John Calipari Setting Up Kentucky Pros vs. Dominican Republic Game

We told you in April that John Calipari was considering coaching the Dominican Republic national team. Cal has agreed to coach the team and he’s preparing them for the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship. In fact, he’s arranged a game between former Kentucky stars and his Dominican team. You’ll recognize many of the players on the roster.

According to Calipari, the Kentucky team will be coached by Joe B. Hall and Sam Bowie. John Wall, Rajon Rondo, Tayshaun Prince, DeMarcus Cousins, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, Eric Bledsoe and Keith Bogans will play for the Kentucky pros.

The Dominican National Team will be coached by Calipari. Pros Francisco Garcia, Al Horford, and Charlie Villanueva are scheduled to play for the team. They’ll be joined by nine others.

The game will take place August 15th at Rupp Arena and tickets will go on sale shortly. I have to say, coaching the Dominican team was a genius move by Cal. The exposure he’ll receive in the D.R. will be huge. It will give Kentucky a major recruiting advantage in the country.

Thanks to Hoops World for the tip

John Calipari Will Celebrate His 500th Career Win a Second Time at Kentucky

Kentucky celebrated coach John Calipari’s 500th win on February 26th after the Wildcats beat Florida in an SEC game last season. The celebration was nice (even if Calipari’s barely been at the school), but it was also inaccurate. See, Kentucky had been counting the wins Calipari earned at UMass and Memphis that were vacated by the NCAA, so he had an extra 42 by their total.

The NCAA called the celebration troubling and wanted an apology. On Thursday, it came. (somewhat).

UK said in a release Thursday that it had agreed to list Calipari’s career win-loss record “in our media guides, Internet sites and other publications consistent with the NCAA’s official records and statistics.”

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Calipari is one of the dirtiest coaches in college basketball, so I like him getting stripped of wins. However, this news clears the way for Kentucky to celebrate him for a second time. Maybe the best solution would have been for the NCAA to wait two years before saying anything, that way Calipari would have officially passed the 500 win mark and there would have been no chance for a second celebration. Knowing Kentucky, they’ll probably have a statue ready for him when he does it again.

John Calipari Considering Coaching Dominican Republic National Team

John Calipari and Rick Pitino compete as college coaches of rival universities and they may be opposing each other in international competitions as well. Calipari wrote on his website Tuesday afternoon he was considering coaching the Dominican Republic national team.

The Kentucky coach says he was approached by the Dominican Basketball Federation about coaching their national team during the season. He explains his potential role as the country’s coach, “Not only would I help train coaches in the Dominican Republic and here in Lexington like we have with the Chinese coaches, but I would also coach their national team.”

Calipari says the commitment would run from August to mid-September and that he would lead the team in the Tournament of the Americas. From the tone of his piece, it sure sounds like it will happen.

If Calipari accepts the position, he’ll join Louisville coach Rick Pitino as the coach of an international team. Pitino agreed to coach the Puerto Rican national team in December, and the move is thought to help the coaches broaden their recruiting reach.

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: