With Mark Stoops essentially steamrolling the rest of the country on the recruiting trail, it has been shockingly easy to forget that Big Blue Nation is a monarchy, of which John Calipari is King. Thankfully, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf and Eamonn Brennan are here to remind us why it is that Cal sits on the throne.
In their latest Watercooler chat for the Worldwide Leader, the two writers discuss “the current state of the Wildcat program.” And, spoiler alert: the state is good. You can read the whole discussion right here— but to save you some time, I’ve pulled out ten of the most gushing quotes for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy:
–“Kentucky isn’t on top of our Path to the Draft rankings. But my guess is that five years from now the Wildcats will be the top team if we decide to reassess our current rankings.”
–“Calipari has honed his message to young players and their families: If you come play for us, you don’t have to choose between a national title run and an NBA lottery slot. We know how to get you both.”
–“His Kentucky program has become the shortest route between high school and the NBA, an elite one-year graduate program. Just as important, in doing so, he hasn’t treated that desire, or his ability to succeed by exploiting it, as any less noble than the classic model.”
–“Calipari represents a new breed of coach who recognizes that the one-and-done generation is vital for success at this level. You can revolt against it. Many have. But Calipari has embraced it.”
–“The better question is what, short of him leaving Kentucky, could change how successful Calipari is at attracting this talent? I’m having a tough time finding an answer.”
–“I think Calipari is also wise to use the model that’s worked at the next level. Young players today begin competing with the best in their age group when they’re in elementary school. They’re on the AAU circuit with the same elite guys for many years. They’re not rivals anymore, they’re friends.”
–“Kentucky is adding not just the consensus top recruiting class in the country this season, but the best ever — better than the Fab Five, according to RecruitingNation’s Dave Telep (and most, if not all, fellow recruiting analysts).”
–” I really think Calipari’s grasp of the times has fueled this rise. Players want to compete for a coach who’s not going to give them a bunch of nonsense. As you mentioned, these are elite kids who want to play with the best and reach the NBA in one or two years.”
–“I think the Miami Heat have affected the mindset of young players in college. You can go to Kentucky to play with six other All-Americans because there’s plenty of room in the NBA everyone. And if we’re all winning, we’re doing the right thing.”
–“Even if UK’s assets this season were its freshmen alone, that team should be considered a national title favorite, if not the pick to win it all.”
That last one is my favorite.