Posted on: May 4, 2010 7:47 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2010 10:00 pm
John Calipari Tweeted on Tuesday that he's "very happy at Kentucky" in an obvious response to a Yahoo! Sports report suggesting he would "be willing to listen to a pitch" from the Chicago Bulls about the franchise's head coaching vacancy.
"Throughout my career I've been mentioned for other jobs; now that I'm here you won't hear about other colleges because I've got the best job," Calipari said. "Every year you will hear my name mentioned for NBA jobs because I coached in the league before. I'm very happy at Kentucky."
Multiple sources close to Calipari have repeatedly told CBSSports.com that Calipari's goal is to someday coach LeBron James, and one source has even said Calipari would "absolutely leave Kentucky, 100 percent, tomorrow" if that opportunity presented itself. Clearly, there's no way to know at this moment where James will play next season or whether he'll need a new coach because he'll become a free agent this summer. But nobody close to Calipari who has spoken with CBSSports.com has ever disputed or downplayed Calipari's interest in returning to the NBA to coach James, whom Calipari has often referred to as his "friend."
Coaching Derrick Rose with the Bulls might be the next best option.
That's why the report makes sense -- though it's unclear if the Bulls are interested in Calipari.
Either way, Calipari is half-right with his Tweet. This will indeed happen every year, but it won't happen because he "coached in the league before." The reason this will happen every year is because he does nothing to squash the rumors, and he has a history of publicly stating his affection for his current job while maneuvering to try to get another job. Most recently, he did it at Memphis.
"I love Memphis," Calipari said in March 2009. "I want to be here."
Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky less than a week after delivering that quote.
UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart released a statement late Tuesday designed to calm things. It read: "I'm extremely proud of what Coach Calipari has done in just one year as the leader of our men's basketball program. Cal has brought Kentucky men's basketball back to its rightful place of national prominence and I'm excited about our future. We have begun initial discussions on restructuring his contract so that he's the coach at Kentucky until he retires."
The problem with that statement is that there's no contract that can ensure Calipari retires at UK.
He doesn't operate like that.
Truth is, Calipari will be at UK for the same amount of time he was at Memphis, and it has nothing to do with years. He stayed at Memphis until he was offered a better job, and that's also how long he'll stay at Kentucky, until the day he's offered a better job. The good news for UK fans, of course, is that there aren't many better jobs than Kentucky, and Calipari would never leave for another college job. But, as I wrote back in January, coaching LeBron is absolutely a better job, and coaching Rose, Joakim Noah and some top-shelf free agent might be a better job, too.
Will Calipari ever have either opportunity?
But a restructured contract won't ensure he retires at Kentucky.
Of that, I'm certain.
Posted on: April 19, 2010 10:01 am
I might've set a record for emails about William Wesley over the past week.
If I got one I got 100 -- one for each thing good ol' Worldwide Wes supposedly orchestrated on behalf of Kentucky in the past seven days. According to readers, he delivered recruits and met with others, and I'm half-surprised nobody's mentioned the role he almost certainly played in Sunday's 6-5 baseball win over Florida.
Wesley must've at least called pitches, right?
Honestly, it's become comical.
And just so we're clear, understand that I'm not here to tell you Wesley doesn't have influence on lots of things because, well, he does. You don't gain the reputation of being one of the most powerful men at all levels of basketball without being powerful. He's everything you think and more. But his celebrity has reached a point over the past few years where he's either blamed or credited for everything that happens, and that's just silly.
Let's take Brandon Knight, for instance.
Knight is the top point guard in the Class of 2010.
He committed to Kentucky last week.
Best I can tell from talking to people on both sides of Knight's recruitment, Wesley was uninvolved. He's never met Knight's parents and never attended one of Knight's games at Pine Crest High in Florida even though he had every reason in the world to be there considering Billy Thompson Jr was among Knight's teammates. Thompson Jr, case you didn't know, is the son of former Louisville star Billy Thompson, a Camden, N.J. native just like Wesley. They've known each other forever to the point where they're considered "family."
But Wesley never went to watch Knight and Thompson play.
