I have a theory that John Calipari only puts up posts on his website on the slowest news days of the year. Fortunately, today is one of them. Cal’s been on vacation, and told the BBN this morning that a few days of quiet reflection on the beach got him thinking about some things. True to form, Cal released his “annual recruiting manifesto” this afternoon. Here are the highlights:
Kentucky’s Core Values
Not to be confused with Charlie Strong’s core values, Cal says the core values UK uses for its team and recruiting are all centered around–you guessed it–players-first:
I talk all the time about our core values, which is all based on players-first. Our offense may change year to year and our defense may change year to year, but the staples of playing harder than the other team, of playing more for your teammates than yourself, of playing to your strengths and being the team that’s having the most fun, that never changes. We want to be a great defensive team that blocks a lot of shots, and we want to be a team that plays really fast and efficiently, but how we do that is what changes from season to season based on the strengths of our personnel.
You can’t copy UK’s recruiting philosophy
Sorry, Tom Crean. You can’t just copy UK’s recruiting philosophy; it changes every year:
If anybody is looking at us and saying, “Here’s their blueprint, this is what they’re doing,” they’re chasing windmills. Truth be told, it’s not an exact science. Every year is different because every team is different, every player is different and our needs from season to season are different.
Package deals don’t always benefit the individual
Cal also took a few shots at the package deals that keep popping up in recruiting these days, most notably in the 2014 class between Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor:
If players want to play together, that’s OK, but it must benefit ALL the players. If not, it’s a huge mistake for one or more of those guys.
Ultimately, what I think a kid should be thinking about is what’s in the best interest of his individual career.
Why should a top recruit pick UK? Because UK gives player the best opportunity to reach their dreams. But, it doesn’t come easy. Cal says that players must put themselves in a position to win a national championship by pushing past their comfort level and making sacrifices for their team. #BrothersKeeper #Surrender
When a student-athlete is making a decision where he wants to play college basketball, he should decide who can prepare him the best and who can put him in the best position to reach his dreams. Those should be the overriding factors. The player has to understand to truly reach his potential, he must: 1.) Be on a team that wins and has a chance to win a national championship, 2.) Work beyond his comfort level, and 3.) Be willing to make sacrifices for his team.
Where you go DOES matter
If you’re a top player, it doesn’t matter where you go, right? You’ll get to the NBA anyways? WRONG, says Cal:
If a program tells you that you’re so good that it doesn’t matter where you go to school, that’s the first school I’m marking off my list. History tells us that it’s just not true. It does matter where you go. I’m not saying that Kentucky is the only place that can make your dreams come true, because this isn’t for everybody, but for anybody to say that it doesn’t matter where you go — without trying to embarrass any players — we know that’s not true.
Hear that, Shabazz?
Ultimately, Cal says that the nation’s top players should go to a school that “can prepare me to reach my dreams and help me grow as a person and as a student.”
Go read it all at CoachCal.com: