John Calipari and Rick Pitino continue to spar on the “one and done” issue

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Mar 31, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari (right) greets Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino before the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA men

It must have been a slow news day in the offices of USA Today as they once again go and dig up the “one and done” debate. The timing seems odd and out-of-place the first day of major conference tournaments yet USA Today went there. And to make sure the story was juicy, they went to Rick Pitino and John Calipari for quotes. It’s a tired story at this point, but anytime you talk to Calipari and Pitino about anything, sparks are going to fly.

"Louisville coach Rick Pitino says he values relationships with his players, so he harbors concerns about the ability to forge deep relationships with freshmen who jump to the NBA after just one season. And Kentucky’s John Calipari says such sentiments usually are expressed by coaches who can’t land elite-level prospects."

Not to be an ultimate homer, I have to say that John Calipari has kept the most consistent stance on the one and done debate.  I remember Rick Pitino telling Trey Lyles that he could be a “one and done” at Louisville and Pitino actively recruits players that he know would be in Louisville for just one year, so that gives credence to John Calipari’s comments.  Here is Calipari’s closing comments on the situation:

"When told of Pitino’s comments regarding one-and-done players, Calipari told USA TODAY Sports: “That’s not true (that you can’t have relationships). Obviously the relationships I have with my guys, you need to go talk to them. Why? I have been loyal to them. I have loved them when they were here and loved them when they left. It’s not about me, it’s about them. I don’t go in and talk about one-and-done. It never comes up in meetings. I don’t have to. It’s the white elephant in the room … If you can’t get those kids, that’s the kind of comment you make. That’s what you say.” Neither coach mentioned the other by name."

Mar 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts during the game against the Florida Gators in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Florida 61-57. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

IF you are the type of person that like to work on brain teasers with your morning coffee, we have a treat for you.  Over at Coach, John Calipari has released another cryptic statement that is sure to be dissected and tore apart by every national media writer and member of the BBN.  John Calipari wants to clarify that Kentucky is a “players program”, not a “player program”.

"We’ve had success in the past in conference tournament play and NCAA Tournament play. We’ve had teams advance and win championships and had a ball doing it. Every player benefited by the success of the team. That’s what “players first” is about. It isn’t “player first.”  People don’t understand it’s plural. My job is to love them. Their job is to love each other. During the season it is about the team. When the season ends, it’s about each individual player. What do I mean by that? During the season, we become one of the most efficient teams in the country every year. That means players are sacrificing and giving up some of themselves for the team. You don’t have 30-point scorers on my team. You have guys that score 30 in a game, but they don’t try to do it every game because they are playing for their team. A great example is last year with Anthony Davis. He took the fourth-most shots and became the No. 1 pick. His stock rose as our stock rose."

Basically I think it’s another Caliapri motivational ploy telling his players to not worry about the NBA and that team success will lead to individual NBA success in the draft.  NBA scouts like winners and its time for these Wildcats to step it up in the second season.

Jan 15, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

How about a little bit of recruiting speculation? Dave Telep takes a look at the 2014 class and what effect Trey Lyles to Kentucky could have. Keep in mind, this is an ESPN insider article:

"Think about this one for a second and the potential trickle-down effect. Let’s say UK gets both Lyles and Towns. With those two on board, the prospects of adding No. 1 junior Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) get slim in a hurry; just too many pieces in that frontcourt. That would also mean, if you believe the package deal talk, that Kentucky would then not get No. 2 junior Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley), the top-ranked point guard in the 2014 class. Finishing off this theory puts point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (Arlington, Texas/Prime Prep), the nation’s No. 3 junior, square in UK’s sights. Not only would a pledge from Lyles firm up the Wildcats’ frontcourt, you can then assume it would alter the landscape of their guard choices in the junior class. This one will be interesting to follow."