If there is one thing that John Calipari know, it is how to elevate a player to the top pick in the NBA Draft. In 2008, it was Derrick Rose. In 2010, it was John Wall. And in 2012, he hit the daily double with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist being picked number one and two. So when he pays a in-home visit and tells a recruit … say Julius Randle … that he wants him to come to Kentucky and be the next top pick, you better believe Randle listens:
“Coach Cal is Coach Cal. He came in and he’s one of the coolest coaches out there. He was just himself. He wants me to come in and be the top draft pick. He sees me as somebody to get it to on the break to use my speed and quickness. He sees a way to use my dribbling ability whether it be on the break or playing at the elbows.”
Take that Roy Williams and your box of Helms Championship rings. And after his weekend visit to Kentucky and hanging with rapper Drake, Randle had more to say about his visit to Kentucky:
“I kind of knew what I was going to get from the program and what they do,” Randle said. “What I got out of the visit is that it is really just a family. They are going to push you hard to be the best you are going to be and you aren’t going to like it sometimes. But at the end of the day you know they care about you. The coaches are good guys and care about you.”
Current players also gave him an accurate picture of life as a UK basketball player.
“It’s not really easy. It’s going to be hard,” said Randle, when asked what the Wildcat players told him about Kentucky. “But the reward is worth it in the end. Like last year they all sacrificed for each other and in the end they were all able to do what they wanted to do individually.”
Granted, Randle is likely not a spring decision, but it is obvious that Kentucky has set the bar quite high for his other visits.
Granted, not everything John Calipari touches turns out to be Kentucky blue. Jabari Parker is continuing with his in home visits and there has not been a mention of Kentucky. And Tennessee coach Counzo Martin just went and got a commitment from the 12th rated player in the 2013 class, Robert Hubbs, before he was supposed to have an in-home with Calipari. So you see, Calipari does not win all the battles. But he usually wins the war.
Yesterday, we talked about possible transfer target Arsalan Kazemi from Rice. And now, John Clay has 10 fun facts about him. To be honest, I don’t know if Calipari has eyes for Kazemi, but it is amazing how much information Wildcat sites pump out about a possible new name in a 24 hour period.
Players at the new Wildcat Lodge have to be extra vigilant about making curfew as now Joe B Hall is keeping watch. Or at least his likeness in a statue that was debuted yesterday. I still think that statues and clowns are creepy, but I am all for honoring Joe B. Check out the dedication of his statue.