If your name is John Calipari, you simply can not win when it comes to the national media and pundits. Kentucky Wildcat fans are aware of the usual trolls (Jeff Goodman, Pete Thamel, Pat Forde) but each day, the “bash Calipari” bandwagon gets larger and a lot of people are up in arms over a situation that is far to be resolved yet. Even though Kentucky suffered an inglorious end to their season in the NIT, sportswriters are fixated on Calipari and more specifically the scholarship numbers for the 2013-14 season. Seeing that the NBA deadline is still a few weeks away, any judgements about what Calipari is or is not doing need to be laid to rest until this situation sorts itself out.
For his tenure in Kentucky, Calipari has been blasted by the haters for promoting the “One and Done” culture and has been accused of ruining college basketball by himself. Despite the fact that other coaches sign players that go one and done and don’t have the same results as Calipari has. Little to no media attention was paid to Josh Selby, who was one and done with the Jayhawks, drafted 49th in the NBA draft, and is now less than one and done in the NBA after being waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were his second NBA team in his rookie season. Even the most scrutinized of Calipari’s one year wonders, Daniel Orton, has managed to stay with a NBA affiliation through his three seasons after Kentucky.
But now, instead of criticizing Calipari for his one and done ways, some pundits are now going the complete opposite way and crying that Calipari’s one and done culture is ruined and now he has too much talent on his roster.
Heralded freshmen recruits Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress didn’t pan out as expected in their first season and, along with fellow freshman Willie Cauley-Stein, announced they intend on returning to Kentucky for another season. The only problem is that Calipari is bringing in arguably the greatest recruiting class in college basketball history — a six-man class headlined by Julius Randle and Andrew and Aaron Harrison. That class could become seven if the nation’s top player, Andrew Wiggins, pledges to Big Blue Nation. For the first time, the one-and-done culture Calipari had benefited from has backfired on him. Too much talent is coming in and not enough is going out.
Under Calipari, Kentucky lands top recruit after top recruit. Most of them spend a year in Lexington and then take their talent to the NBA — rarely do these top prospects return. Two years ago Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb elected to stay for a sophomore season while Brandon Knight jumped to the draft. It was a beneficial move for Jones, Lamb and Kentucky. Calipari brought in a four-man class, starring Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. That class filled out the starting five and added another rotation guy as Kentucky went onto a national title.
Fast-forward to 2013 and too many players want to stay, and too much talent is coming in.
Is this really a problem? Of course not. Any one of the 68 head coaches in the NCAA Tournament, the 31 other teams in the NIT, and every other division one program in the nation will KILL to have the problem that Kentucky has. So why hate? Because hating on Calipari gets hits, and well, writers get bored and decided to take on an article they really have no knowledge of and end up making no sense whatsoever in their articles. The above article also takes a nasty turn and turns into more bashing of Cal. Of course it does.