Because it would've been on Twitter in a matter of minutes, and there was no sense in turning the recruitment into a spectacle because Knight was going to Kentucky no matter what. And yet you know who got credit for Knight's commitment to Kentucky, don't you? Yep, Worldwide Wes, the boogie man of basketball whose reputation has reached legendary status. Again, I'm not trying to tell you his presence hasn't aided in recruiting. All I'm trying to tell you is that he's much bigger than most realize, and he's not just out there hustling players for Calipari. For every time you've seen Wesley at a UK game, there's another time where he had dinner with Ben Howland, spent an afternoon with Mike Krzyzewski, sat with Bill Self's wife at a KU game.
Remember, he's Worldwide Wes.
Not Commonwealth of Kentucky Wes.
Anyway, I guess my message is this: Chill.
Each thing that happens at Kentucky or with Calipari is not the result of Wesley. Trying to credit or blame him for every UK player is like trying to credit or blame Osama Bin Laden for every terrorist attack. Things are more complex than that. So my advice is to chill and take a step back because though Wesley is more than most understand he's not exactly what most seem to think. I mean, if Calipari somehow ends up coaching LeBron James next season, absolutely, credit or blame Worldwide Wes. I know I will. But those who are now tying to credit or blame him for every little thing are going overboard because sometimes, if you can believe this, he's just not all that involved.
Posted on: March 22, 2010 12:30 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 12:34 pm
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions announced Monday that it is upholding the penalties levied against the Memphis basketball program, meaning John Calipari will continue as the only college coach in history to have Final Fours vacated at two different schools.
The NCAA found violations at Memphis during the 2007-08 basketball season, the most notable of which is that Derrick Rose competed while ineligible because of a standardized test score that was invalidated after Rose's freshman season. Rose's SAT score was invalidated because it's believed to be fraudelent. Rose has publicly denied that somebody else took his SAT, but he passed on the opportunity to explain the situation to the NCAA, and Calipari never pushed Rose to speak with the NCAA.
Rose is now an All-Star point guard for the Chicago Bulls.
Calipari is now the coach at Kentucky
The Wildcats play Cornell in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.
Posted on: January 3, 2010 4:55 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2010 5:23 pm
Cameras have caught John Calipari yelling all sorts of things over the years, most notably when he called former Memphis player Earl Barron a female's body part, clear as day, on national television. In fairness, Calipari had a point about Barron. But not everybody thinks the Kentucky coach's sideline antics are nearly as entertaining as I do, which is why several angry readers have emailed a clip from Saturday's Kentucky-Louisville game that appears to show Calipari yelling at Louisville's Reginald Delk (though it could be of Calipari yelling at a ref).
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a licensed lip-reader.
So I could have this all wrong.
But Calipari appears to tell Delk that Bledsoe will "kick your ass after the game's over" and that Delk is messing with the "wrong guy." Or at least that's what I thought the first 20 times I watched it. But a reader pointed out that it's possible Calipari is yelling at the ref that Delk told Bledsoe "I'm going to kick your ass after the game's over" in an attempt to show the ref that he called the foul on the "wrong guy."
Honestly, I don't know.
But it's a good video, either way.
Click this link to check it out.
Then tell me what you think.
It goes down around the 17-second mark.
Posted on: December 18, 2009 3:28 pm
John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader has posted video of John Calipari discussing Bob Knight's controversial comments about the Kentucky coach. In case you missed it, here's what Knight said at a Thursday night fundraiser: "We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching. You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that."
Click this link to watch Calipari's response.
Posted on: December 18, 2009 6:22 am
Edited on: December 18, 2009 10:19 am
Bob Knight spoke at a fundraiser Thursday night.
Predictably, he managed to make national headlines.
"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," Knight said. "You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that."
This is the place where Kentucky fans would like me to tell you that John Calipari has never been directly implicated in anything, and the place where fans of every other school, particularly Memphis fans, would like me to tell you that Knight speaks the truth, and God bless him. But I'm not interested in sparking that debate because the Calipari debate has been going on for months, if not years, and it never reaches a conclusion.
If he coaches your school, you love him.
If not, you think he's a lying cheater.
There's almost no in-between.
And this is how it's going to be forever, UK fans, and why it was clear -- even before Knight said what he said -- that any success Calipari has going forward will be tainted regardless of whether it's really tainted. Until the day he retires, the majority of observers will believe, fair or not, that every recruit Calipari gets is a product of his relationship with William Wesley even if Worldwide Wes has never met the recruit. All SATs will be assumed fake even if they're legit, all future pros will supposedly have agents even if they do not.
