Posted on: April 25, 2011 2:32 pm

Calipari's own words

From Coach Cal to Big Blue Nation

There’s been some talk about what it means to be a “players-first program” and coming off the road from recruiting seems like a perfect time to discuss this.

Being a Players-first program means:

1. During the recruiting process, we don’t make outlandish promises about playing time, starting positions, minutes, shots, points or anything to these young men that we can’t keep. At Kentucky, you have to work for everything and compete every day at the highest level.

2. The second part is that once the season begins, we are teaching players to be the teammate they want to play with. Our whole focus is on team play. I want individuals to play well but I’m getting them to understand nothing of significance will be accomplished by themselves.

3. Lastly when the season is over, when our TEAM is done playing, my job is to help them make the best decisions, with the best information I can give them, for them and their families. I’m not trying to convince them to come back if that’s not in their best interest. Likewise, I’m never trying to shove anybody out the door.

The Truth is that these top players in the country want to play for a certain kind of coach in a certain kind of program. They are not playing for just any coach. They want to play with someone who has proven results.

The Lie is that because a player won’t go to a certain school, it’s impossible to win championships with that type of young, elite talent.

None of this takes away from our goal of winning championships. If you do right by these kids you will win championships and we have. It’s a ludicrous statement that you can’t win with players who earn a chance to pursue their NBA dreams early.

We’ve done pretty well in March. Winning a championship won’t change me one bit; but it would change me if it came after I told a young man to return to school for my own selfish reasons.

I’ll leave you with this, if we do right by these young people they will do right by us.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 25, 2011 2:30 pm

Thoughts about Coach Cals words

Calipari described what a "players-first" program meant to him.  It was brief, but it explained his philosophy about college basketball in this era of "one and done".

The first thing he stated is the fact that he doesn't "make outlandish promises" about playing time, minutes, positions, etc.  In this case, what he doesn't say is also instructive -- Calipari doesn't say that he doesn't make promises about these things, he says that he doesn't make promises that he cannot keep.

That might sound like a small thing, but the concept of keeping promises by being honest is the single most important factor why Calipari's reputation with players is what it is.  No matter what the media, jaded fans, and former coaches think about Calipari and his methods, past and present coaching, and no matter how many argue he's a  "cheater" or he's "slimy" that we see from those that despise him, the truth is that today's recruits know him where most of the media pundits don't -- they know him, and moe importantly they respect him. For one single thing. He tells them the truth.

That's the reason none of his former or current players speak badly of him. Even players in the NBA who never played for him speak highly of him, and it''s not his charming personality or nice suits.  He tells them the truth and keeps his word, because he obviously doesn't give it carelessly.

The second principle Calipari discussed:

The second part is that once the season begins, we are teaching players to be the teammate they want to play with. Our whole focus is on team play. I want individuals to play well but I’m getting them to understand nothing of significance will be accomplished by themselves.

There are alot of things, as most of us know, to being a good teammate than just practicing and playing hard.  We have seen it the last two years at Kentucky when the highly reguarded recruits come in.  They are used to being #1 on their high school teams and most, if not all, have never had to think in team concept terms, and what's best for the overall team and not just themselves.

The first and most important thing we all learn about being a good teammate is sacrifice -- we must sacrifice our desires, our wants and our glory for that of the team, and force our natural desire to excel into the proper place in a team concept. Every successful marriage learns how to do that eventually -- the two partners must give up things that they otherwise love to do, at least some of the time, in order to make the family work.

The final principle Calipari discusses is the thing that most of the media pundits ridicule--when the season is over, Calipari considers it his job to "help them make the best decisions, with the best information I can give them, for them and their families."  Often, this means advising them to pack their bags and become a professional basketball player, to the apparent detriment of Kentucky basketball and Calipari's own personal best interests and goals.

How anyone can criticize this philosophy is simply beyond any rational defense.  It would be unethical and selfish like those that condemn him if John Calipari tried to convince players to return to school and risk injury or a bad season rather than to take the millions of dollars represented by a NBA contract.  As many have so often stated, there is no degree program in college that pays what an NBA team does to a first-round draft choice.  There are no letters after your name that will earn you as much money in ten to fifteen years as an NBA salary will. 

That makes the ideology that the press and many past and present college coaches continually tries to pass off on the public as genuine, valuable, and worthy one of the most dishonest, deceitful, forms of coercion or trickery in the history of college basketball as well as reporting. Simply because people who read and listen want to hear the viewpoint in detailed statements that "student-athletes" are players who come to school first, and play basketball second.

What I respect and admire about Calipari is that he has the courage to be honest. He's not a hypocrite that pretends to subscribe to the mainstream logic and falsely claims to support that he would prefer the old days and "how things used to be" or "how it should be" that the press always brings up this time of year to soothe and comfort the idealists, elitists, and college administrators. 

Calipari doesn't tell players not to stay in school, he doesn't "push" anyone out the door, he simply points out to them life's realities, what the consequences of each decision is, and tries to get them as much information about what is likely to happen if they declare for the draft or stay another year as possible.  The decisions these players make are the same ones anyone else would make. That's life. That's reality.

Most people just won't admit it.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:04 am

The truth about John Calipari

First the one and done issue. It's an NBA rule. But it would be extremely nice if the national media being writers such as Pat Forde, Pete Thamel, Jeff Goodman, Dan Wolken among many others would notice that fact before writing another story on how Calipari is ruining college basketball.  These writers are unethical trolls who deserves nothing but derision from every college sports fan.  One-and-done players are purely a creation of the NBA, and Calipari's job as head coach at Kentucky is to field the best team he can. That's his job. And it was to long ago in the past that it was not only expected, but almost demanded of coaches to recruit the best players they could.

Not to mention that the NCAA cannot require anyone to go to school, it is impossible under any law or regulation. Only the NBA can forbid its teams to take players younger than a certain age, and that only -- not years of college -- and can only do that through negotiations in the collective bargaining process.

Also consider the fact that their favorite media darling Mike Krzyzewski as well as Bill Self among many others recruits one and dones as well. But they're all acting as if that doesn't happen for some strange reason. Nothing but silence....Now take into consideration Krzyzewski's next prize recruit Austin River's comments on the possibility of the NBA changing their age rule policy.

"I don't think it's fair to a lot of guys who are ready to go. We're going to have guys in our class that are going to be ready to play after one year. There are certain people that are able to make that jump and you're trying to tell them they can't make that jump and they have to wait another year, risk another injury or something like that? At the end of the day it should be up to the player. It's his life. It's his choice."

Now I can't (and wouldn't even if I disagreed with him on the matter since he's a kid) condemn River's for his comments since I personally agree with him on the matter and feel that he's right and that it is up to the kids themselves and they should be allowed to go straight out of high school. But I still can just imagine the fallout and rhetoric from the national media had this been one of John Calipari's recruits. From claims that World Wide Wes was involved and was funneling money thru John Calipari's "Mercenaries" thru Kentucky (one and done U.) straight to the NBA. But since it's Krzyzewski it's silence.

Now John Calipari is a grown man and hardly needs me or anyone else to speak up for him or take his side but this outright hate for him, the University of Kentucky and especially the young men that come here and represent the University so well and especially the references to them as mercenaries makes me furious. These are still kids. Why or how anyone can refer to them as mercenaries is beyond me. What other choices do they have or are they being left with?

Next we have certain people such as Bobby Knight criticizing Calipari with his blasphemous remarks stating he didn't understand how we have this coach at Kentucky thats had two schools under his watch be placed on NCAA probation and he's still coaching.....I understand it doesn't matter to many in the media that Calipari has never been accused by anyone, let alone the NCAA, of any wrongdoing.  But his association with two scandals, the Marcus Camby ordeal at UMass (for which he was cleared and even praised by the NCAA) and the Derrick Rose ordeal at Memphis seem to be all that is needed for some to consider him the epitome of what is wrong with college basketball.

But why would the NCAA ban Calipari from coaching -- on what basis? Bobby Knight?  Calipari has done nothing to deserve that.  Jim Calhoun has done far worse, and so has Roy Williams, yet Calipari should be banned? Both Williams and Calhoun violated NCAA rules personally. The worst Calipari can be accused of is having had some of his players break the rules without his knowledge.

Bottom line it is mean-spirited and unnecessary, it's all pure misinformation, dissembling, and lies. There are so many factual mistakes, attacks that are appealing to people's emotions and prejudices instead their ability to think and reason, as well as unwarranted statements, it truly is mind boggling that any reasonable and intelligent person could read this garbage and not laugh at their incompetence.

Where are the articles from these so-called writers discussing anything good or decent that Calipari does. Like the millions of dollars that he and his family donate to the church street ministries in Memphis to help children learn to read. Or the millions he helped raise in relief of the Haiti earthquake victims. Or even the fact that he's in church every morning praying for others. I've also yet to read anything from the national media portraying anything positive about Calipari. Not one word was mentioned about last years team traveling to Canada and along the way Calipari stopping in Detroit and having the team wash childrens feet and fit them for shoes--or the many times he get's on a plane and travels to someone sick and dying to visit and offer a few words of encouragement. Or the recent National town hall meeting that aired on ESPN on Jan. 10th, 2011 that he attended. Or the many comments that i've read from Memphis fans describing how much they appreciated him while he was there and would regularly bring in someone that was sick and/or dying to Memphis practices.

Perhaps Mr. Knight, and Forde, Thamel, Tipton and many others should take a few lessons in humility as well as being humble, and how to treat others from Calipari and apply it to their own lives and come out a better person for it. I know I certainly could. But from what I see he's a much better person than the people critcizing him. And I truly believe he has these kids that play for him best interests at heart. He simply tells them the truth. Which is by far and above more than we're getting from these other people.

And I for one am glad he's at Kentucky. If he left tomorrow I'd hate it but I'd be happy for what he's done for the University of Kentucky, the kids he's brought here and coached, and happy for the time he was here.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 25, 2010 7:56 pm

Bobby Knight

Since this is a discussion of Knights comments about Calipari I think it's only fair to consider the source in this as well and take a look at Knight. The list of Knights exploits at IU where complied from the Indianapolis Star Library. As well as an article written by Mike Decourcy of the Sporting News.

Here are excerpts from Mike DeCourcy's article in Sporting News about Knight's misinformation and hypocrisy, including some obvious points that many of us have been making here and in other threads...

"The one humorous element of Bob Knight's diatribe against the current Kentucky basketball coach is it unofficially anoints Knight as a full-fledged member of an assemblage he once loathed....

Knight always contended too many in the media wrote or talked about things they didn't know or understand. Now he has done the same....

....John Calipari — did previously work at Massachusetts and Memphis, and both of those schools wound up facing NCAA sanctions for incidents that occurred while he coached there. However, Calipari was not implicated in either circumstance....

In the case of the UMass deal, there is no way any logical person can assume Calipari approved of money allegedly changing hands between a wanna-be agent and his star player — and then encouraged that player to come clean with the NCAA. Which is exactly what happened.

Bob Knight should know that if he wants to comment about it."

1976 -- Criticized nationally for pulling guard Jim Wisman off the court by his jersey.
July 1979 -- Arrested in Puerto Rico, charged with assaulting a police officer; convicted in absentia in August.
1980 -- Fires a starting pistol at postgame news conference to startle a Louisville newspaper reporter.
Feb. 23, 1985 -- Throws a chair across the floor during a loss to Purdue. Three technical fouls, ejection from the game, and national attention.
1987 -- Puerto Rico drops its efforts to extradite Knight.
March 1987 -- Bangs fist on scorer�s table during an NCAA regional tournament game against LSU. NCAA fines IU $10,000 and reprimands Knight.
Nov. 21, 1987 -- Knight won�t leave the floor after being ejected. He drew three technical fouls which resulted in the game being forfeited to the Soviet Union team. Knight later is reprimanded by IU.
April 25, 1988 -- Provokes outrage during an NBC interview with Connie Chung. In describing the experience of losing, he said, "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."
March 25, 1992 -- Knight pretends to whip black player Calbert Cheaney, drawing national attention and protest from the local NAACP and other black leaders.
Dec. 7, 1993 -- Pulls son Patrick from the game and appears to kick him in the leg. Crowd boos. Knight later says he kicked the chair, not his son.
March 9, 1994 -- Butts heads with Sherron Wilkerson during a courtside huddle. Later both say it was accidental.
March 17, 1995 -- IU fined a record $30,000 after Knight berates an NCAA volunteer at a news conference following IU�s first-round loss to Missouri.
June 1999 -- Christopher Foster accuses Knight of choking him during an altercation in the parking lot of Nuestra Mexico, an Ellettsville Mexican restaurant. After much publicity, no charges were filed.
Feb. 19, 2000 -- Knight berates his boss, Athletics Director Clarence Doninger, when Doninger tries to console the coach after a loss to OSU. Doninger later said he felt physically threatened by Knight. (This incident was not publicly known until The Star reported it March 30, 2000).
March 14, 2000 -- In a televised CNN/Sports Illustrated report, Neil Reed alleges Knight grabbed him by the neck during a 1997 practice, that Knight ejected IU President Myles Brand for talking during a practice and that the coach wiped himself with toilet tissue in front of players to make a point.
March 23, 2000 -- IU Bloomington Athletics Committee asks IU President Myles Brand to investigate Knight.
April 12, 2000 -- Videotape of 1997 altercation between Knight and Neil Reed airs on television.
May 10, 2000 -- Jeanette Hartgraves, secretary to the IU athletics director, tells The Star she felt physically threatened by Knight in a February 1998 confrontation in which he called her a "f------ bitch" and was advancing on her in anger. Clarence Doninger, stepped in to restrain Knight. Hartgraves also told of an episode in the late 1980s in which an angry Knight flung a potted plant against a wall, shattering a ceramic pot and a glass picture frame. Hartgraves said she was showered by glass and debris but not injured.
May 11, 2000 -- Two more accusations surface about violent behavior by Knight. WTHR (Channel 13) reports that Knight attacked assistant coach Ron Felling and threw him off a chair after overhearing Felling criticizing the basketball program in a telephone conversation. Other sources told The Star that Knight choked and punched IU's longtime sports information director, Kit Klingelhofer, in the 1970s, over a news release that upset the coach.
Sept. 7, 2000 -- Knight grabs IU freshman Kent Harvey by the arm and lectures him on respect after hearing Harvey remark "Hey, Knight, what's up"? Harvey reports the incident to campus police and says Knight yanked his arm and swore at him. Knight denies he was rough.
Sept. 10, 2000 -- At a Sunday news conference, IU President Myles Brand announces he fired Knight after he refused a request to resign. Brand cited several instances< of unacceptable behavior by Knight since the zero-tolerance policy was instituted, not just the altercation with Kent Harvey, for his decision.
Sept. 12, 2000 -- In a live interview televised on ESPN, Knight says his accusers lied and university officials distorted their accounts of what happened.

Knight has never been a decent person and now, the one thing he was is gone. He abused and embarassed everyone in his way into a Hall of Fame career as a mean SOB, from his players, to his assistant coaches, the media, and even his superiors at Indiana.[see Miles Brand]. Now he is nothing more than another has been sports figure.

Knight is a shinning example of the things that were wrong with the "good old days" of the game.  He lives in a flawed view of the past exclusively and still believes that the way to success is to beat others down, embarass and degrade.  Even in his criticism of Calipari his focus was on himself being "above the game" now.  In reality no decent school would have him in any capacity within their organization. [See Georgia and his interest in their coaching vacancy last season] He is the worst form of a leader, as a coach, or as an example of a human being.  It is truly time for him to be seen for the fraud he is. In the end Knight will make some insensitive politically incorrect statement that will completely embarrass the network and College Basketball.  It isn't an "if" it is only a "when". I've said for years that he'd end up being the Woody Hayes of college basketball coaches but he's gotten away with that by being a bully and in the end it will be his mouth that is his undoing since he rarely, if ever engages his brain before he opens it.

He without fail always attacked journalism, in the form of obvious questions based upon his absurd behavior as a coach. Now that he is a part of the machine he used to loath, and has chosen to use his bully tatics even more pompously on air and with more lack of judgment than even the WORST of those he once barked at in the media. Bobby Knight is one of the most ridiculously transparent hypocrites in the history of the sport and, apparently, the media loves him as much as he loves himself.

And I think a good lawsuit is in order to set Mr. Knight and his employer, the worldwide hater in sports straight for journalistic integrity, having at least some sort of facts in your reporting as well as blatent defamation of character. JMO.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2010 9:49 am
Edited on: February 25, 2010 7:40 pm

The media's portrayal of angels vs. devils

ESPN, populated with so many ACC grads (of course, particularly UNC persona with a few Duke puds thrown in), has ALWAYS played the "angel and devil" game concerning college basketball. UNC, Duke, the ACC, Dean Smith, Roy Williams (who never contributed to a team's probation, right?), Michael Jordan (who never exhibited any of Tiger Woods' character flaws), Jim Valvano, Coach K, Indiana (of course, the beacon of all that is good in heaven and on Earth), Bobby Knight (warts and all, the beloved curmudgeon as "house mascot"), Kansas (to a lesser degree), Bill Self (once he got to KU), Big East (UConn gets a ton of pub there), UCLA, John Wooden (aka "Jesus" who never ever met "Satan" aka Sam Gilbert), Arizona, Lute Olsen and Olsen's wife, and any kid tabbed by Vitale as a "diaper dandy", etc. are examples of the "angels" of the sport.

Kentucky, Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, John Calipari, UK fans, UK players, UK history, then waaaaay down the list after the aforementioned, probably Cincinnati (and Huggins to some degree), the SEC in general, fill in the blank with any obvious actual program that has had recent marks on it's record NOT included in the "angels" list above and there you have your "devils".

That is just how they "do business". The bias is so extraordinary that I am NEVER surprised by it. The conjured controversy fueled by these "angels" vs. "devils" depictions would not hold water if it weren't UK fans against the FREAKING WORLD, but they never have a dissenting viewpoint in such matters.

Wouldn't it be nice if, once some ESPN (or CBS, let's not forget Duke grad Seth "Rupp is a racist and it's a fact" Davis after all) mouthpiece actually had someone next to him to challenge with a simple "Really? Can you prove that claim? Did you know that the facts, in reality, are that there is not one shred of evidence that Rupp was a racist, that Calipari did anything wrong as a coach at any program, that UK was the first school to challenge the SEC's segregation policies, that most UK fans really liked Coach Smith, that most Kentucky people are the nicest you would ever meet including most UK fans, that most UK fans would be the first to forgive any of these imbeciles if they would just have the 'nads to confess that they stir the pot more than they state the facts?"

This will never happen. They love the fact that UK is ALWAYS the most evil AND always the GREATEST program of all time. That gets non-UK fans to get on the hate parade, tune in to root against UK and increase what is already a predictably consistent and reliably high viewership, completely due to UK fans as a base of course, and perpetuate this "angel" and "devil" mythology. In creating the "angel" myth, on it's own, the network(s) also benefit from what I call "the cattle mentality", i.e., loving UNC because MJ played there, loving Duke because they won the 1992 Regional Final over the ultimate devil, UK (no matter that Laettner was a thug and UK was the obvious underdog in that game), loving UCLA because John Wooden speaks quietly over soft music about "hard work", loving the ACC because of Dean Smith and the EXTREME over promotion of the Duke/UNC rivalry (always a great rivalry, but it has gone into rocket space since Vitale opened his motor mouth and screamed it to the heavens), etc., etc., etc.

Things they will never talk about include: anything extremely bad that Bobby Knight did because he, apparently, is the only coach in NCAA history to graduate his players (LOL), Indiana being the perfect basketball state because of the film "Hoosiers", which incorrectly depicts Hackman's team as coming from nowhere despite being ranked in the Top 5 that season, Indiana being the seat of the KKK for the most of the 20th Century, former IU coach Branch McCracken (you know, the guy who won IU's first two titles) being an OUTSPOKEN racist, Adolph Rupp being Dean Smith's boyhood idol, Michael Jordan being a gambling womanizer to an extreme degree and being a behind the scenes fascist with his teammates from the Bulls, Roy Williams paying players with cash and gifts while at Kansas, Coach K knowingly playing the ineligible Corey Maggette, Jim Valvano having less than perfect policies while coaching NC St., Dick Vitale openly attempting to influence the outcome of games that he later broadcasts via "pep talks" to one team's players and not the other's, broadcasting ANY story that referenced Roy Williams yelling at, then getting security to toss a fan of whipping boy Presbyterian in the late stages of a blowout for said fan yelling "don't miss it, Deon" while defending the action as "I don't think ANYONE should say negative things about my players", John Calipari having no investigation of, nor sanctions from, the NCAA because of no evidence available for such investigations or theoretical charges WHATSOEVER, Dick Vitale admitting that he always hated UK LOOOOOOONG before choosing to categorically label UK fans as ALL haters of Coach Smith once Smith left the program by his own choice, and the list could go on all night, the next day, through the week, and into years of writing I am afraid.

That's just how it is. I wish I had a better explanation and surely there will be those (mostly rival trolls that do not realize that their inevitable baseless attacks that they want to bring to this issue SOOOOOO badly merely reinforces all points made above) who either do not believe it, LOVE drinking the ESPN rat poison, or simply hate our stinking guts (a reason that I support more than any other, ironically). That is their problem. They choose to believe the lies that are promoted over and over and over again with no counterpoint that includes facts available is what they prefer.

It is NO different, and arguably worse, than tabloid journalism at it's lowest. Guys like Knight getting trusted for anything they say with extreme bias is like Rush Limbaugh getting the same treatment from some folks. It doesn't matter how often such "preachers of lies and hate" can be proven categorically incorrect or intensely and clearly biased, folks just love to listen to bulls hit that promotes "extremes of good and evil" with nothing in between and with no response welcomed. That is the way things are now. (The way they've always been, and always will be)
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or