In John Calipari’s amazing recruiting prowess, it’s easy to forget that he’s also a very talented coach. He’s reminding us of that, though, as he leads the Dominican Republic to their first ever first place finish in an Olympic qualifying group. After his DR squad upset a heavily favored Brazilian team, they secured the top spot in their group for the next round of play featuring match ups with the four teams from another qualifying group, including a meeting with top ranked Argentina on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.
From this pool, the top four point getters will advance to the semifinals. The Dominican Republic holds a significant advantage in this regard because points from the previous pool carry over. If the DR team continues to play well and advances to the semifinals, Coach Cal will have the opportunity to lead them to their first ever Olympics. The top two teams in the semifinals automatically receive a bid to the 2012 London Olympics and the third, fourth and fifth place teams receive invites to a last-chance qualifying tournament held before the games begin.
If Coach Cal can pull this off, he’ll become a hero in the Dominican Republic and possibly expand the Big Blue Nation into Santo Domingo. Here’s a video from CoachCal.com in which he thanks you for your support. Ignore the fact that it looks like it was shot as a Cloverfield DVD bonus feature: