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John Calipari Could Return to NBA, Run from NCAA Violations Once Again

This sounds about right. Any time news comes out about potential recruiting violations within a John Calipari program — which happens at every school he coaches for — we stand by for the rumors about where he is headed next.  Unlike other coaches who stick around and take their lumps after they are found guilty of such activity, Calipari has a tendency to leave a program in peril and accept another high-paying job.  This time, that high paying job could be at the next level.

According to the NY Daily News via FootBasket, Calipari may have his sights set on the NBA once again.

John Calipari coming back to the NBA to coach? Perhaps. Calipari recently left the distinct impression that, although he is recruiting and conducting business, as usual, as Kentucky’s basketball coach, he ‘wants back in,’ according to a source. Calipari has never gotten over how he was fired by the Nets 20 games into the 1999 lockout season.”

Naturally, a “source” can be anyone or nobody at all.  Given Calipari’s track record, this wouldn’t come as a surprise.  He is once again under fire for alleged recruiting violations, this time via a staffer that worked at Memphis and Kentucky.  If Kentucky ends up being sanctioned by the NCAA or Calipari senses that punishment is on its way, it would be just his style to take his services elsewhere.

 

Timing of Kentucky, UConn Violation Reports Extremely Questionable

In less than six hours, UConn and Kentucky will tip off the second of two Final Four match-ups in Houston.  Jim Calhoun and John Calipari, two coaches who have hated each other for more than 20 years, will lead their squads in an effort to play for the National Championship Monday night.  Unsurprisingly, talk about the actual game has quickly been overrun by news about recruiting violations — excuse me, more recruiting violations.

Calipari and Calhoun run programs that drive college athletics purists insane.  Both coaches are no strangers to being accused of cheating, so they are certainly adept to handling any distractions that the latest news may cause leading up to Saturday night’s game.  In any event, we’re not here to go into the details of the latest accusations.  FOX Sports has an exclusive report about Kentucky that claims a former staffer made illegal contact with several recruits.  The New York Times spoke with former UConn recruit Nate Miles, and Miles is claiming Calhoun lied to NCAA investigators and actually knew illegal benefits were being provided.  The issue to me isn’t about the potential violations, but the timing of the release of the reports.

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John Calipari Credits Himself for Brandon Knight’s Winning Shot

It wasn’t quite as bad as Melo tipping his hat to himself in this infamous quote, but Kentucky coach John Calipari was pretty conceited after his team upset Ohio State Friday. With the game tied following a Jon Diebler three pointer, Coach Cal allowed his offense to run a play without calling a timeout to stop the game.

The result was point guard Brandon Knight sinking yet another winning shot late in the game, giving Kentucky a 62-60 win.

When asked about not calling a timeout to set things up, Calipari deflected credit to his player took the credit for the decision. Speaking about his decision, Cal answered “How bout, he don’t make a shot, he makes one three, and I still have all the faith in him that he’s going to make that play. I don’t want to call a timeout and give them a chance to switch. We know what we’re doing — we do it in practice every day. So I like to go home with timeouts.”

I was with him on the part about them practicing that and knowing what they’re doing, but he loses me when he praises himself for having faith in his player. I got it John, that was a smart move that paid off. But you can leave it to us to point out how smart you are instead of telling us so. Let’s try a little modesty next time, OK?

John Calipari Cussing Video at Terrence Jones, Calling Him Selfish

John Calipari caused quite the ruckus on Tuesday night with his decision to swear at freshman forward Terrence Jones during a loss to Alabama that was broadcast on national television.  Calipari made the bad decision of calling Jones a “selfish mother****er” and has been ripped apart on message boards and blogs, forcing him to apologize on Twitter and admit the language was unacceptable.

Of course, players swear at coaches all the time.  Jones even defended Calipari on his Twitter after the game, so you know there are no hard feelings.  It was probably a poor choice of words, but I don’t think this is going to result in any recruits rethinking their decision to attend Kentucky.  The Big Lead tracked down the video of the exchange.  Check it out:

John Calipari Does Not Approve of Dale Brown’s Blue Suit

Kentucky beat Dillard (which is now doubling as a basketball team in addition to a department store) in its final exhibition game Friday night (yawn) 122-54. In case you haven’t been following it, the Wildcats may use a similar lineup to what Villanova had a few years ago, four mid-sized athletic guys on the court at the same time. Whatever they did on Friday worked and they were up so big against Dillard they were just having fun. One thing that wasn’t funny was John Calipari’s reaction to the suit worn by his adversary, Dale Brown.

