It’s great to see the all the hard work that the players put into this season turn into a national championship, but this title was for John Calipari. Coach Cal has worked hard for twenty years as a college basketball head coach, and despite all of his accomplishments the one thing that defines his position, a national title, has eluded him. He put it all together on Monday night and became the fifth coach in Kentucky Basketball history to win a national title. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish does a good job characterizing how Cal can now stop focusing on removing the stigma of not being able to win the big game and can now completely focus on molding better basketball players. Here are some excerpts from the article:
John Calipari finally has his national championship.
“Now I can get about my business of coaching basketball and getting these players to be the best that they can be … and also helping them prepare for life after basketball,” Calipari said. “I can get on with that. I don’t have to hear the drama. I can just coach now.”
Doron Lamb scored 22 points and Anthony Davis added 16 rebounds and six blocks to lead Kentucky to a 67-59 victory against Kansas here at the Superdome late Monday that allowed the Wildcats to win their eighth national championship. That’s one story. But the main story is that John Vincent Calipari from Moon Township, Pa., won his first national championship and proved once and for all that you can achieve greatness in this sport while flipping a middle finger to conventional wisdom and an organization that placed both of his previous schools (UMass and Memphis) on probation.
“Lotta angry people right now,” Calipari said. “They tried to put the black hat on me.”
With the win last night Calipari effectively dismissed the notion that you can’t win with “one and done” players. He proved that his style works and that he the criticisms he faced before were unwarranted:
So Calipari’s critics can never again yell about how he “can’t win the big game” with “a bunch of one-and-dones” because he just won the big game with a bunch of one-and-dones, and he did it in a tournament in which UK cruised through six NCAA tournament contests by an average of 12 points. Indiana, Louisville and Kansas did at different times push these Wildcats in the Sweet 16, Final Four and national title game, but there was never a moment when it felt like Kentucky would actually lose.
So, yes, everything mentioned in the first paragraph of this column is real and very much a part of Calipari’s 20 seasons as a college basketball coach, and the truth is that it’ll always be there — and he’ll forever “have to hear the drama” — regardless of what he thinks. But this national title, how it was achieved and who achieved it is part of the story, too. And that’s terrible news for every other coach and program in this sport.
Coach One-and-Done is also Coach Won-and-Done.
He’s got a black hat and a title ring.
Good luck stopping him now.
So somebody help Cal get the monkey off his back.
He’s a national champion.