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Cal Has Words for Coaches Opposed to Recruiting One-and-Done Players


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.

Article written by Corey Nichols

33 Comments for Cal Has Words for Coaches Opposed to Recruiting One-and-Done Players

  1. Gavin S.
    9:04 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Cal say “boom goes the dynamite

  2. rjustice
    9:05 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    So, from what these coaches are saying, if Andrew Wiggins calls them up to want to play at their school, they are going to say no? Yeah… Thats it.

  3. Man Hands
    9:06 am March 27, 2013 Permalink


  4. Eric K
    9:12 am March 27, 2013 Permalink


  5. Daryl Dixon
    9:12 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    you can sure tell out of those coaches who can actually get one-and-dones as well as coach them.

  6. donnadoright
    9:12 am March 27, 2013 Permalink


  7. Katie B.
    9:15 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Bill Self’s response is worth a read. It’s actually really good.

  8. bosshogg24
    9:18 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Did you see Pitino or Tom (The Kisser) Crean in the livingrooms of the Harrison Twins, Julius Randle or
    Wiggins NO NO NO because they can’t get that type player that’s why they say, they don’t want to coach them!

  9. truecat
    9:24 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    In the 2013 class, Coach Cal offered 14 players in the top 50. Pitino offered 12. That doesn’t show that Pitino doesn’t want them, that shows me he can’t get them.

  10. barn
    9:25 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    hats off to tubby for giving an honest answer. just sour grapes from massimino and other coaches who make the same claim. i can’t imagine any coach who wouldn’t want the very best players on his team. coach cal is making a lot of coaches look silly, with comments like massimino’s. haha

  11. the anti-cat
    9:26 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Cal being, well cal…

  12. rick
    9:27 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    #2 , Thats exactly right.

  13. JPL
    9:27 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    It’s hard to include Rollie Massimino in this article. He’s so far removed from his championship and the recruiting of his time. The term “one and done” wasn’t even coined for 30 years after his championship.

  14. ThankfulCat
    9:34 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    To say a kid is 100% going to be a one and done is idiotic. No one can predict. Goodwin? Poythress? Why would you not do what Cal is doing and recruit the best players and coach them up and THEN advise them about staying or going?

    Looks to me like Cal is not afraid of work and the other coaches are

  15. Tim
    9:37 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Poor Rollie, he had one Championship in nineteen years. I know that is better than UL the last 26 years, but they want to get to know them for four years and then the next four years and the next four years and the next four years———- and then have Pitino say it is alright and they drink the red cool aid and go to sleep.

  16. RealCatsFan
    9:40 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Pitino is obviously obsessed with taking shots at Calipari at any opportunity. He did it again with his comments in this article. IMO, it makes him look like he offers his kids little if any support on making a decision about their futures. Yes, he is an excellent developer of talent, but those comments make it sound like if you are a player who is trying to decide if the NBA is right for you, you will get little support or advice from Rick.

  17. RealCatsFan
    9:46 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    I really like and respect Izzo as a coach, but his response rambles around so much that it is hard to follow.

  18. Brink
    9:50 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    16. Did you seriously just say that pitino is an excellent deeloper of talent?? When did that happen? He may have been that over a decade ago, but what has he done since he’s been at UL to support that statement?

  19. RealCatsFan
    9:53 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    16 – you have a point. I guess you could argue that Dieng has made some strides, but Blackshear, Behanan are two that seem to have regressed a bit. I will say that Pitino is pretty much a master of the full court press. That’s all I am going to say good about him for the rest of the day. Promise. 🙂

  20. Eric K
    9:59 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Mr.15 seconds is nothing but a shell of the 96 Pitino….. the guy has turned into a damn joke! Who cares what he says? He has been washed up since he took the loserville job…… JOKE! IN CAL WE TRUST!! GO CATS!!

  21. Buffalo BIg Blue Fan
    10:07 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Off Topic-Just when I thought March ’13 couldnt get any worse-(UK doesnt make tournament, I am going to the Final 4 this year and the final could potentially be Louisville vs Indiana) Now University of Buffalo hires “Rat Boy” Bobby Hurley as their Head Coach! I live less than 2 miles from the UB campus and think I am going to be sick! I bet he will bring Christian Laettner, who is from the Buffalo area, in as some kind of Assistant or Advisor-Uggh!!!!! It is shaping up to be Duke Lite here in Western NY. How many days until Midnight Madness????

  22. RahRah
    10:09 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Good post, Corey. Interesting stuff and I would have missed it. Gotta love Coach Cal. Guy is teaching even the best coaches about the game. Notice that Coach K says it’s great as long as you have a mix of experience in there. Haha, like we didn’t all learn that lesson this season.
    CATS 2014!

    10:38 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky’s Shame

    UK Breaks A Record!
    UK went down in history this year as the most over ranked preseason team ever in the history of the NCAA
    Ranked 3rd to start the season and ended the season as a first round loser in the NIT
    That is a New Record! Congrats UK
    Kentucky’s Shame

  24. Mack
    11:13 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Didn’t Massimino return to Rupp this year for the first time since his NC, invited by Coach Calipari? Speaking of being grateful, is the guy a jerk or just too old to understand.

  25. KG
    11:22 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    For the most part all the successful “big time” coaches said what most of us, who defend Cal on a daily basis, exactly what we say. If they claim to prefer four year players instead of the super star OADs then they are lying their asses off.
    Yes it is nice to have a few veterans in the mix when possible but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I just hope Cal keeps on doing what he does best-make UK the envy of every jealous coach or fan in college basketball.

  26. theSkinny81
    11:23 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    23 – Whats the record for longest period between National Championships? Is it 27 years?

  27. Dave
    11:38 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Why does cal have to ramble about this past groups failures before really answering the question? Also it is hilarious to me that Rollie M is even included in this bunch. They definitely could have used a coach from the modern era or at least used several from his era. He was a great coach, don’t knock him cause of this dumb writer!

  28. dz4uk
    11:52 am March 27, 2013 Permalink

    I hope history doesn’t look at the 2011-12 team as just one and done players. I personally feel the Championship game was won by a combo of Doron Lamb’s 22 point performance and Jones/Miller’s boards and defense. Yes we had the number 1 and 2 draft picks, but they were paired with players who had developed a little more than one and done.

  29. Ice Cream Man
    1:28 pm March 27, 2013 Permalink

    #9 truecat, where did you get UL scholarship count from; I’d love to end some dirty bird sanctimony, if you can point me to the source…

  30. nky101
    4:56 pm March 27, 2013 Permalink

    To Kentucky’s shame…..You are a real broken record yourself…On here and on Facebook, you make a real ass of yourself. Most of KY fans and the whole state for that matte is pulling for Louisville. Speaking of records, you were so blatantly stupid putting down Rupp Arena, but the record is, For the first time EVER, Luavul won two straight there I am sure you don’t want to start comparing records, do you???

  31. Jerk
    6:07 pm March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Hey there #23 or reality. Guess you as a loserville or hoosiermomma fan, you be gettin a big dose of reality next season when they kick you a$$ all over the court. So suck on that!

  32. thom adams
    8:09 pm March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Rollie hasn’t changed much. After the miracle championship in ’85 he decided he knew more than everybody and wasn’t afraid to let them know about it. He never got a sniff of a one-and-done type player is why he wouldn’t have them… everybody knows.

  33. Dan warner
    11:57 pm March 27, 2013 Permalink

    Cal’s freakshow has driven me from loving Wildcat basketball I am a lifetime (71) fan. I want to root for and follow the careers of players. I dont follow NBA at all.
    If I had my way I would domp cal and his one year wonders.