne be as good as others at the next level? Absolutely not. There are perhaps a dozen big men alone who are going to be drafted ahead of and have better NBA careers than Adreian Payne; however, you’d, loyal reader, be dead wrong to take more than a handful of players in the country over Payne at the college level. This types of players are available…in fact, they are in abundance around the nation! Not every team is full of freshman, right? John Calipari can recruit whomever he wants to come to Kentucky, he’s proven it by bringing in some of the greatest recruiting classes in the history of college basketball. So, who is to blame for Kentucky having their doors blown off for the first half against Michigan State?. It would seem appropriate to blame the kid watching as the other toddlers play on recess.