Sunday morning, I was sent a link to Merlene Davis’ column about Wednesday’s UK basketball women’s clinic. As you all know from my recap, I was a big fan of the clinic, which I thought gave fans a good behind-the-scenes look at the program at its peak.
Merlene didn’t think so. According to her article, she came to the clinic expecting to learn some plays from Cal’s playbook, but instead, was disappointed when Cal only wanted to talk about recruiting:
Finally, we all gathered again to hear Calipari.
Now, I thought, I will learn basketball rules or strategies or something.
“We were going to do some basketball stuff, but you know what I’m going to do?” he said. “I’m going to take you on a recruiting visit. You want me to take you through a recruiting visit?”
“Yes!” the crowd responded.
“Then we won’t do the rest of it,” he said.
“No!” I thought. “I want to learn about basketball.”
That was not to be.
I think Merlene missed the point. The women attending this clinic weren’t there to learn how to dribble a basketball or the specifics of a pick and pop. The drills Coach Robic, Rock Oliver, and Nancy Lieberman put volunteers through were fun and informative, yes, but they weren’t the reason each attendee shelled out $100. The main draw of the clinic is the access you get to Cal and the players. We were there to get an insider’s look at Kentucky basketball, which yes, means recruiting, especially the day before the Harrison Twins announce their intentions.
I’ve only been to two clinics, but last year’s clinic included a breakdown of the dribble drive offense. Like Merlene quoted, each year, Cal strives to give fans something different. I think the fans in attendance were much more interested in how Cal plans to follow up last season’s National Championship and not the specifics of Cal’s new offense, which will likely be completely different because he has a completely different team.
While it would have been great to watch the current squad practice as we did last year, this year’s clinic demonstrated the obvious shift in Kentucky basketball from current to future. Why did Cal choose to spend his time talking about recruiting? Because it’s on the forefront of all our minds. When he dropped a Harrison Twins reference, most of us in the audience wanted him to get back to the phone to make sure the deal was done. Until Big Blue Madness finally gets here and he can dedicate more time to his current team, Cal’s primary objective is making sure there will be a team when this one leaves for the pros. Recruiting has never been as important as it is now. When you’re constantly reloading your entire roster, and doing it better than anyone in the country, frankly, that’s what I want to hear about.
If Geri Tipton–I mean Merlene Davis–wants to learn about the rules of basketball, she should go get a book from the library. I feel like I speak for the over six hundred women who attended the camp when I say that we’ll take an insider’s look at how Cal’s dominating the sport over that any day of the week.