A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
CALIPARI SILENCE HIS CRITICS
John Calipari defeated Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks, whom he lost to in 2002 while coaching at Memphis, in order to win his first National Title.
With the tournament triumph, Calipari also matched his in state rival and former Kentucky head coach Rick Pitino, now at Louisville, who he trounced in the Final Four 69 to 61.
But despite his success, he is still considered “the worst coach” in college basketball.
Love him or hate him.
In an AAU culture, which produces an “it’s all about me attitude” amongst high school players, Calipari deserves a “little” respect.
Why? Because, he unquestionably has the talent to get young blue chip players to “buy” into his program and to perform as a team, even if it’s only for one year.
We, however, can’t let our hatred for Calipari as a person, blind us to the fact that he has won 78% of his games, was named Naismith College Coach of The Year twice, coached in six Elite Eights, made three Final Fours plus won a National Championship recently against Kansas.
But despite all of those accomplishments, he is considered a cheater.
Even though Calipari can’t shake off some of his haters, his level of northern sophistication and slickness is applauded by the bluegrass basketball lovers at UK, who desire nothing but wins.
Winning, unfortunately, won’t stop his adversaries from forgetting what happened in Memphis or at UMass.
Let me refresh your selective memory.
There was the Derrick Rose scandal which involved SAT’s, the Marcus Camby scandal which involved money from an agent plus the unproven rumors of improper recruitment violations involving this year’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player of the Year Anthony Davis earlier this season.
With questions like these still lingering and becoming a part of the basketball lexicon surrounding Calipari reputation and legacy, people still wonder whether he is a remarkable recruiter, a great coach or simply, a slick used car salesman?
Regardless of what his critics think about him, winning a National Championship against Kansas, completes Calipari’s coaching resume’ and legitimizes his basketball brilliance.
“It’s over. We did something special. And now, I don’t have to worry about this anymore.” explained Calipari, who is the only coach in Division I history with five straight 30 win seasons.
“I don’t have to have the drama or make decisions on having to win one. It’s done. So, now, I can get on with my business of coaching my guys, preparing them for a life after basketball, and helping them reaching their dreams.
With the season over, there is little time for the Pied Piper of recruitment to rest or celebrate.
He, in fact, is already started the relentless recruitment process all over again by signing another top-class of talented high school players like Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willlie Cauley.
With Calipari’s coaching confidence and charismatic approach to recruiting, the University of Kentucky will remain strong, especially with the recent signing of Nerlens Noelis, who is considered the best player out of the Boston area since Patrick Ewing.