John Calipari may be signed to a lifetime deal with Kentucky, but that won’t stop NBA rumors.
The New York Post’s Marc Berman published an article on Wednesday saying that some sources have said not to count out Calipari for the Knicks head coaching job.
Calipari has ties to the Knicks’ new leadership team of president Leon Rose, a former agent for Creative Artists Agency, and William Wesley (aka “Worldwide Wes”), a Knicks consultant. In February, agent David Falk said he thought Calipari would end up with the Knicks.
A report in April even said Calipari could not be ruled out as a candidate for the Knicks.
Despite Calipari’s ties to the Knicks, it would still be surprising to see him leave Kentucky. Maybe Calipari’s stint as the Nets head coach still leaves him dissatisfied, but he’s been at Kentucky so long and done so well there, it would be hard to see him leave. It’s not easy to leave a program behind that you’ve built up as well as Calipari has.
John Calipari has built his reputation by consistently being able to recruit some of the best players in the country to come play for him. From Derrick Rose to John Wall and Anthony Davis, many of the best NBA players over the past few decades have played for Cal.
So what is it about him that makes him so appealing? Wall, who played for Calipari at Kentucky in 2010 before becoming the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, did his best to explain that in a recent interview.
Appearing on a “Social Distance” interview with 247 Sports, Wall shared what makes Calipari an appealing coach.
— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) May 19, 2020
“I think he’s just real. He’ll go anywhere to go visit you — he’ll go to the hood,” Wall said.
Wall says Calipari doesn’t focus on basketball when recruiting players, but tries to find out about their lives. He also makes his players earn their positions.
“He’s like a father figure to people,” Wall said. “He’s really there for his players.”
Wall believes Calipari genuinely cares about his players and wants them to succeed. Once a player/recruit is convinced that a coach has their best interests in mind, it’s easy to trust him from there.
It seems that’s what Wall was getting at — Calipari earns the trust of his players. And that’s part of why his players have made over a billion dollars in the NBA!
John Calipari has shut down any and all speculation about a return to the NBA multiple times over the last several years, but there may just be a situation that poses a different story this time around.
In a report on Sunday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News mentioned the Kentucky men’s basketball coach as a possible candidate to coach the New York Knicks. While also noting that Calipari has publicly rejected the idea of leaving Lexington, Bondy says that Calipari is “so close” to new Knicks president Leon Rose that he should “never” be ruled out.
The 61-year-old Calipari, who has coached Kentucky since 2009, previously served as the head coach of the New Jersey Nets from 1996 until his firing in 1999. He was also briefly an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers before returning to the college ranks.
Calipari has been linked to teams such as the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings in the past but has always emphatically shot them down. A glamorous franchise like the Knicks with former Calipari players like Kevin Knox and Julius Randle might be a juicy draw however, especially with Calipari’s apparent fondness for the team.
The 2020 NBA Draft is currently slated to take place on Jun. 25, but John Calipari does not expect that to proceed as scheduled.
During a conference call this week, the Kentucky men’s basketball coach, who produces a number of draft picks every year, said that he anticipates the draft being pushed back. By extension, he also indicated that other dates like the scouting combine and the draft withdrawal deadline could be delayed as well.
“Guys that have a decision to make, whether they want to stay in the draft or not, the NBA is saying, ‘We’re keeping our date the same.’ OK, well what about the Combine? That is going to move, we believe,” he said, per Adam Zagoria of the New York Times. “Well, what about the draft date? That will move.”
“What about bringing them to your facilities? We don’t know when that will happen, or if it will happen,” Calipari added. “My point to that in trying to get information to the NABC is, shouldn’t we move the decision date back for the kids to go to college or not? The date was always based on when the draft is, when the combine is. Well, that’s all moving so now I think these kids should have more time making that decision.”
As it currently stands right now, the NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline is set at 11:59 PM on Apr. 26 and the Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline is at 5 PM on Jun. 15. This allows potential picks to test the waters of the draft but retain their eligibility and return to school for another year if they do not get the feedback that they would like.
The NBA is still not sure exactly what to do with the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign following the suspension of play on Mar. 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The season is all but guaranteed to resume at some point, but that would prevent teams from devoting attention to the draft until much later. Calipari recognizes this and seems certain the 2020 draft will be postponed.
John Calipari could have been livid with his Kentucky Wildcats after they blew a 17-point lead in a home loss to Tennessee on Tuesday. Instead, he kept things in perspective and credited the Vols for their effort.
Calipari praised Tennessee for coming back from a big deficit in the second half, even calling the accomplishment “impressive.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari: For Tennessee to come into this building tonight and come back the way they did and, I hate to say it, to run away with it, I mean, come on, man. That’s impressive.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 4, 2020
The Kentucky coach also complimented John Fulkerson, who scored 27 points for Tennessee, and said the Vols were the more physical team.
Kentucky coach John Calipari: This is more about Tennessee than us. They were more physical than us. Fulkerson killed us. He was unbelievable. We threw everything at him. Didn’t matter.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 4, 2020
This is the kind of game that Calipari just wants to flush, put it behind them, and not watch the video.
Kentucky coach John Calipari: We got manhandled tonight. I got manhandled tonight. I don’t want to watch this tape.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 4, 2020
The loss has to be a huge disappointment for Calipari and Kentucky fans. They had won eight in a row, including a road win at Tennessee, prior to the loss. The Cats are now 24-6 and have Saturday’s regular season finale at Florida before the SEC Tournament. Their case for a No. 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament will depend on how the conference tournament goes.
Kentucky coach John Calipari is no stranger to getting ejected, and it happened to him again on Saturday.
Calipari’s Wildcats were struggling in the second half, on the wrong end of a 13-2 Arkansas run to tie the game. Calipari was infuriated by an illegal screen called against Kentucky forward EJ Montgomery, as it had seemed that Montgomery was standing still when the contact took place.
Calipari was given a technical for arguing, but kept disputing the call and received a second technical and ejection.
— gamedayalerts (@gamedayalerts) January 18, 2020
It’s far from the most animated we’ve seen Calipari, plus he lasted into the second half, but he had to have seen that coming. Maybe it was an attempt to give his team a breather and let them collect themselves. If so, it worked, as Kentucky got it together and won 73-66.
The Kentucky Wildcats are 8-3 after losing their last two games, and John Calipari is placing as much blame on himself as anyone else.
Calipari spoke with the media ahead of Saturday’s big game against Louisville. He said going into the game that he’s been disappointed with his coaching, coming off the losses to Utah and Ohio State.
“As I look on where we are, I’m not really happy with me,” Calipari said Friday, via WDRB’s Eric Crawford. “Like, I haven’t figured this out, so if I’m a little bit still like, ‘OK, which way is this?’ They’re going to be that way too. . . . I keep saying, the upside of this team is tremendous. But they’re not there, which means that I must be doing a crap job not getting them to play better. We’re trying to work some of it through practice, but I’ll be honest with you, demonstrated performance is the only way to do some of this. They have to get on the court and do it.”
Calipari said he wants to improve spacing for three-pointers and get the ball inside more.
The Wildcats are led by Ashton Hagans’ 13.9 points and Tyrese Maxey’s 13.1 points per game this season. Louisville will represent the highest-ranked opponent Kentucky has faced since its opening win against Michigan State.