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Is ESPN’s ‘All-Access Kentucky’ show a recruiting tool for John Calipari?

In a developing story that should surprise literally no one, ESPN’s new “All-Access Kentucky” show has caused a stir among college basketball coaches, analysts and fans. The new reality show, which has aired two episodes, documents Kentucky’s preparation for an upcoming season in which they will defend their NCAA title. But is it fair?

Kentucky coach John Calipari says he agreed to the show because he wanted to try to disspel the negative perception that accompanies one-and-done players. At Southeastern Conference Basketball Media Day on Thursday, Florida coach Billy Donovan said the show is a distraction and possibly a recruiting tool.

“I wouldn’t want the disruption of our guys knowing there is something going on right now and how that would impact what we need to get done,” Donovan said according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “… I do think if you are using it as a recruiting tool, I don’t think that’s right. … I wouldn’t do it as a recruiting tool because you are in practice with players who are in our program right now, you are practicing with your guys.”

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John Calipari boasts about Kentucky having six NBA Draft prospects

Kentucky won the national championship in college basketball last season and is the program that will be most strongly represented at the NBA Draft. They have two players expected to go in the top five (and possibly top three), and four others expected to be drafted as well.

Coach John Calipari took a moment on Tuesday to brag about that fact. He sent the following tweet:

Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller, and Marquis Teague are all expected to be selected on Thursday. That’s half of Kentucky’s team. What’s the point? If you’re a high school basketball player and your dream is to play in the NBA, going to Kentucky with John Calipari is a good idea.

Oh, and once again, Calipari is using Twitter to brag about something.

Photo: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Charles Barkley says John Calipari would never be drunk enough to take Knicks job

With the way things are going now for John Calipari compared to the way they went when he coached in the NBA, he would be insane to go back. Calipari just won a national championship with Kentucky, and what do you know he may not end up vacating it. If that’s not a milestone reached then I don’t know what is. Still, the Knicks are in need of a coach so Calipari’s name has been discussed on several occasions. Charles Barkley says we can stop talking about it because Coach Cal would never drink enough Jack Daniels for that to happen.

“Let me tell you something, he’s never going to be drunk enough to take that Knicks job,” Barkley told WFAN’s Boomer and Carton on Thursday. “That would be career suicide. I’m a big, big John Calipari fan, but he’s not gonna take that job — ’cause that ain’t a good job.”

Barkley is a known Knick hater, and he made sure to add in that the Knicks “stink” and that they are only playing well now because they’re well-rested after quitting on Mike D’Antoni. We may not agree with many of the things Charles says and does, but it’s tough to argue with this one. Knicks fans who are banking on Calipari being their coach next year need to snap back into reality.

Plaque for John Calipari’s key to Pikeville has a typo and grammatical error

Kentucky’s basketball team has gone on a tour throughout the state to celebrate the national championship they won last week. At their stop in Pikeville, coach John Calipari was awarded a key to the city. The only problem is the plaque commemorating the honor was filled with mistakes.

In the second line, there is an “e” missing from “the,” and in the last line, there is an apostrophe in “it’s” where one doesn’t belong.

Who can really blame the folks from Pikeville? They were probably too busy celebrating the championship to have time to proofread a silly plaque anyhow.

H/T Deadspin

John Calipari reportedly had interns call sports talk shows to defend him

With another successful collegiate season in the books and several NBA head coaching vacancies on their way, the annual John Calipari-to-the-NBA rumor mill has started heating up. Per usual, if Calipari wants to coach professionally their will be an opportunity. Heck, even the Knicks are in the market for a coach. If you want high profile — which we all know Calipari does — it doesn’t get much better than that.

The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that Calipari’s first go around in the NBA didn’t exactly work out. Some coaches (yes you, Rick Pitino) are just better suited for college. Calipari had a combined 72-112 record in three seasons with the Nets in the mid-1990s. He made the playoffs once and was bounced in the first round. According to Yahoo! Sports, Calipari even had an intern call WFAN in New York to defend him during those rough years.

Calipari became obsessed with the callers to the midday New York radio show ripping into him, and orchestrated a counter propaganda program.

And so was born “Anthony from Hoboken,” several team sources said. Anthony was a staunch, defiant and fictional advocate for the eventually exiled Emperor of East Rutherford. He made calls to WFAN out of the Nets’ offices, telling metropolitan New York that he was one fan who couldn’t understand all the criticism heaped on Calipari.

Pitino openly admitted that leaving Kentucky for the NBA was one of the worst decisions of his career. Coming off a national championship season that just might end up being a clean one, Calipari is just getting started.  If radio criticism bothered him enough that he had to instruct interns to pose as Coach Cal supporters, that’s just further evidence that college is where Calipari belongs.

Photo credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

John Calipari after Anthony Davis’ knee injury: ‘Get up mama’s boy’

Kentucky forward Anthony Davis banged knees with Baylor’s Perry Jones during the second half of the NCAA tournament game between the teams Sunday. Davis, who is considered to be the top player in the country, went down in pain and limped to his team’s bench after the collision. Though he was in pain, he didn’t miss much time. Maybe it’s because of the ribbing he received from his coach.

“No, the guys told me [the collision] was knee-to-knee. And I said ‘Get up mama’s boy, you’re fine. Come on, let’s go,’” John Calipari told CBS after the game.

Davis didn’t like being the butt of the joke, so he told CBS the knee injury really hurt.

“When you get hit knee-to-knee, it really shows a lot of pain. It really hurted but I went to the bench, and my team told me ‘We need you.’ Coach Cal told me ‘You’ll be fine, you’ll be fine.’ And he kissed me on the forehead, and I feel a lot better,” Davis said.

I thought Calipari calling Davis “mama’s boy” was pretty funny, but what seems to be gaining the most attention is Davis’ poor grammar. Some people defended him and thought he said “I really hurt it,” but most people heard “It really hurted.” I listened to the comment about 10 times and heard “hurted” each time, though he’s so muffled it’s hard to tell what he’s saying. If Davis doesn’t have a grammatical problem, then he definitely needs to work on his enunciation. He’ll likely be a top player at the next level so he might as well begin improving on his interviewing skills.

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

John Calipari says he will become cheerleader for Kentucky as tournament approaches

John Calipari has a reputation for being somewhat hard on his players. If a member of his team makes a mistake, coach Cal has never been afraid to embarrass them on national television. Given his track record, it must work in some ways. However, Calipari said he plans to lighten up on his team this year as they head into the home stretch of the regular season and into tournament play.

“Fresh legs and fresh minds,” Calipari said of his new approach according to the Herald-Leader. “… I’m coaching their minds right now.”

Calipari said his mentor, Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, gave him the idea to ease up late in the season.

“His thing is you’ve got to be their cheerleader at the end,” he added. “That’s his thing to me all the time. You’re not changing them now. They are what they are. Cheer them on.”

The reasoning makes sense. Players go through an exhausting season with one goal in mind: to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. You can continue to coach and preach conditioning, but the teams that are the most confident and loose generally make the most noise in March. Take Kemba Walker for example. Walker showed more confidence in the Big East Tournament and NCAA tournament a year ago than any player in college basketball history. Jim Calhoun is more of the in-your-face type of coach, but he sat back and allowed Walker to lead last year. The end result was a national championship. Maybe Calipari’s new hands-off approach will allow his players to relax a bit and actually hit a few free throws in the tourney.