Now that John Calipari has a title, the talk inevitably turns to whether or not he’ll leap to the NBA or return to Kentucky. (Remember when we talked about something similar to this last year?) Five of the players from his 2012 team could be drafted in the first round in June. Before we get to Woj’s terrific column, let me get my prediction out of the way (note: I’d love to see Cal coach the Knicks):
- In the next few days, Calipari gets a small raise and everyone on his staff gets one. This happens quickly because …
- A couple of elite recruits – Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett and Devonta Pollard, all in the Top 15 – haven’t decided which school they’ll attend, but will do so in the next week.
- My guess is Cal lands two of the three. Pair them with Doron Lamb, Kyle Wiltjer and transfer guard Ryan Harlow from NC State, and the Wildcats are a Top 5 team. Definitely not as strong as the 2012 team, and probably somewhere between the 2011 Final 4 team and the 2010 Elite 8 team.
Is the older, wiser Calipari even NBA material at this point? Sure. It’s not like he’s going to pull stunts like he did in New Jersey a decade ago.
When John Calipari ruled as general manager and coach, one of the interns within the New Jersey Nets’ basketball operations had come to expect his frantic, flustered boss to deliver a most vain order. Calipari became obsessed with the callers to the midday New York radio show ripping into him, and orchestrated a counter propaganda program.
Calipari had underlings searching his phones for ownership-installed listening devices, realizing little that those basketball ops guys assigned to the sweep wouldn’t have known if they had even found one. Of course, they never did.
He’d never have to worry about such matters in Lexington, where he’s a deity. So Cal stays, continues to dominate with his one-and-done style (which I imagine other coaches will emulate en masse sooner rather than later – I’m not talking about one kid at Duke or one at UNC … I’m talking 3 or 4 kids grouping together, like the Fab 5, or like the Miami Heat) and college basketball will have a dynasty on its hands.
Which certainly won’t be a bad thing.