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WBN Kentucky Wildcat Roundtable: What will John Calipari accomplish in his stay at Kentucky?


Since Calapari’s arrival at Kentucky, he has talked about returning UK to the “top of the mountain”.  Of course, no one expected Kentucky to start their ascent immediately with an Elite Eight and a Final Four appearance in just two seasons.  With Calipari, it certainly appears that new banners are on the way at Rupp and it seems a matter of “How many”. With that in mind, this seemed a good topic to give our Roundtable to mull over:

Recently, it was announced that John Calipari had signed a contract extension, keeping him at Kentucky another eight years.  Assuming that Calipari stays the term of his contract, what are your expectations for when he leaves.  Realistically, how many titles, SEC or otherwise, do you expect him to have won after eight more seasons? 

Glenn Logan, A Sea of BlueI expect Calipari to leave not sooner than 2019 nor later than 2025.  He has said he doesn’t want to be coaching at 70, and he may want another bite at the NBA apple sometime in the future, but not a big bite.  I will peg 2020 as his last year at Kentucky.
I expect Calipari to win no less than two national championships, get to four more Final Fours, and win at least six SEC and/or SEC tournament championships if he only stays for eight more years.  Of course, that assumes that he continues to recruit at this level and doesn’t run into any major roadblocks.

Greg Edwards, Wldcat Blue NationJohn Calipari’s time as coach of the Wildcats will end as no other before him, with the exception of probably Adolph Rupp. I see two-three NC’s. At least 7-8 SEC Titles, and more NBA recruits than ever before in the history of the program. More importantly, unlike some non-believers out there, I think he leaves UK in the best shape it has ever been in at the exit of a coach before. Proving even more people wrong.

Ken Howlett, A Sea of Blue:  As far as SEC titles, I certainly expect Cal’s ‘Cats to win most if not all of the SEC regular season titles for the length of his contract.  Over a 16,18, or 22 game SEC slate, the cream generally rises to the top.  Tournaments are much more difficult to predict, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Calipari wins six of eight SEC championships.

Now, on to what really matters, the NCAA Tournament (don’t slay me, that’s per Cal:)  If the current NBA age limit stays in effect (19-years old, or one year removed from high school before a player is eligible for the Draft), I’ll predict at least two titles, but if the the age rule is amended to two years out of school/20-years old, the sky is the limit.  With the unbelievable, unparalleled success Cal and staff have enjoyed on the recruiting circuit, it would not surprise me to see him win more than two titles over the next eight season.

With that being said, the crystal ball gets very overcast as I gaze into the future, looking past the next couple of years.  But, I do not think it is far-fetched to believe, or even expect, UK will continue to be title contenders as long as Cal is roaming the sidelines.

Jonathan North, Wildcat Blue Nation:  Expectations for Calipari will continue to skyrocket for Calipari if he continues to get the caliber of recruits that he’s been getting. You look at his first class, which I will write off as a success since it was his first year, the second year he goes to a final four but this years team is the first one you can REALLY be disappointed if they don’t win it all. We all know how tough it is to get to the final four because after the second round ANYTHING can happen. In eight years though, you would have to expect 2-3 titles and that’s calling for a lot in this day and age with so much talent fielded in every position, even at mid-major schools. As for the SEC, I don’t see why it’s not possible for us to win the regular season title every year and at least four-five tournament wins. Now that’s depending on the influx of talent from year to year, but I think that’s reasonable.

Jason Marcus, Wildcat Blue Nation:   When Cal first got to Kentucky, I really didn’t know what to expect as far as success went. Sure Cal was bringing in a top notch recruiting class, but the fact that mostwere considered one and dones, combined with the fact that it wasCal’s first year and he didn’t have any players to help teach hissystem to the new guys, I didn’t have high expectations for the 2009 season. The next year, after seeing how well Cal allowed his players to show their best abilities and thus make them high NBA draft picksand thus have mostly one and dones every year, my doubts begin to creep in that Cal would never get further than a Final Four in his tenure at Kentucky. But after seeing him take a team to the Final Four last year that faced the following obstacles:

*Lost a total of 8 players, including 5 which started games(Dodson managed to start a few)
*Had arguably the best player on theteam ruled ineligible( Kanter)
*Had to point guard who was more of ashoot-first combo guard, making it hard to involve the whole team consistently
*Had only two centers that were JUCO castoffs
*Had a 6-man rotation for virtually the whole year
*Had to start 3 Freshman for most of the year while lacking upperclassmen leadership
*Was placed in a murder’s row bracket and under-seeded in the NCAA tournament
*Could not win close games on the road

Despite all these odds, Cal managed to coach up this team and get them to a Final 4 on pins and needles . So what could he do with a team like next year that:
*Returns 3 starters
*Has one of the best recruiting classes ever
*Returns all main assistantcoaches(Comradery and familiarity is key for players and coaches)
*Faces a tough schedule which willprepare them for NCAA tournament, including playing arguably the best team(UNC)

Oh yeah, and there may be a two-and-done rule soon, so imagine a team like this with Davis,Gilchrist, and Teague as sophomores. Or a team that had a sophomore Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Orton, along with Freshman Knight, Jones, andLamb. I think Cal can get it done IF…and only if he stays all 8years.

Paul Jordan, Wildcat Blue Nation:  I think Jason said it all.  Honestly, I think that if Calipari can keep up the recruiting, it’s hard to imagine Calipari leaving UK with no titles. so let’s say one at least and if the NBA can get their act together and institue a 20 year old age limit, we could see a 1996-1998 run with the 2011 class.  I think it’s unfair to expect more than one or two, but Cal definitely has the best chance to put together a dynasty.  For the sake of predictions, lets say two titles, 6 SEC and 6 SEC Turnament titles, and three trips to the final four.  Most importantly, eight sweet 16 or better tourney appearances.  And the real thing to watch is to see what happens should Cal win three in eight years.  Would he sign an extension in order to tie UCLA?   

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