John Calipari is Simply Selling the Kentucky Wildcats Program


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Earlier this week, Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari made a statement that rubbed some people the wrong way. Longtime Kentucky Wildcat fans were offended and the national media fed on his statements to show how John Calipari was ruining college basketball. In reality, however, all John Calipari was doing was telling the truth. He simply states that his goal, and the teams goal, at the beginning of the year was to send eight players to the NBA at the end of the season. Unfortunately, they fell one short due to Alex Poythress’ injury, but overall things were accomplished on this front. Check out his full statement below.

"“Last year we started the season with a goal. You may think it was to win a national title or win all the games, [but] it was to get eight players drafted. Well, how can you be about your team if you’re worried about getting players drafted? We kind of work it the other way. What are your dreams? What are you looking for? What are you trying to get out of life? How can we help you with that?“For me, the mission for me is to be a vehicle to help others reach their dreams, to be the stone that creates the ripple in their lives that goes on and on and on. Now in our state, they want my mission to be, ‘win national titles, win national titles.’ My mission is bigger than that.”"

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Again, a lot of people had a problem with what John Calipari said, despite telling the truth. And this is nothing new, as it was the central theme of his Big Blue Madness speech back in 2009. And the head coach has said numerous times that this is a players first program, which means doing what’s best for them. And this is what’s best for them. Of course, there is something else happening in this statement, and that is the undertone of selling his program. This being despite losing out on the national championship. Check out what

Rob Dauster of NBC Sports

had to say about this below.

"This is nothing but a recruiting tactic. Cal’s not stupid. He knows that the biggest reason he’s been to four Final Fours in his six seasons at Kentucky is that he’s turned it into a draft factory. He knows that his ability to convince elite recruits to spend their seven months of basketball purgatory in Lexington is the engine driving his Kentucky program. And he knows that one of the biggest reasons he’s able to continually land players like Karl Towns and DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Skal Labissiere is that he makes it very clear he’s going to shove them off to the NBA as quickly as possible."

Of course! Why did none of us see that this was exactly what he was doing. Had we won the title, I’m sure he would be selling that too. However, after coming up short with the most talented team in decades, what is someone supposed to do to get recruits. If he couldn’t win it this year, then how could he ever win another. That’s going to hurt anyone’s recruiting pitch…except John Calipari. He takes the silver lining of this season, sending seven players to the NBA Draft, and puts a spin on it. Puts it out in the spotlight. Lets it be talked about. Allows recruits to see it on ESPN and hear it on the radio. It’s simply a marketing ploy, him selling his program. It’s what he does better than anyone and what makes the program run. And for that, I am thankful for John Calipari and his statements.