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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Kentucky’s basketball players have new ridiculous luxury housing including private chef, flat-screen TVs (Pictures)

Kentucky is already hard to beat on the court, and now they’re going to be even tougher to top off of it.

A video was posted to John Calipari’s website last week of the coach giving a tour of the school’s newly constructed athlete-housing dorm. The Wildcat Coal Lodge is housing the basketball team starting this year, and it provides living quarters so plush there’s no way a recruit could take a look at them and turn it down.

As The Dagger pointed out, the dorm has multiple luxurious features.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

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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

John Calipari takes thinly veiled shot at Bob Knight over Kentucky’s 3.12 spring GPA

When all of Kentucky’s national title-winning starting lineup bolted for the NBA in April, you assumed they would abandon their academics, right? School would simply be a necessary casualty to the suddenly new priority of preparing for the most important opportunity of their lives, you thought. Because “one-and-dones” aren’t in the business of going to class, correct? In a lot of cases, you probably wouldn’t be far off. Heck, even the hallowed Bob Knight believes as much.

And yet, not only was that the wrong assumption here, but the Wildcats’ performance in the classroom was good enough to prove wrong those of you who scoff at those incessant “still think we’re a bunch of dumb jocks?” ads.

According to the Herald-Leader, the entire Wildcats national championship team boasted a 3.12 grade-point average during its spring semester, all the more impressive considering not only some are preparing for the NBA but also the hectic schedule the whole team endured through March and April.

What’s more, freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, all of whom are expected to go in the first round of next month’s NBA Draft, received “well above 3.0,” according to a news release, momentarily putting to rest the thoughtless argument that “one-and-dones” aren’t real college students.

Here’s John Calipari‘s reaction to his team’s academic success: “All this stuff bitter old men say that they don’t go to class, it’s not true.”

Translation: “In your face, Bob Knight.”

Granted, this scholarly feat was probably accomplished by schedules padded with cake courses part of undemanding majors like Family Resource Management (no offense to any FRM majors out there). But, hey, the point is they still tried.

Photo: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

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

Kevin Love on Kentucky beating an NBA team: That would never happen

With the amazing amount of talent Kentucky has in its starting five, talk of them beating NBA teams has spiraled out of control over the past few weeks. The Wildcats aren’t the first dominant college team that is loaded with NBA talent and they won’t be the last. NBA teams are made up of the best players from the NCAA, but for some reason that hasn’t quite registered with some people. It has with Kevin Love, who says there is no way Kentucky could ever beat even a terrible NBA team.

“It would never happen,” Love told the Dan Patrick Show according to Sports Radio Interviews. “They would get blown out by both teams, Bobcats or Wizards. They do have a great team, they haven’t won the National Championship yet, they’re well coached by (John) Calipari and have a lot of great one-and-dones, but that’s just something that would never happen.”

In one corner, you have guys like Charles Barkley and former Maryland coach Gary Williams who disagree with Love. You even have people like legendary NBA coach Larry Brown who has taken it a step further, saying Kentucky could beat half the teams in the NBA. Still, the oddsmakers say it would be an insane longshot and Calipari himself does not believe it could happen — although that could be modesty talking.

For all we know, all of Kentucky’s starters could go on to be NBA busts. It’s unlikely, but it has happened to some of the most dominant players in college basketball history. You can’t say a college team could beat an NBA team based on their performance against other college teams. The game doesn’t translate like that, and it’s surprising that guys like Barkley (actually, no it’s not) and Brown would think otherwise.

Photo credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Coach Larry Brown believes Kentucky could beat half the teams in the NBA

Just when you thought the “How would Kentucky do against an NBA team?” debate had ended, coach Larry Brown had to go ahead and restart the conversation.

Brown, who is in New Orleans watching the teams of his former staff members John Calipari and Bill Self, reportedly told SI’s Tim Layden that Kentucky could beat half the teams in the NBA.

Brown must have been impressed with the Wildcats’ performance against Louisville to say something like that. I wouldn’t go as far as Magic coach Stan Van Gundy who said the notion that Kentucky could beat an NBA team is “absurd,” but I’ll repeat that oddsmakers would have the Wizards as a 30-point favorite over the Cats in a game. Kentucky might have a shot at beating the worst teams, but that’s unlikely. Don’t tell that to Brown, however.