There’s a long, but interesting article about Memphis head coach, John Calipari, and his one-and-done strategy to recruiting.
Personally, I’m not a fan of Calipari. I just don’t think he’s that great of a game time coach, most evident by his awful 2+ seasons in the NBA with New Jersey. I also think he rides small teams in weak conferences to earn his gaudy Win/Loss numbers. While his teams would be good in any conference, let’s see him average 30+ wins per season in the ACC. Let’s just say it was fun to watch Memphis blow a championship because of missed free throws, only a few weeks after he told everyone and anyone who would listen that free throws didn’t matter and that they would “make them when they had to.” They didn’t.
Anyhow, Calipari gets plenty of praise from current and former players. I bet they do. My question is, what kind of reporter skips over the fact that last year’s runner up team had six different players arrested during the season. One more arrest than tournament wins. Not bad.
Sadly, this is the consequence of the stupid NBA rule, forcing players to play one season in college…because that year really makes all the difference. Of course I could just be bitter because the Tigers have already brought in the #2 & #3 top recruits for the 2009 class. If John Wall ends up there, I might have to go watch, Blue Chips again.
Anyhow, go read it for yourself, but let me just respond to one thing. Calipari, when talking about his four-year won/loss record (132-11), says:
"“You couldn’t do that on a video game,” Calipari says."
He’s right, because I wouldn’t play in Conference USA in a video game.
UPDATE: Since this article got linked to a Tiger blog, let me just say this. I’m not knocking your program! I’m not knocking your players. If a kid wants to be a one-and-done, I’m for it. In fact, in my ‘worthless’ predictions, I have Memphis going to the Final Four again, not because of Evans (although he certainly is great), it’s because they have experienced upperclassmen like Dozier, Taggart, Anderson and Mack (two seniors, two juniors). In fact, this team reminds me a little of the Syracuse team that won the title with Anthony (only your freshman stud plays point).
However, what I’m knocking is Coach Calipari’s consistent bragging about his overall win/lose record, that was basically built by crushing teams like Tulane and Rice (all while he has yet to win a championship with a roster full of NBA players). Sure it’s not your fault the rest of the Conference teams suck, but let’s be honest, Memphis is the ONLY TEAM IN THE CONFERENCE to make it in the NCAA Tournament. Maybe a little piece of humble pie in due, Coach Cal. Instead, he acts like the committee drop-kicked his child, when they gave Memphis #2 seed in a weak bracket (where the #1 seed is missing their second best scorer). It sort of reminds me when Coach K bitches about Duke getting no love from the media. Come on now!
In the end, the beauty of college basketball is, it doesn’t matter what I or any legit writer says about Memphis. In the end, no matter how strong or weak a team’s conference is, they still get an actual shot at the title. Just imagine if Memphis went undefeated in football…they wouldn’t even get a shot to to play for the title.