John Calipari visiting a high school basketball program is certainly not a rare occurrence, however he’s usually there because of a player he’s recruiting. However, when Calipari spoke at the St. Joseph Cadets’ end of the year banquet on Wednesday, it wasn’t through ties with a current recruit. Instead, it was his recruitment of a player almost 25 years ago that served as the catalyst to his return to Stratford, Connecticut this week. Ever since Calipari missed out on St. Joseph’s product, Chris Watts, in the late eighties while he was at UMass, he’s remained in touch with Cadets head coach, Vito Montelli. After Montelli’s team won their second straight Connecticut state championship this season, he called Cal and asked him if he’d be available to speak at the banquet. In typical Cal fashion, he said that he hopes some of the Cadets’ back-to-back championship magic might rub off on the Wildcats next season.
John Calipari wasn’t the only big name in attendance either. Seth Davis served as the master of ceremonies. He’s a friend of Montelli’s from his time covering boy’s basketball for the New Haven Register in the early 1990’s. Calipari took some time to talk with the media and couldn’t resist getting a jab in regarding the way his team has been dissected during his tenure at UK, “All this stuff bitter old men say that they don’t go to class, it’s not true,” Calipari said. “The hard thing for me is I have to start all over each year.”
The New Haven Register has a video of Cal’s comments that you can check out below and the full story can be found here.