Blog Entry

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 2:04 pm
Posted by MATT JONES

In an interview with's Jeff Goodman, former Arizona Coach Lute Olson called John Calipari "very unprofessional" for his decision to take kids who had originally committed to Memphis with him to his new job at Kentucky. According to Olson, people should not be critical of current Memphis coach (and former Olson player) Josh Pastner, until he is able to get the type of kids to Memphis that fit into his system. The shot at Calipari likely implied that Olson believes the decision to take the Memphis recruits made Pastner's job more difficult and was somehow a slap in the face to the UK coach's former assistant.

The view expressed by Olson is not one that he alone shares. Calipari, and other coaches, have often been criticized for trying to get players that originally commited to the coach's former employer, to follow them to their new employer instead. The old-school view on the subject is simple. Players commit to the University, not to the coach, and when that decision is made, it is sacred. This is the view held by the NCAA as well, as showcased by its unbelievably unfair "Letter of Intent" system that binds players to programs, but not coaches, often leaving them begging for mercy from Universities long after a coach has gone on to greener pastures.

However such an approach is exactly the opposite of the player-centric view that should dominate college athletics. Beyond all other considerations, shouldn't the number one priority be that a kid have the ability to attend the college of his choice? The reality is that the vast majority of college basketball players attend a college primarily because of the coaches that oversee the basketball program, not the beauty of the University or its academic tradition. For an athlete who is majoring in basketball (which let's face it, every top college basketball player is doing), the most important factor is who his mentor will be. When that mentor changes, the kid should have the ability to change with it.

Olson can kid himself with the view that John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe were considering Memphis due to its status as a fine institution and the long tradition of Memphis basketball history. But we all know that is complete bologna. Those players were going to Memphis because of John Calipari and little else. When Calipari left, those kids should have the right to go with him. Regardless of what Olson and the old-timers believe, Memphis and other schools shouldn't be able to "own" those players and control their futures, simply because it makes the new coach's job more difficult.

John Calipari taking the former Memphis recruits with him to Kentucky did make Josh Pastner's job tougher, but it allowed the individual players to go to the school of their choice. That may bother Lute Olson, but making things easier for millionaire coaches isn't, or at least it shouldn't be, what college athletics is about.

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:55 am

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

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Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:32 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Calapari is a punk! Give him a few years and recruiting violations will find him...the always do! You will hear some serious cryin' from the faithfull then!

Since: Dec 11, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2011 9:42 am

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Matt Jones is a tool, as soon as I read the name of the article and the name of the writer I knew what the verdict would be.  He's a tool.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2011 8:18 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Why you mean to tell me you didnt get our cake that we sent you UKSMITHFAN?  You know, the one that was blue and gold with WVU on it after we pasted UK's a*s*s up in Syracuse. offense, but this is a conversation between Kentucky and Memphis fans, and has NOTHING to do with you, so please stay out of this. You have managed to butt into a conversation that has nothing to do with WVU. But, if it helps...yes, you made the Final Four by beating a Kentucky team that went cold on that specific day. Now, if you won the National Title, you could pump your chest, but fact is, your school has made the Final Four, again, if you want to substantiate your team's history by beating Kentucky in the Elite 8, then go for it. Of course, Bob Huggins is KNOWN for underachieving, so get used to that.

Since: Jun 26, 2009
Posted on: January 18, 2011 6:02 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Actually Pastner was recruiting those players to UK before he was made coach at Memphis.
That is truly a Snoozer comment right there, ladies and gentlemen.


Did you get your degree from Vandy?

or UT?

Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: January 18, 2011 5:56 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

I know makes me sick seeing this avatar.  "Easy Bake Oven" BASTERDS!

Actually Pastner was recruiting those players to UK before he was made coach at Memphis.

Since: Nov 12, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:10 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Not to mention Olsen is a fan of Pastner and he knows he is in the hot seat after getting the #2 recruiting class and struggling with it. And I think people forget. Josh Pastner was COMING TO UK WITH CAL, until Memphis offered him the HC spot. So its very possible Pastner helped Calipari convince Cousins and Dodson to go to UK.

Since: Nov 12, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:06 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

You guys do realize Darnell Dodson was the only Memphis recruit Calipari brought with him, right? He's the only one that signed with Memphis. John Wall and Eric Bledsoe were still uncommitted recruits when Calipari left Memphis, and while Cousins was a verbal he had not signed yet, AND was quoted as saying he wanted to play for Cal (meaning Memphis was not his reason of being there).

Orton and Hood were Gillispie recruits, soooo.... Calipari stole Darnell Dodson from Memphis. As far as were concerned you can have him back. Oh wait calipari kicked him off the team and he signed with Southern Miss.

Since: Jan 27, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:01 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Lute calling out Calipari, Bob Knight inferring that Cal shouldn't be allowed to coach at the college level...........hmm.  Seems like the old timers have a pretty firm opinion of Cal.

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:52 pm
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