Tom Talks

Calipari shows how to recruit, draw unselfish play

He shows how to get high school celebs to play unselfishly.

April 5, 2012 

SPORTS BKC-FINAL 28 MCT

Head coach John Calipari of Kentucky signals plays in the first half of the NCAA Tournament finals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

HARRY E. WALKER — MCT

If I were an athletics director, and I wanted to win, and I could hire any basketball coach in the country, I’d hire John Calipari.

He is a master recruiter who exploits a system he didn’t create. He also is a much better coach than detractors want to admit.

An NBA head coach once told me that his mission was to convince his players to believe in his philosophy, and go out and play like it. Calipari’s players do.

He has coaxed his stars, who have been told since middle school how special they are, to play relentlessly and unselfishly. That’s superior coaching.

For two straight years Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has lost his top recruit after they played one season. Should he not have recruited them?

Last week Roy Williams lost sophomores Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall and junior John Henson and he could lose freshman Michael McAdoo. Does this make him a bad coach or does this make them bad guys?

C.J. Leslie might leave N.C. State after two seasons. Is that wrong, too?

The star four-year player becomes increasingly mythical every season. And that’s OK. We all go to college with different aspirations, and the idea is to get out of it what we need. Are tennis players or golfers evil because they turn pro before they reach 19?

Calipari has an interesting, and extremely tainted, past. But nothing he’s done at Kentucky has been outside the rules.

Wildcat Nation loves him.

If he coached your team, you would, too.

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