Kentucky Basketball: Why the Wildcats Would Be Better Off Without John Calipari
John Calipari has been the men's basketball head coach at the University of Kentucky since April, 2009. His team made it to the Elite Eight last season and is poised to get at least that far this year.
Coach Cal has coached 17 players that went onto the NBA, including two first overall picks. He is well known as a great recruiter.
Here are some reasons why Kentucky may have been better off without John Calipari.
An opposing point of view can be found here.
There have been no scandals before Coach Cal signed on at Kentucky. There was an investigation into the high school transcript of Eric Bledsoe but they found no evidence of academic fraud. Bledsoe is just another in a long list of controversies that surround Calipari.
Maybe the NCAA will unearth Bledsoe's mysteriously missing transcripts. Maybe they will find some irregularities in the recruitment of Enes Kanter. Most of Kentucky won't know how it will happen, but fans would not be surprised if Kentucky goes back on probation. They only hope it happens after a title.
Culture at Kentucky
Calipari has created at culture of one-and-done players. This happened first at Memphis and now at Kentucky. His goal is to recruit players who intend to only play one season of college ball before heading to the NBA. There are no rules against it but it isn't good for college basketball.
The one-and-done system turns the American education system into an NBA combine for players to hone and demonstrate their skills for the next level.
The other issue is maintaining success when reloading year after year.
Not only do the one-and-done players mock the American education system, they also make the game less exciting and interesting to watch.
One of the best things about college basketball is the passion displayed by the players This is especially true in March at the NCAA tournament. Freshmen don't have much of that passion anyway. They have only been at the school for less than a year. A one-and-done player will have even less passion given that he knows he won't be back the following year.
College ball is more fun to watch when the teams are made up of upper classmen who have worked on their game, matured, made progress toward a degree and are fighting for an NCAA title.
Many fans are frustrated at Cal's failures on the road in the SEC. The problem lies with the system that Coach Cal runs.
The Dribble-Drive motion system does not lend itself to close games. It makes it hard to get good shots when they are needed at the end of games. This can be overcome with superstar point guards like Brandon Knight, Derrick Rose and John Wall, but is not a consistent route to success in the hostile environments of the SEC.
Kentucky would have been better off finding a coach that does not have any of these problems. When you are the greatest program in the country, you should have your pick.
Possible coaches that could have been hired are Rick Barnes, Jay Wright or Travis Ford. Obviously Kentucky was burned by the hiring of Billy Gillespie and needed to make a splash with a coach like Calipari.