Calipari calls John Wall a 'building block' for UK's success

Kentucky coach John Calipari's message at Big Blue Madness Friday night was clear: Kentucky basketball is family and it's for life.

That message certainly resonated with Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, who, despite only playing one season at Kentucky, got one of, it not the biggest ovation of the night.

"People think they have to stay four years to have a relationship with the program, the coach," Calipari told Chris Miller of CSN Mid-Atlantic at the Wizards-Kings exhibition game at Rupp Arena Saturday night.

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"If they know you love them, if they know you care about them. If they know the city and this university was all about them when they were here, this is home. This is about these kids and that's why they know."

Wall, who signed with the Wildcats in May of 2009 as part of Calipari's first recruiting class in Lexington, helped put Kentucky basketball back into the collective consciousness of college basketball.

Wall was one of Kentucky's biggest rockstar recruits in the history of the school, along with the likes of Kenny Walker, Rex Chapman and Jamal Mashburn.

Calipari also called him a "building block" that helped usher in a new era for the program.

"He and DeMarcus [Cousins] and Eric [Bledsoe] and Patrick [Patterson], they were the building blocks," Calipari said. "They made it okay for me to go get other guys like them because no one agreed with me. They understood you could be about the kids and still win every year. They were the building blocks of this."

In his seven seasons at Kentucky, Calipari has produced a total of 30 NBA players and taken the Wildcats to four Final Fours, including a national championship in 2012.

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