Brown, the former Kentucky player, wore a blue suit with a white undershirt as a tribute to his alma mater. He now is inducted into the ugly suit club for that wardrobe choice, joining Rick Pitino and Pacman Jones. Here’s how he looked in the gumball suit:

After the one-sided ass whopping game, Calipari shared his unflattering thoughts about the suit: “There are three suits that I’ve seen that I say — I don’t know if I want to say gag me. But there’s a white suit I saw. There was a gold suit that I saw — I don’t know if it was yellow or gold — where the pants were too long. The guy at West Virginia wore it. Then that suit right there. Those three right there.”

Brown gets an A for effort, but an F for fashion choice. That badboy was ugly!

Pics courtesy of Loraemily75 and pennington_jl

Calipari’s Boys Not Very Bright

John Calipari managed to resurrect some of the winning ways Kentucky has come to be known for when he came to the Wildcats from Memphis.  One thing he doesn’t seem to have done is stimulate his players to perform as well in the classroom as they did on the court.  According to KentuckySports.com — via Sports By Brooks live — his players posted a GPA of 2.025, the lowest of the 20 University of Kentucky athletic teams.  It is also the lowest for the Kentucky men’s team since 2002 and worst of the nine SEC schools that were willing to provide their team GPAs to the public.

When taking into account the Derrick Rose SAT cheating incident at Memphis, Calipari doesn’t exactly have a clean track record regarding academic issues and his players.  While it should be noted that freshman-phenom John Wall had all As and Bs during the fall semester — as Calipari pointed out in December — the fact that Kentucky had so many one-and-done freshmen almost certainly contributed to the low team GPA.  Four of the five Wildcats who entered the NBA draft were freshmen and two players posted GPAs below the minimum requirement for eligibility, which is 1.8.  However, that minimum requirement only comes into play at the start of an athlete’s second year, so it’s safe to assume if those two were eligible to play, they were first year players.

Considering the four freshmen who declared were probably more concerned with their NBA futures than their midterms, they were probably about as bored in the classroom as Calipari is with the press conference in the picture above.  Am I saying this is all a huge deal for the Wildcats men’s basketball program?  Hardly, as I’m sure classroom performance is an issue with plenty of major athletic programs.  However, given some of the issues Calipari has had with these things in the past, it isn’t exactly the best reflection on him as a coach.

Sources:
SbB Live
Calipari’s squad posts worst grades of UK teams [KentuckySports.com]

John Calipari’s Playing Head Games

Kentucky coach John Calipari has made some strange comments to the media recently and I’m trying to figure what it’s all about. Right before the SEC tournament, he said his team probably needed to win two games in the SEC tourney to be a number one seed in the Big Dance. Kentucky would have been 29-3 even with a first-round loss in the SEC tourney and a lock for a one seed along with Kansas and Syracuse. Calipari was downplaying his team’s accomplishments and level of national respect, perhaps to keep his players motivated. Fast forward to Saturday night after Kentucky got done hammering Wake Forest by 30 points. The Wildcats were already a number one seed and picked to reach the championship game by most analysts. They were the second most popular pick to win the title behind Kansas. As soon as Kansas was upset by Northern Iowa, Kentucky became even more of a favorite than they already were. Not in Calipari’s eyes. Check out what he said:

“I don’t know if we’re the overwhelming favorite. Everyone was picking us to lose today, be in a tough game. They were also saying we’d be the first number one [seed] out. So how do they change those talking heads overnight? With one game? Come on. We’re still a bunch of freshmen and sophomores in our second NCAA tournament game, they’ve never played in any other games. All we’re going to worry about is us.”

I honestly don’t know what planet he’s inhabiting. Everywhere I’ve looked people have been in agreement — it was Kansas and Kentucky and everyone else at least a step below. I don’t know of anyone picking Kentucky to be eliminated in the second round; most people had them in the championship game from what I could tell. I don’t know if there are some talking heads disparaging Kentucky to whom Calipari has something to prove or if the guy is just being really crafty and playing mind games. Most likely, he’s trying to keep himself and his players from believing their press clippings and hype so that they maintain their edge. The guy has me scratching my head right now, but if this is part of his strategy to keep his players hungry and operating in an underdog role, then more power to him. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure it all out.