Eric Prisbell of USA Today recently rang up a few college coaches (you know, just the ones with championships) to see how they thought about “hypothetically” coaching a team with three one-and-done players. I put “hypothetically” in quotes because Cal’s actually won a championship that way, but whatever. And of course, Kentucky’s own was at the top of the list, as the now “go-to” guy for recruiting, and preparing, one-year guys. What did he say when he was asked if he’d coach a team like that again?
“First of all, a lot of guys will say (they are reluctant to coach one-and-done players) because they can’t recruit those types of kids. To justify it, they’ll say, ‘I couldn’t do it. I need kids for four years.’ Those other kids don’t want to come and play for you.”
He wasn’t holding a mic, so he just dropped the phone.
Despite following that up with two “second things,” Cal made his point that he doesn’t specifically recruit one-and-done players, but rather recruits the best players he can. He said things we’ve all heard before: that he doesn’t make outlandish promises, he doesn’t guarantee playing time, and will still make everyone earn their starting spot. Remember, last year MKG had to win his starting spot from Darius Miller. And speaking of Darius, Cal emphasized how much easier having a few veteran players helps any young team.
Cal closed with a mantra we’ve heard many times: get the best guys, let pro decisions sort themselves out after the season.
“It’s not that I don’t want to coach them for four years, why wouldn’t I want to. ‘Well, don’t recruit the best players.’ Are you listening to yourself?”
The whole article is extremely interesting, and it’s funny to see how much championship-caliber coaches are in favor of recruiting, and playing, one-and-done players. My favorite reaction? Tubby Smith.
“Who wouldn’t, man? Heck, yeah. I would love to.”
And the Sour Grapes award goes to Rollie Massimino:
“No. No. I would not. In fact, at Villanova for 19 ½ years, we never had a junior college player. We loved four-year players.“