Posts Tagged “Wildcats”

How good a coach is Calipari?

Jeff Morgan: Calipari is kind of like the Phil Jackson of NCAA basketball. He always seems to have all-star filled rosters, and success seems a foregone conclusion. However, people forget his success at UMass was largely with unknown players, and not until he got to Memphis did he start getting some of the top recruits in the country. So, is he the best coach in the NCAA…far from it, but the man does get the maximum effort out of his ridiculously talented players.

Dave Vinluan: With him claiming his first National Championship, Calipari is as good if not better than any elite level NCAA coach right now. His coaching style allows for his players to mesh well together. What’s so good about Calipari is his ability to have his players believing in his team first philosophy, and it doesn’t hurt that he is the master of one and done recruiting.

Kyle Williams: Great coach and an even better recruiter. There is no doubt Coach Cal is one of the great coaches in college basketball. While many focus on his recent success with top recruits at Memphis and Kentucky, this is the same coach who led UMass to 5 straight tournament bids including an Elite 8 and a Final Four trip. Calipari’s free-flowing, high-paced offense allows his athletes to get out and run and has been dominant at UMass (193-71), Memphis (252-69), and on the highest stage with Kentucky (102-14 and a recent championship). Coach Cal has been able to sell his free-flowing style to the elite high school prospects that are looking to play the way they want to play and win while doing so.

Did Calipari need this win to solidify his legacy?

Jeff Morgan: He keeps pushing this question aside like it doesn’t matter, but he absolutely needed to win a title in order to solidify his legacy. Now that he got the monkey off his back however, he’s going to have to win multiple championships to be considered in the same class of some of the best college coaches in the country. While this win was important, he still has a long way to go to become a legend on the hardwood.

Dave Vinluan: Yes. Calipari has reached the Final Four and National Championship previously with stacked line ups and lost both in heartbreaking fashion. Not to mention he has produced first round talent ranging from Derrick Rose to John Wall. This championship solidifies his status as one of the best ever.

Kyle Williams: Absolutely. While Calipari has made numerous deep tournament runs with every program he’s been with, no one can deny the power of championship. Amongst the swirling controversy over the one-and-done rule, along with Calipari’s recent exploitation of that rule, this year’s title possessed significant clout for Calipari. Not only does it add a championship to his resume, but it also silences the critics who said his teams stacked with freshman stars didn’t have the experience to win it all.

Does the 1 and done rule help or hurt high school prospects?

Jeff Morgan: I suppose 1 year of college basketball can help refine a high school player’s game, but I think the impact is minimal. Kids going into the NBA with 1 year of college under their belt are hardly as polished as a 4-year college player. This rule was put in place to make sure that kids weren’t drafted before they were ready to play in the NBA. In that sense, the 1 and done rule hasn’t really done much to change that perception. Hell, even Anthony Davis, the consensus #1 pick in the draft is a project. There are no guarantees he’ll be an all-star player in the NBA.

Dave Vinluan: I think it hurts high school prospects that have no interest in pursuing a college education. Coming out of high school most of these athletes are convinced they want to make Basketball a career. Playing one year in college and having an injury filled year or just not performing well would hinder the chances of them getting to the NBA greatly.

Kyle Williams: The one-and-done rule hasn’t so much impacted high school prospects as it has the college game as a whole. In terms of high school prospects, the rule has generally been helpful in that we no longer see high school players, who have no business being in the league, entering the draft. When looking at college basketball, the negative impact of the one-and-done rule can be seen. College teams are put in a difficult recruiting situation where they have to decide whether or not to focus on top recruits who may spurn the program after just a single year of play. If there is a side that pushes hardest to increase the rule to more than one year, that push should come from the NCAA.

Can other programs compete with the recruiting style of Calipari?

Jeff Morgan: If this 1 and done recruiting strategy continues to breed success and championships, it’s going to be extremely hard for other schools to compete from a pure talent standpoint. The allure of a full college experience is starting to lose ground in favor of a quick 1-year path to the NBA. You watch, if Calipari starts reeling off championships, all the major college basketball programs will adjust their recruiting efforts to entice players to come play for them instead, even if it’s only for a year.

Dave Vinluan: Not now, with the majority of the Kentucky roster expected to enter the NBA draft, that’s an open invitation to become a starter for the Wildcats. It’s hard to compete with his style because of what he has done for his players. Taking them far in the tournament and producing first round talent.

Kyle Williams: Some programs may try, but Calipari is clearly in the best spot to capitalize on one-and-done recruiting. The things he has going for him: coaching at a top program, coaching a system that top players want to play in, and a recent championship to stand for it. While the UCLA’s and Duke’s of the world have similar programs in terms of tradition and success, they both have coaches that bring strict, structured, defensive-minded systems to the table. The program that has the best chance to compete is UNC, with some of college basketball best tradition, Roy Williams’ high-paced style, and Jordan’s legacy hanging over the Dean Dome.

Does Calipari win it all again next year?

Jeff Morgan: Who knows. How can you even speculate on Kentucky’s chances next year when their starting 5 players are going to be completely different? Even if Calipari gets 6 more McDonalds All-American’s to fill out his roster, he still has to basically start from scratch with a whole new group of players. Calipari has had loaded rosters in the past and failed to win it all. If he can’t get his players to work together for a common goal, they could easily have an early exit in next year’s tourney. So for now, I’ll take the field over Kentucky.

Dave Vinluan: As long as he’s got the pulse on the next Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, then absolutely yes.

Kyle Williams: That’s tough to say, as there are so many moving parts for Calipari next season that are yet to settle. While it seems to be a lock that Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist jump to the league, we will have to see if see if Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague decide to follow them or stick around for another year. Calipari already has 5 star recruits Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress committed as well as 7-foot center Willie Cauley. Undoubtedly the biggest factor will be the decision of unanimous #1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad, who is still deciding between Kentucky, Duke, and UCLA. If Coach Cal lands Muhammad and keeps a player or two from this year’s squad, I like his chances. If not, I see Calipari’s squad as another one of his highly talented young teams that just doesn’t have quite enough to cut down the nets in 2013.

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