Is John Calipari a better recruiter than Nick Saban?

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Mar 16, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari during the first half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of those endless debates like how Muhammad Ali would fare against Big Mile Tyson. There is no right or wrong opinion and well, everyone has an opinion on the matter. It’s a debate that will keep you arguing way into the night and running up your bar tab. Jonathan Linter at the Courier Journal dredged up this debate as to which coach is the better recruiter: Nick Saban or John Calipari.

Have fun with it. I can see both sides of the argument. Saban has to recruit 25 guys each year while Calipari maybe five. But they both seem to come up with the same amount of five-star players and Calipari has more elite players in proportion to Saban. And Saban has the luxury of knowing his guys have to stay three years. I have to give Cal the edge and so does Linter:


Nobody comes close to touching Calipari in basketball recruiting, at least during his tenure at UK that has led to a spree of top classes. He’s in the ear of nine uncommitted players in the new Rivals 150’s top 12 list released Wednesday, the only exception being recent Southern Methodist commit Emmanuel Mudiay.

Calipari certainly wouldn’t lose a prospect to another sport. He simply has more to offer through basketball at UK, a big selling point in his player-first philosophy.

You won’t get your brain beat in, can leave for the NBA after just one season and become one of five or 10 recognizable faces on campus — not lost among the 80 or so football players on the Crimson Tide’s roster.

Cal over Saban. Anyone disagree?


If course, this debate was held on Twitter so someone (a UL fan no doubt) chimed in that Nick Saban does not lose to Robert Morris. I know it’s a UL fan because Robert Morris has absolutely nothing to do with recruiting, but I have my own unrelated jab towards Saban to keep it fair.

John Calipari would not pick Dante Culpepper over Drew Brees for his franchise QB like Saban did with the Dolphins.

Yea, I’m a salty Dolphins fan.


Jan 16, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) is called for an offensive foul against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Tickets are going fast for the UK Alumni Fantasy Camp Challenge and the UK Alumni Basketball game events at Rupp Arena on Monday night.  It’s all for charity and a star-studded roster is coming back to Lexington for the games, which will also serve as a premier hoops recruiting event as well.  Here is a rundown on the games on Monday:

  • Like last year, there will be a Fantasy Basketball Experience all-star game before the actual UK Alumni Charity Game at 7. The Fantasy Basketball Experience all-star game, which will start at 5:15 p.m. at Rupp Arena, will pit Fantasy all-stars against former UK players Kenny Walker, Andre Riddick, Mark Krebs, Jared Prickett, Perry Stevenson, Ramon Harris and Randolph Morris. Wayne Turner and Jack “Goose” Givens are also possibilities. Gates will open at 5 p.m. for that game.

  • Per NBA rules, UK cannot confirm which NBA players will participate in the main event, the UK Alumni Charity Game at 7 p.m. Though the game is set up as the 2009-10 team vs. the 2011-12 team, there will be other players from other teams to fill out both rosters. Because some of the pros on those Kentucky teams are in contract negotiations, they cannot participate. Coach Cal does expect two of the players who cannot play to serve as coaches for the game.


If you listen to the rumors, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins may the “coaches” for the Alumni game as Wall signed a max contract and Cousins is in the process of doing so.  There are also rumors that Wall will play regardless, so we will have to wait and see.  Other players that are rumored, but not confirm to participated are:

2010:  Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Cousins, Josh Harrellson, Ramon Harris, Mark Krebs, Darius Miller, Daniel Orton, Patrick Patterson, Perry Stevenson

2012:  Darius Miller, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Twany Beckham

Yes, you did see Darius Miller’s name twice as he may play a half for each team.  Also look for Brandon Knight, Joe Crawford, and Jamaal Magloire to suit up as well.


Got to love the way that today’s technology allow for endless debate over any medium. Over at CBS Sports, Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello engaged in an email debate about who had the best backcourt in college basketball. No wing players were mentioned. Just the guards. The pair decided on Memphis, Louisville, and Oklahoma State for the top three teams, but had some sparring about the number four team: Kentucky or Gonzaga.


There are a gaggle of teams I would take over them, but let’s start with Kentucky. Wildcats bring in the nation’s best point guard in Andrew Harrison, the nation’s best shooting guard in Aaron Harrison, and then another top-10 recruit in James Young. Talent-wise, that’s a loaded trio. Talk to me, goose.
MN: How fitting. You mention “gaggle” and tag it with “goose,” which is also the term for a flock of geese. No doubt unintentional on your part, but well-played, Ice … Man.

Kentucky was my choice for No. 5. There are overall chemistry questions I have with them. The talent is there. Is there anything beyond those three, though? We know Cal’s done great things with certain guards in the past. Talent-wise I think it’s a higher ceiling than Gonzaga. As a unit, I like what the Bulldogs bring back and factor in. And speaking of proven work with good backcourts, Mark Few’s had his fair share of deft guards.

I can give you UK at four, but we gotta go Gonzaga at five.


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