I think I have it all figured o..."/>

I think I have it all figured o..."/>

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Is UK Vs. The Dominican Republic The Start Of Something More?


I think I have it all figured out now. Some mad genius somewhere took DNA from the Pied Piper, Adolph Rupp, P.T. Barnum, and Rick Pitino and created John Calipari. I want his number.

Now before you critics start screaming, let me explain. The Pied Piper reference is obvious, and probably so is the P.T. Barnum to those of you who know your history, but Adolph Rupp and Rick Pitino?? Oh yeah. John Calipari got the best parts of both those men.

Adolph Rupp was a battler. A fighter who could not stand just to win, he wanted to pound his opponents into submission, but only when it made his point. See, Coach Rupp was a lot smarter than most folks gave him credit for. He understood his job, his players, and his place in the world better than almost anyone. He may have lost a little bit of his touch as the world got a lot smaller in his latter years, but not that much. See Rupp controlled Kentucky. He controlled the SEC. And he also controlled the NCAA to a certain extent. They didn’t come snooping around his door for a reason, he wasn’t committing any violations. Now, does that mean the program was not? Maybe, but more than likely he simply was smart enough to put distance between himself and those who could do him any harm. Sound familiar? The Cats violations in the 50’s were the result of the players activity much more so than the school. Gambling is a no no, I don’t care who you are. The players got involved with it enough and the atmosphere in that day was so anti-everything, that a violations that would have drawn nothing more than a few vacated wins today got UK the death penalty back then. But Rupp knew he didn’t have a leg to stand on, so he chose his battle carefully. UK was a loser in the eyes of the NCAA and indeed much of the sports world back then, but here in Kentucky, he solidified his place with his handling of the situation, and his response to what the limited media of the time had to say about the matter. But Rupp always was in control of his surroundings. Press conferences, games, discussions about the program in general, along with his complete control of the players themselves were all run by The Baron.

Now on to Slick Rick. This one is going to seem shallow, but it is for a reason. John Calipari emulates Rick Pitino. In 1996, Rick Pitino got John Calipari’s National Championship. In Boston in 1998, Rick Pitino got John Calipari’s deal when he joined the Celtics. Now I don’t mean literally that he took them away, (although the 1996 Championship was arguably Calipari’s had he beaten Pitino twice) and a Calipari led UMass team would have been a heavy favorite against either Syracuse or Miss. State. But John Calipari dresses like Rick Pitino, he talks a lot like Rick Pitino when he discusses his players, his teams, and his approach, and he gets results a lot like Rick Pitino (minus Rick’s latest episodes) on the court. He even took his old job here at Kentucky, after telling himself a long time ago when Pitino was in charge here that this was THE place for him to be. And now it seems he has his number on the court as well.

See, what John Calipari has been able to do is to take the best of everyone he sees and meets and make it his own. The much vaunted DDMO came from someone else, ask Cal and he will tell you. He somehow manages to take things that are slightly tarnished and polish them with a wave of his magic wand. He put the UMass program on the map. Brought Memphis back from the dead. And had he been allowed the time, would have made The New Jersey Nets into a winner as well, assuming they left him alone, but I digress.

The really great part of all of this, is that Calipari does it with such style. He understands his environment better than any other coach I have ever watched. He can control a room as easily as he controls a practice. You want results? Calipari gets them, in spades. He is the master of his world and he doesn’t have to make a scene to make a point. He could teach the Dos Equis guy a thing or two about life, I would imagine.

So this latest Calipari-coup with the Dominican Republic Vs. The Cats is just simply another notch in his belt. I cant wait to see what he manages to pull off if the NBA goes on strike.

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