Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Could We See A Calipari-Pitino Recruiting Battle Next Year?



Nope, not the elder Pitino, y’all- that one, the one in the picture above, the former Florida International coach who recently took over Tubby Smith’s old post at Minnesota. His name is Richard Pitino and, if the past couple of weeks have been any indication, we may soon find ourselves fighting against him in a battle for the soul and signed NLI of point guard Tyus Jones (I use “we” metaphorically; really, this is Coach Cal’s battle to fight, and win. Just to clarify).


Jones has been on Coach Calipari’s radar for awhile now- Cal has already offered the class of 2014 point guard- but many of you all probably read about him for the first time this past weekend while coaches and journalists flocked to the Boo Williams AAU event. Jones, playing for the Howard Pulley Panthers, scored 50 points with ten assists in two games on Sunday (including 21-22 in free throws). Consistently ranked in the top five players in his class, Jones lists all the typical elite schools among his final choices: UK, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Baylor, Ohio State… and Minnesota.


“Pshaw!” you might say, doing a spit take over your morning coffee (or tea, I suppose). “Jones is a point guard, and Calipari gets whatever point guard he wants!” Well, typically, you are correct, sir or madam. However, we’re a paranoid bunch, us BBNers, and to that end, I see no harm in engaging in a little speculation about what advantages Richie P might have over Calipari when it comes to wooing Tyus Jones.


Pitino has more going for him than you may think. Jones is from the quaintly named Apple Valley, Minnesota, and the hometown draw can never be underestimated. Also, with Pitino being a new coach, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the Gophers right now- something that Pitino worked to his advantage by calling Jones almost immediately after he was hired to convince the point guard to keep Minnesota in consideration. Interestingly, Minnesota has a bevy of top recruits this year, including shooting guard Rasahd Vaughan (#6 on Rivals) and small forward Reid Travis (#41)- both of whom have also received offers from Minnesota and who have spoken to Richard since his hiring. Regardless of whether the players could influence each other to stay close to home and play together in college, it’s worth noting that Minnesota and Pitino 2.0 aren’t afraid to recruit on the same level as schools that are traditionally on a higher level. The Gophers have come to play.


Jones has remained open-minded to Minnesota despite the coaching change, telling CBS Minnesota that the Gophers were “still on my list” and that he might even delay his decision so that he can get to know Pitino and his coaching style better. And speaking of style- we heard this weekend that Emmanuel Mudiay (the other top point guard of the 2014 class who also holds an offer from Kentucky) said he didn’t want to play with Jones in college because they’d have to compete for the point guard position. At Minnesota, Jones would have an immediate impact and would be able to shine without worrying about another point guard nipping at his heels for playing time.


So now that I’ve gotten you nice and worried, ready for some reassurance? Well, Jones has been insistent that he and center Jahlil Okafor will play together in college- and Okafor doesn’t seem to be considering Minnesota. Also, Pitino is stuck playing recruitment catchup, which doesn’t bode well when courting a player cites coaching style and philosophy as one of the most important factors in his college decision. And finally? It’s Calipari, guys. When the guy who produced Derrick Rose, John Wall, Brandon Knight, and (next year) Andrew Harrison comes calling, you answer the phone. Oh, and speaking as a Midwesterner, the weather up here sucks during basketball season. Much better to play in Kentucky and travel to other SEC schools.


Regardless, the recruitment of Tyus Jones is shaping up to be a good one- and with any luck, Calipari will get the guy over the younger Pitino.



Article written by Kristen Geil

27 Comments for Could We See A Calipari-Pitino Recruiting Battle Next Year?

  1. Musehobo
    9:09 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    15 Seconds Jr. doesn’t stand a chance.

  2. Kristen Geil's Abs
    9:15 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    That’s a self-made man right there.

  3. Bobbum man
    9:15 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Mudiay is better

  4. Matt
    9:28 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    3. I agree. Would much rather have Mudiay.

  5. Rei
    9:28 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    No. You need clout and he has none.

  6. Jen
    9:28 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I hope we get Mudiay.

  7. Michael F. Jox
    9:29 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    That was a lot of writing over nothing. That kid’s going to Duke and we’re getting Mudiay…Who fits the dribble-drive perfectly with his length and athleticism.

  8. Will
    9:30 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    NOT A CHANCE he goes to Minny. I don’t want him at UK. Mudiay is the guy.

