By now, Kentucky Wildcat fans know that their coach, John Calipari, is one of the most polarizing figure in sports. I admit, it used to bug me. A lot. I used to wage epic wars against columnist and web sites that slammed our coach Calipari. And then after Calipari delivered national title number eight, I got it and learned to relax. It’s called “embracing the hate”. Like millions of members of the BBN, I hold Calipari as a true legend, and I am OK that other fans despise our coach. I actually delight in it when Calipari makes the news and then go to Twitter to wattch the Louisville and Indiana fans heads collectively explode. Wednesday night’s telethon for the victims of Sandy was brought up and NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster looks at the marketing genius that is Calipari and wonders if he is a charitable villain:
Cal has made himself more than simply a basketball coach. He’s a celebrity. He rubs elbows with the biggest names in basketball and the biggest names in hip-hop. He thrives on the attention, and there is no program in the country where he’ll receive more attention than at Kentucky. Why do you think he gave ESPN unlimited access to his program, not only for this story, but for the ‘All-Access: Kentucky’ TV show that aired. He knew what kind of attention that would bring his program, and he knew that ESPN would eat it up because of the number of eye balls that would be on TV screens when the shows aired.
It’s made him one of the most polarizing coaches in the country. Some people hate him. Others deify him. Me? I love the way he runs his program, but I also realize that everything that comes out of his mouth — especially when their are tape recorders rolling — is spoken for a reason. Everything has spin. Every interview he grants, he grants for a reason. He goes into every press conference with a game-plan.
But the most important thing to note with Coach Cal is that regardless of how you feel about him, he does use his influence in a way that benefits more people than just the prospects who will likely be making millions of NBA dollars regardless of where they go to school.
Dauster, of course has had his run ins with members of the BBN for some of his comments, and while it seems silly, Dauster points out that some people think that Calipari’s charitable deeds are done to curry favor in case he is ever “caught cheating”. To me its ludicrous, but I’ve learned long ago that Kentucky winning just makes the haters choke with despair. Let’s make them really mad and win nine.
Andrew Wiggins is still the number one target for Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class and from all indications, he will sign in the spring. There has been recent speculation that once again, Wiggins may not want to play with fellow superstars Andrew and Aaron Harrison and James Young. And once again, Wiggin’s HS coach Rob Fulford puts those rumors to rest:
“Kind of an intial reaction was how would his roll fit in with the Harrison twins and James Young but he doesn’t care,” Fulford said. “A roster alignment isn’t going to factor where Andrew goes.
“He’s going be the best player wherever he goes.”
Wiggins was actually in Kentucky this week and here are the highlights from his game at Alice Lloyd College:
Kentucky gets their defense of the national title underway tonight versus the Maryland Terrapins. We will of course, have some game previews on the site later today, but for now, here is how CBS Sports is previewing the game.