Kentucky Basketball: John Calipari's Greatest Recruiting Maneuvers Ever
John Calipari gets recruits. Other college basketball coaches try to mimic what he does, but none can match his success over the past three years.
There is little doubt that he is the best recruiting coach in college basketball today. In his time at the University of Kentucky, no other coach can match his recruiting numbers.
He has landed more top 10 recruits than any other coach in the past three years. He has put more players in the NBA. And he's won a national championship.
When you think about it, no one attribute of Calipari stands out. But combine everything he brings to the table, and no coach can match his accomplishments in the past few years.
Befriending Pop-Culture Icons
High school basketball players today love hip-hop.
John Calipari knows this.
He is friends with Jay-Z and Drake, two iconic hip-hop stars. You think Julius Randle enjoyed posing with Drake?
Of course he did.
And how about Calipari's relationship with Jay-Z, someone who has lyrics devoted to the Kentucky Wildcats.
And then there's this little nugget:
I told Jay-Z that I might get fined $50k for being in HIS locker room tonight. He said "I got you". #Lafamilia
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) September 29, 2012
Calipari is "in" with Drake and Jay-Z. Recruits take notice.
Coaching the Dominican Republic National Team
The Dominican Republic national team wasn't overwhelming with talent, nor did they make the Olympics in 2012.
But John Calipari was the coach. Why?
Coaching a national basketball team is an opportunity that every coach should consider. Calipari was able to lead NBA players like Al Horford and Francisco Garcia.
Calipari was also allowed to practice the Dominican Republic team in Lexington. That's a great opportunity for top recruit Karl Towns to see the campus.
Towns, a member of the class of 2015, is a transcendent big man prospect in his class. He was able to see the Kentucky facilities as a member of the Dominican Republic team.
Mike Krzyzewski is the only coach in the nation that could one-up Calipari here. Coaching Team USA is an obvious benefit for Coach K and the Duke program.
Participating in ESPN's All-Access
It's been called a recruiting infomercial for the Kentucky Wildcats, and for good reason.
John Calipari has the national stage once a week in ESPN's All-Access Kentucky.
He can show off his coaching philosophy, facilities and charisma to recruits around the nation on the biggest sports channel on television.
Aaron and Andrew Harrison have made the show. As seniors in high school, they don't get this kind of exposure. And they enjoy it.
Was just on#UKAllAccess— Andrew Harrison (@DrewRoc5) October 17, 2012
Calipari could have said no. He could have said that he didn't want cameras to go behind the scenes at his school.
But he said yes, and no other school in the country has that weekly exposure boost like Kentucky.
Changing the Recruiting Model
The most controversial aspect of John Calipari is the way he ships off players to the NBA.
He will be the first to tell you that he disagrees with the current NCAA rules forcing basketball players to attend school for a year before entering the NBA. He'll also be the first to say that he will always recruit the most talented players.
Everyone benefits under his model of success. Teenagers are able to reach their dreams quickly and effectively through attending Kentucky for a single season.
The school benefits because, well, if you haven't noticed, the model works. Kentucky wins.
Calipari benefits because his resume expands every year. Each year, he sends more players to the NBA. Kentucky breaks records.
Calipari puts players first, and the program reflects that. He could force players to stay in school. Maybe the college game would be better. But it wouldn't be fair to the player.
Earning the Trust of the Big Blue Nation
"Changing the recruiting model" might not work at other schools like it did at Kentucky. If John Calipari did not put together top recruiting classes year after year, the Big Blue Nation would start to question his recruiting model.
What if Brandon Knight committed to Florida?
Something tells me that Jarrod Polson would not have been able to lead the Wildcats to a Final Four birth in Houston.
Calipari rolls the dice each year after each new wave of recruits flocks to the NBA.
He has earned the trust of the craziest fanbase in the country. It is nearly impossible to consistently live up to the Big Blue Nation's expectations year after year, but Calipari does.
It's hard to make a recruiting model like Calipari's work, but he does.
It's hard to win every year, but Calipari does.