  9. Pikeville25
    9:30 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    No we won’t get him, we want Mudiay. All signs point to duke or msu.

  10. Musehobo
    9:30 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Mudiay may be better. But if Jones and Okafor are a package, I think that’s a no-brainer.

  11. Eric Bledsoe
    9:32 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    If he goes anywhere other than Minn. I hope his grades are in order. Richard is a low down dirty snitch.

  12. Musehobo
    9:40 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Bastard kinda resembles Nic Cage.

  13. blueblue
    9:46 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t wait to see a Pitino vs Pitino recruiting battle. You know it will happen. Wonder if Richard will be honest with recruits and tell them “Don’t play for my dad. He bangs sluts!!”

  14. Rae
    9:46 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    10. We shouldn’t settle on a PG just to get a package deal. Mudiay is Cal’s guy. Jones/Okafor are Dukies. We have Karl Towns at center already, and there’s no guarantee both WCS and Johnson leave. We have other options because we are Kentucky. I think it would be hilarious for the national media to be slurping up the Jones/Okafor package only for Cal to go out and put together something that might be a tad worse on paper but works better for him.

    Jones isn’t bad by any means, but the most crucial part of any Cal team is the right PG. In this case, that’s Mudiay.

  15. Da Troof
    9:47 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Actually it sounds a lot like our football push, except our new coach has one hell of a reputation to base it on, but still. A big conference program, always average at best, just fired a really nice guy as a coach that everyone loved, previous coach wasn’t even trying to recruit much high level talent, previous coach wasn’t winning enough to keep the fan base happy…

  16. hellcat
    9:48 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    It’s Pitino 2.15 not 2.0!

  17. Rae
    9:48 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    This will come down to Pitino vs. Coach K. Maybe Izzo.

  18. Matt P
    9:53 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I hope we don’t get Jones or Okafor. Okafor a nice player but overweight and overrated. Give me Mudiay and Alexander all day every day over those two. Mudiay, Towns, Johnson, Alexander, Lyles, and someone else.

  19. Scooby
    9:56 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Ok While Tyus is very good, he lacks an explosion to his game and his height sometimes gives him problems. I also have seen no evidence from Okafor that he is the best big in the class. I think Karl Towns is the best big followed by Cliff Alexander. The explosion and athleticism of Mudiay and Alexander dwarf that of Tyus and Okafor. Okafor plays under the rim for his size…and last time I checked, he hasnt broken a backboard because he was dunking with such force….Alexander has


  20. Sam
    10:00 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I like Jones a lot, but have to confess he looks the part of a Duke player.

    I hope he goes to MN and stays close to home. That would be best.

    I’d love to have Jones, but do believe EM is a better fit. Jones’ liability on defense is a bit worrisome, but I do believe his offensive capabilities would compensate for any possible defensive weaknesses.

    I also predict we get Mudiay PLUS Okafor. I know he said the package deal thing is 99%, but since Cal is involved, Cal will be the 1% — he’ll be that “one” exception Okafor will make.

  21. Please
    10:12 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    No battle, we want Mudiay!! Post more about him. Jones is too small, reminds me of that Ga State player, anyone remember his name??. I think Jones/Okafor are Mich State bound. Both Appling and Payne graduate next year opening up space…. Duke will have a senior pg and a junior Plumlee… UK only option at PG 2014 is Emmanuel Mudiay.

  22. Possible?
    10:23 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    If Jabari Parker does stick around as he’s referenced, he’s really good friends with Okafor and Jones has Duke high on his list too. Seems like a high probability, although it’s hard to bet against Cal. Either way things will work out just fine.

  23. Bryan in Houston
    10:27 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Totally off subject…

    The day that coaches wear something other than Rolex will be a monumental day. Show some watch knowledge and wear something else. Rolex is overpriced and nothing special. This includes Cal too.

  24. dave
    11:08 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    yeah… we’re not “a paranoid bunch” who really needs to go over & talk about this. it’s you’re a blogger who needs something/anything to write about

  25. John Wall and Eric Bledsoe
    11:20 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Why can’t Cal have two PG’s on the floor at once?

  26. jaxcats8503
    11:25 am April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Any 9:00am post is better than Corey Nichols! Thank you, Kristen.

  27. dude
    12:43 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s cut the crap here and just start referring to him as Dick Pitino…..or little Dick Pitino.