by Paul Jordan

by Paul Jordan

Like Coach K, Calipari needs to say "NYET" to Nets in a timely manner


by Paul Jordan

John Calipari took in the NY Knicks/Chicago Bulls game in NYC earlier this evening. Nit really big news, as he was there ti support his former player Derrick Rose as he played on the nation’s biggest stage. But mark my words. Soon the tongues will start wagging that Calipari had a clandestine meeting with the owners of the New Jersey Nets about their coaching job next year. Or the New Your Knicks. Or the Bulls. Or all three teams. As long as Kentucky is back in the spotlight, the rumors of our coach taking a NBA job are going to be prevalent.

So last week, John Calipari addressed the rumors of him going to the New Jersey Nets. Sort of. When asked about the Nets job, Calipari made a face like he smelled some putrid Jersey shoreline (or those “Jersey Shore” kids), and said that he was committed to Kentucky and said that “As long as they’re (Kentucky) committed to me and this basketball program, where would I want to go?”. And that line worked on me for a few days. But then the rumor kept being repeated through the Internet and still has legs.

And then I saw this article by Gary Parrish where he noted that Calipari made basically the same comment about leaving Memphis in 2006: “Why would I leave? We have a top 10 program. Why would I choose to leave?” Calipari further expounded that he was happy at Memphis as long as they were “committed to having a top 10 program”.

Don’t get me wrong … personally, I don’t think Calipari will be a “one anad done” and UK. And I get where Gary Parrish is coming from. He resides in Memphis and has a daily radio show with Calipari obsessed Geoff Calkins on 730 Sports Memphis. So Parrish has been here with Calipari before and although Gary is generally fair to UK and Calipari on a national level, I still regard everything he writes with a bit of suspicion. But still ….

Calipari could have come out and said “Nyet“. I usually don’t recommend following Duke’s Coach K on anything, but the guy gave a world class refusal on any interest in the Nets job:

“The guy’s Russian, right? You think he’d hire a Polish guy? No one’s contacted me, and if they do, I think ‘nyet‘ would be easy for me to say.”

No that is a denial. Insult the guy’s ethnicity. Keep in mind coach denials really mean nothing. During the last few years we have been treated to a top three of coach lies regarding their coaching jobs:

  1. Nick Saban – “There is no way in hell I am going to coach Alabama, are you kidding me? I just handpicked the QB savior of the Dolphins, Daunte Culpepper, myself. Who needs Dree Brees? That guy’s a hack. He can rot in New Orleans. Daunte’s my man!”
  2. Billy Donovan – “I’m going to DisneyWorld!!! Let’s go Magic!!!”
  3. Urban Meyer – ” I know my daughter thought she was getting her Daddy back, but I need to spend time with my real family, the Gators, and keep them out of jail”.

OK, those aren’t actual quotes. I paraphrased a bit, but you get the picture. And while I think that Calipari’s heart is true Blue …. a simple NO would calm the BBN. There are arguments on both sides of the Calipari to New Jersey story. Parrish of course, thinks that the New Jersey job is potentially a better job than the Kentucky job (once again, suspicion on his motives)

I’m not sure the UK job is better than the Nets job, particularly if the Nets get the No. 1 pick and have a chance to lure James. What Calipari would be comparing is having to recruit 17-year-olds while opposing fans call him a cheater and columnists raise doubts about the legitimacy of any accomplishments, to perhaps coaching John Wall (possible No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft) and LeBron James (possible Net via free agency) in the New York market for an owner who has deep pockets and is determined to win.

On the other side of the Kentucky/ NJ debate, Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News says it simple and to the point … Kentucky is the better job:

“Calipari’s got a better job (than the Nets). Calipari does have a taste for chaos. He enjoys a good fight. But he has a chance for spectacular success at Kentucky. At New Jersey, the future is mostly the opposite.”

And with a third opinion, Jason King weighs in on the possibility that Cal will jump to the NBA … after a few years and a title at UK:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if John Calipari ended up back in the NBA someday. I think the shortcomings he had during his brief stint with the New Jersey Nets still eat at him today. If he were to win a national title at Kentucky in the next few years, I think he would listen to interested parties at the next level. Even though it didn’t work out before, Calipari has what it takes to be successful at the next level. He’s at his best when he’s in the spotlight, and he’s proven he’s a master of dealing with the type of egos that exist in today’s NBA culture. He’d be a good
hire for a struggling team. ”

So there you have it. Three national columnist have different views on the Cal to New Jersey question. A NO, a MAYBE, and a MAYBE IN A FEW YEARS. For the record, I think the “Cal is going to go to New Jersey to coach LeBron” theory is kind of ludicrous. Cal is already good friends with LeBron … and we know how those “working for your buddy” stories can turn out. And who knows if Cal wants to be LeBron’s boss? Or John Wall’s boss if the Nets get him. As for now, I think Cal is perfect content chasing UCLA’s titles lead. His resume is not that is a “one and doner“, so I think we can rest assured for a few years and titles …

But come on Coach. A big, fat NYET would be nice to hear.

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