“How does the start Mark Stoops has had at Kentucky compare to John Calipari’s first year at UK?”
It’s a lot like Calipari’s first year at Kentucky. Remember (as painful as it is), how coach Billy G left the program before coach Cal, Joker did the same for the football program. It was as though all of the air had been let out a balloon. Fans were highly disappointed to say the least. In order to bring some excitement back to the program, there would have to be a major overhaul.
Once, coach Cal took over, the first thing he did was get some top recruits and started to mold the program how he wanted it, much like what Stoops is doing now. Even the blue-white game was similar to the Big Blue Madness of coach Cal’s first season. Fans were excited to see what was about to happen next to the program. Which in my opinion goes to show what progress coach Stoops is already making for the program. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more similarities when football season starts.
Basketball is so different from football when it comes to recruiting impacts. This is really an apple and oranges comparison. John Calipari came in like a hurricane with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, some of the biggest recruits in the country. He was able to put Kentucky back on top of college basketball before the season even started. With a 11-13 man roster, it is easier to turn a basketball program around with two or three elite players. Football is completely different. There are so many players and so many variables that it is hard to gauge how good of a job a coach is doing before three years have gone by. While Stoops is having success getting the high-caliber players into the program as well as reinvigorating the fan base, I would be hesitant to compare him to anything Cal did. Not as a knock on Stoops, but because football is so much more of a difficult program to build.