There's no sense in fighting that perception.
There's certainly no way of changing that perception.
On Thursday night, it was Bob Knight taking a shot at Calipari.
In March during the NCAA tournament, it'll be every columnist in America.
That's what the $30 million Kentucky spent on Calipari has brought the school -- a coach who will lure lots of great recruits, win countless big games, and hang banners while people ask whether Kentucky really expects those banners to remain after an inevitable NCAA investigation. Then Kentucky fans will yell about how Calipari wasn't tied to anything. Then everybody will roll their eyes and laugh. And around and around we go.
Posted on: December 17, 2009 3:28 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2009 3:31 pm
Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I am a concerned Kentucky fan! About an hour ago I was watching a show called "All Bets Are Off" in Ohio, and it was reported that Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown might be released at the end of the season in an attempt to keep LeBron James with the Cavs. Bruce Drennan, the host, said it was rumored by Cavalier insiders that the Cavs would make a legitimate attempt to get John Calipari to coach Cleveland. Drennan said LeBron is really good friends with Calipari, and that the hire would likely keep James in Cleveland. Have you heard any rumors regarding this story?
It has been rumored for a while that Calipari might one day coach LeBron James.
I first heard it maybe three years ago.
The first version had the Knicks hiring Calipari in an attempt to get James. That obviously didn't happen. But if you're asking whether some basketball people believe this is a realistic scenario, the answer is yes. It's mostly rooted in the fact that Calipari is tight with James and nearly everybody around James -- including James' agent (Leon Rose) and confidant (William Wesley). Hell, one of James' best friends (Brandon Weems) is on staff at Kentucky right now.
Still, it's all speculation and little more.
I would compare it to the speculation that Michigan will fire Rich Rodriguez after next season, then go pluck Jim Harbaugh from Stanford. Could it happen? Sure. But what if Rodriguez turns it around? What if Harbaugh has a terrible season at Stanford next year? What if Harbaugh decides he just really loves living in California?
In other words, there are a lot of moving parts.
Brown could win an NBA title and become unfirable.
James could decide he wants to play in New York, regardless.
The Cavs could decide they don't want a player naming his coach.
James could decide he wouldn't name Calipari even if he could name Calipari.
Calipari could decide he doesn't want to move his family for the second time in two years.
Like I said, there are lots of ways for this to play out, and a lot of things would have to break a certain way for John Calipari to end up coaching the Cavs next season. So I wouldn't be concerned at this point, Clyde. You have an undefeated team, the most exciting player in college basketball, and a realistic shot at a national title. Enjoy that and don't worry yourself about this until Brown is fired and Calipari is mentioned as a replacement. If that happens, absolutely, feel free to worry. But until then, I'd relax.
Posted on: November 16, 2009 10:43 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2009 10:53 pm
There is plenty of time to discuss how Kentucky fell behind by 18, why it failed to get back on defense early, and whether DeMarcus Cousins will ever start a game without picking up senseless fouls. Important issues, all of them. I'll address them at some point.
But first things first: How does John Calipari not foul Kenny Hayes?
(Stop me if you've heard this one before.)
Calipari's team was ahead by three points late, but rather than foul and send Miami (Ohio) to the line -- which is generally accepted as the proper way to handle the situation -- Calipari opted to let the players play, and the result was a Hayes 3-pointer that tied the score with six seconds remaining. It was the latest version of Chalmers for the tie ... Got it! -- the same sequence that cost Calipari the 2008 national title when Mario Chalmers hit a 3-pointer, forced overtime and helped Kansas to an eventual 75-68 victory.
The only difference this time: John Wall.
Man, what a clutch shot.
The freshman point guard and likely top pick in the 2010 NBA Draft struggled early, forced things and committed five turnovers. But when it was time to do it, he did it. The CBSSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year took the ball length of the court and sank a jumper with 0.5 second remaining. Final score: UK 72, Miami (Ohio) 70.
Far as debuts go, it was impressive.
Wall got 19 points (on nine field goal attempts), five assists and three steals.
More important, he made the non-foul not matter.
For that, Kentucky is fortunate.