John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats are the iPhone of basketball recruiting

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Apr 2, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari waves to the crowd as he cuts down a piece of the net after the finals of the 2012 NCAA men

I have to admit that after three seasons of John Calipari, it has become hard to describe the recruiting greatness of John Calipari. Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated does a great job with an analogy comparing Kentucky to Apple and of course, Cal is the CEO of Cal Inc:


The marriage of Calipari with the storied history, resources and relentless passion of Kentucky, though, has created an unassailable monster. Calipari, always masterful at the off-court game within the game, now has the game’s most massive stage onto which he can invite guests. Like Jay-Z. Like Drake. Like the ubiquitous Worldwide Wes. Calipari has created the clearest, most enticing pitch possible to elite high schoolers. Come to Kentucky, play in huge games, hobnob with your favorite rap stars, and then be in a position to get guaranteed millions, compounded by access to all of the myriad connections that cycle through the Kentucky family. Calipari has evolved from coach to CEO and Kentucky is Apple. Cal Inc. may not always produce the best product, but it’s the best-branded product, and that means people will buy and buy and buy.


As an avid iPhone user, I get the analogy.  It seems that I can’t pull out my iPhone without an Android user bashing it and telling me that their phone is better.  Yet even though the Samsung phone may be just as good, it’s users do not have the passion of iPhone users.  Cal Inc.  I like it.


Apr 24, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Kentucky Wildcats basketball head coach John Calipari (right) talks to Cincinnati Reds first base coach Billy Hatcher (22) before the game against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Today, the national sportswriters are bowing down to Calipari and Kentucky, much like they did after April’s NCAA Title win. And the only real thing they can say negative is to throw up the occasional World Wide Wes reference and to be honest, that has stopped to bug me. I find it amusing that when it was revealed that an Under Armour rep was the only person with the Twins phone number at one time, everyone still wants to throw WWW jabs. Like they say, EMBRACE THE HATE. And enjoy the praise being thrown Kentucky and Cal’s way:


After April, Calipari isn’t merely offering the NBA and the chance to meet Jay-Z, as if that wasn’t already enough. Now he has the national title. Now he has proven his hyper-accelerated one-and-done blueprint can work. Now he’s shown that the best players in the country really can have it all: immediate success; national title shots; the adoration of the nation’s most insane fan base; and, after all that, the end result of NBA riches. At UK, Calipari says, there is no need to trade any of it off. And he’s right.


Because right now, nobody beats Kentucky for recruits. All your stars are belong to Cal. Resistance is futile. Year in and year out, from now until Calipari decides to do something different with his life, Kentucky is going to keep getting the best players in the country, keep churning out teams that defend like crazy, and keep challenging for national titles. Like clockwork.


It’s good to be king.

photo credit: Chet White: UK Athletics

Let’s not forget, we still have a whole basketball season to look forward too that kicks off with BBM a week from today. One of the wildcards on this team is Willie Cauley – Stein. Much was made about the 7″ Cauley – Stein and his football prowess, but everyone thought that he would be more of a project in basketball. However, it seems that Cauley – Stein has transformed himself, both mentally and physically and could make an impact on the hardwood this year:

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