There’s college…and then there’s the NBA

 “I will be coaching at Kentucky next year. Now let’s finish what we started!”

And with one reassuring tweet, John Calipari, a master recruiter and the ultimate salesman, snuffed out a blossoming controversy in Lexington, Kentucky.

And for the record, I believe him.


I believe he is committed to finish the job, poised to finally land his first national championship, and I believe he wants to accomplish that as the Head Coach at the University of Kentucky. 

I believe that John Calipari wants that…


What he wants tomorrow is anyone’s guess, and I am far less convinced that he will actually remain in Lexington long enough to finish the job.

John Calipari can use the social media to nominate Kentucky as “the best job in the country,” but what Coach Cal cannot do–regardless of how many times he pounds away at the “enter” key and launches tweets to the masses following his account–is control speculation. And where there’s speculation, there’s usually fire.

Yes, he’s extremely well paid at roughly $4 million per season. He’s also extremely competitive. It’s a characteristic that fuels great athletes, great musicians, great politicians and yes–great coaches.

I wonder how many times, Cal, while logging on to his Twitter account, has stumbled upon another iconic website? You may have heard of it, rhymes with frugal, but it begins with a “g.”


Type in the name “John Calipari” and pages of accomplishments and data fill your laptop, the highlights, undeniable:

Career record at U Mass: 185-74

Career record at Memphis: 214-107

Career record at Kentucky: 35-3

Career record with the New Jersey Nets: 72-112

Quite literally, he failed. Fired. Kicked back to the college circuit. Not good enough. Next.

Problem is, in the NBA, it’s just not that simple. Get the players, you win. Look at Mike D’Antoni with the Suns. Now compare it with Mike D’Antoni has done with the Knicks.

Enter Lebron James.

Do I believe the two are a “package deal?” No, I don’t, not at all. When it’s money-time, Lebron will lead the way, with every other NBA free agent frozen until he announces his intentions.

However, do not discount the timing in all of this; it’s a perfect storm, and that tidal wave is working with John Calipari, rather than against him.

As much money as John Calipari has, as many games as he’s won at the collegiate level, as many studs he’s led to the top of the NBA 1st Round on Draft Night, John Calipari has a burning hole in his resume:


I imagine on every level, he is driven to eradicate that unsightly winning % next to his name in the NBA Encyclopedia.

With money flowing in New Jersey and his former prodigy running the show in Chicago, in addition to his friendship with the most important free agent in sports history, Lebron, to remain convinced that he’s locked in at Kentucky, is incredibly naive.

He’s gone from an NBA afterthought, to one of the power-brokers this summer.

Despite what his Twitter account says.

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  1. john curcio

     /  05/19/2010

    love the blog

  2. Matt Merli

     /  05/19/2010

    BT, great article( I also listen to you everyday on my truck for work)…now getting to my point, with the money and egos of these college coaches now a days, you cannot trust whatever they say, tweet, or write down. Calipari knows he can win at the collegiate level already, what he also knows is that he was not a successful nba coach. Saying that, if the right deal and Lebron happen to fall on his lap, why wouldn’t he take it and run? If he successfully leads Lebron to championships,his past nba resume would be wiped away immediately, and if he is unsuccesful, he always will have some college caliing with a multimillion dollar deal to fall back on…

  3. He’s the kind of coach that will go to a situation that is good for him. He cares more for a good image then for a team. Nets fans need to remember he past on Kobe Bryant. UMass and Memphis fans need to remember he tarnished their schools basketball because of allegations and Kentucky will soon learn that just because he can bring in recruits it does not mean they can hit free throws

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